For the sixteenth consecutive time, the Thrashers have fallen victim to Antero Niittymaki whose record against Atlanta stands at 16-0-0, and 59-70-28 against the rest of the NHL (21% of his wins are courtesy of Atlanta) – we should definitely be on his Christmas card list.
The Thrashers, who fell 2-1 to the Lightning, now find themselves in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 24-23-8, 56 points.
The much-maligned Todd White scored the lone goal for Atlanta and has now scored two goals and three assists in his last six games, with Mark Popovic and Maxim Afinogenov picking up the assists. Ondrej Pavalec stopped 24 of 26 shots; both shots beating him were good shots at close range. It was the first time in his last four starts holding a team to two goals or less.
Defensively the Thrashers played a respectable game, holding the Lightning to 24 shots, and 3-3 on penalty kills. The Thrashers have now killed off 16 straight penalties.
Offensively the Thrashers spent a large amount of time in the Lightning zone, but had nothing to show for it, especially in the second period where Niitty was peppered constantly but made several highlight reel saves.
The Thrashers need to work on getting shots through, they had 27 shots on goal, but another 22 were blocked by Lightning players.
They were 0-3 on the anemic power play, and managed a paltry 4 shots on goal in 5:33 of power play time – 27 seconds of that were 5-3.
This was a game I felt like you just had to tip you stick to Niitty, as he stole the game for the Lightning. Pavalec gave the Thrashers a chance to tie the game or win it, but the back of the net was sealed off. Niitty probably feels like Superman every time he sees those Thrashers jerseys, and unfortunately for the 16th straight time they forgot to bring the kryptonite.
Three star selections:
1st – ANTERO NIITTYMAKI
2nd – MAXIM AFINOGENOV
3rd – STEVE DOWNIE
Odds and Ends:
- Mark Popovic played in his first game since Dec. 7, due to broken foot.
- Pavel Kubina played in his 800th NHL game tonight.
- The Thrashers next game is Friday night in DC, against the division leading Washington Capitals.
About the Author
Written by Matt Joseph