(Tampa, FL) Mike Lundin scored his first NHL goal and Vinnie Lecavalier added three assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 4-3 Saturday night in Tampa.
Lundin, just called up from the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL lit the lamp for the first time in his career early in the second period to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead when he wristed the puck high into the net past Thrasher goalie Ondrej Pavelec. “I’m happy for him”, said Bolts Captain Lecavalier. “He’s a smart player on the ice and he played great for us tonight.”
Atlanta tied the game at 2-2 when Marty Reasoner slid the puck past Lightning goalie Mike Smith at 16:54 for his 3rd goal of the season.
Alex Tanguay put the Bolts up 3-2 when he slammed home a cross ice pass through the crease from Steve Downie for his 5th of the season at 5:04 of the third period.
The Lightning took a 2 goal lead a minute 44 seconds later when Ryan Malone poked home a rebound off a Martin St. Louis’ slapshot.
The Thrashers pulled within one when Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 22nd on a wrist shot from the high slot at 16:50, but the Bolts held on to win behind the outstanding goaltending of Mike Smith who made 31 saves tonight.
The win pulls the Lightning to within 3 points of Atlanta who sit in second place in the Southeast Division.
Next up: Boston Bruins Monday night here in Tampa.
The Lighting recalled defenseman Mike Lundin and goalie Riku Helenius from the team’s minor league affiliate the Norfolk Admirals in the AHL today.
Jeff Halpern was placed on IR by the Lightning due to a lower body injury suffered earlier this week.
Lightning entered tonight’s game 5 points behind 2nd place Thrashers in the Southeast Division.
Bolts goalie Antero Niittymaki (who did not play tonight) came into tonight’s game with a 14-0-0 career record against the Thrashers.
“Frozen Funk” , the Lightning band played tonight at the Forum during the game.
Former NY Islander and Detroit Red Wing executive and current Sarasota resident Jim Devallano were in the press box for tonight’s game.
Tonight’s game was the fifth in nine nights for the Bolts.
Next up for Lightning: Boston Bruins (who will be playing on New Year’s Day in Fenway Park vs. the Philadelphia Flyers) Monday night here in Tampa.