NHL Game Night 10/6: Thrashers at Lightning

Tomorrow's headline should read: "Paper Champions Get Folded Up".

ATL-2
TB-5

Johan Holmqvist barely had to break a sweat stopping 13 of 15 shots he faced for the win.

First Period
Tampa Bay 3:40, Vaclav Prospal 2 (Vincent Lecavalier, Paul Ranger)

Second Period
Atlanta 0:57, Marian Hossa 1 (unassisted)
Tampa Bay 14:38, Vaclav Prospal 3 (power play) (Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba)
Tampa Bay 15:49, Brad Richards 1 (shorthanded) (unassisted)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 5:22, Vincent Lecavalier 3 (unassisted)
Atlanta 8:58, Slava Kozlov 1 (Tobias Enstrom, Todd White)

Vaclav Prospal and Brad Richards led the way with two goals each. Vincent Lecavalier had the other Lightning goal and added an assist. Martin St. Louis and Filip Kuba each had pairs of helpers and Paul Ranger had an individual assist.

The game was a complete and total clinic. The Lightning outshot the Thrashers 34 to 15 and dominated the bird turds in the faceoff circles winning 62% of their draws. They also outhit Atlanta 23 to 14 as well. They dismantled Atlanta, and now are sitting at 2-0 heading into a two game set against the Panthers. The recipe for a great start to the year, even sans Dan Boyle, is definitely being followed to the letter so far.

Mike Lundin was spotless in 10:30 of ice time. Good body positioning and moved the puck quickly and efficiently all night. Mathieu Darche blocked 2 shots and missed the net a couple of times in 11:21. Incidentally, Doug Janik only got 6:09 of ice time spelling Matt Smaby in the lineup.

Some other good things I saw tonight: Jan Hlavac was pretty good with 4 shots on goal and he was active offensively. I like what I've seen from him on the Richards line a lot more than Ouellet so far. Third liners Chris Gratton and Jason Ward were also superb on the forecheck and Nick Tarnasky also had 4 shots on goal as he just little by little gets better and better. I'm loving these lower lines so far. Not because they have ideal speed or skill, mind you, but because they're physical and outwork people. Having them to go with the speed and skill of the Lecavalier and Richards' line is like having the best of the '03-'04 and '95-'96 teams put together.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.