NHL Game Night: 3-6-10 Thrashers at Lightning

This just in: Niitty still owns the Thrashers.

ATL-2
TB-6

Antero Niittymaki found Atlanta to be the perfect elixer for his ills, stopping 29 of 31 shots to move to 17-0-0 lifetime against the Thrashers. It's hilarious.

First Period
ATL 3:22, Bergfors 18 (Little, Antropov)
TB 8:47, St. Louis 23 (Stamkos, Downie)
TB 13:06, Stamkos 39 (Foster, St. Louis)(PP)
TB 17:00, Szczechura 3 (Bochenski, Tanguay)

Second Period
ATL 13:37, Armstrong 11 (Artyukhin, Peverley)
TB 16:36, Purcell 4 (PS)

Third Period
TB 4:01, Lecavalier 18 (St. Louis, Purcell)
TB 16:19, Stamkos 40 (Szczechura, Bochenski)

It may have been a costly win with Martin St. Louis getting waffled in a third period scrum. It sure looked like a concussion to me. Hopefully he'll only miss a game or two, but a game or two may be the difference between being a playoff team or a lottery pick.

By the way, huge demerits to Darren Eliot and the Thrashers' broadcasters, who claimed St. Louis' injury was fair retribution for a hit that Steve Downie put on Marty Reasoner. No, Darren, one of Downie's skates was still on the ice. You need to seek counseling for the world class hate-on you have for #9. Give the devil his due, Darren. Downie's got a good chance to be a 20 goal, 50 point, 200 PIM player by season's end. Those don't grow on trees, and if he were to be on the open market tomorrow there would be 29 teams lining up to get his services, including the same Atlanta Thrashers your sanctimonious rear end broadcasts for. Don't believe it? Ask your buddy Don Waddell about that class act Patrice Cormier he picked up in the Kovalchuk trade.

Say what you want about Downie, he's never almost killed a young man whilst cheap shotting him. No, wait, let me guess: Cormier's hit can be rationalized away as fair retaliation too, right? You have no right to lecture people about dirty play when you celebrate talentless clods like Eric Boulton and suck up to a GM who acquires a guy who should be behind bars like Patrice Cormier (And, Waddell still doesn't have a playoff win in the roughly dozen years he's been on the job. Don't you wish you could stink out loud at your job for over a decade and still draw a six-figure salary?). Seriously. The Thrashers organization and an emphasis on acquiring players with character have never been in the same room together, much like Eliot and objectivity and/or humility have never been in the same area code.

Stepping down from my soapbox: I'm liking the Teddy Purcell pickup. If they can get him on the same weight training program as Stamkos and Downie, he could be an awesome pickup. That penalty shot goal was stylish. Speaking of Stamkos, I joked at the start of this week he might have 40 goals by the end of the week. 5 goals later, he sits at 40 goals, which is a plateau only Sid Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have reached so far this season. And yes, as a goal scorer, Stammer is absolutely in that class. I was also asked if I thought Stammer could hit 50. Yes, in all seriousness, I think he can.

Oh look, we have a prospect again! Paul Szczechura had the game winning goal, a helper, and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot. He was also 64% on draws in the 13:20 he played. That may have been his second best game as a pro, bested only by that game last year where he essentially beat the Pittsbugh Penguins by himself. He's 10 games short of graduation on Bolt Prospects, and if he keeps playing like that, he'll get his cap and gown before season's end.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.