Stamkos’ Hat Trick Boosts Lightning

Steven Stamkos tallied his second career hat trick and first career four point game, to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a big win on the road against division rival Atlanta Thrashers, 5-2. Stamkos received help from Vincent Lecavalier who had a goal and assist and Martin St Louis who tallied two assists in the game.

The Lightning came out tonight with a lot of energy right from the start of the game, Tampa was aided by four power plays, which propelled them to a quick 3-0 lead. Head Coach Guy Boucher has to be more satisfied with the start of the game as he was openly frustrated last night at his press conference after the tough overtime loss to the New York Islanders at the St Pete Times Forum last night.

The Bolts’ quick start led to an early two-man advantage after penalties from Ben Eager and Jim Slater. Brett Clark was able to use a nice screen by Ryan Malone to get his shot from the point passed Thrasher goalie Chris Mason. Stamkos and St. Louis assisted on Clark’s power play goal at 3:10.

Sean Bergenheim was moved up to the second line with Lecavalier tonight in the absence of Simon Gagne, who missed the game with an upper body injury. Bergenheim made that move well deserved as he stole the puck in the Atlanta defensive zone and passed the puck to Lecavalier who was scored off the skate of Thrasher defensiveman Freddy Meyer for his second goal of the season at 16:04.

The power plays continued to come for the Bolts, and Stamkos scored his sixth goal of the year on another power play from St. Louis and Lecavalier at 17:50. The hot start chased goaltender Mason at the end of the first period, who was replaced by backup Peter Mannino

Atlanta opened the second period on the power play which allowed them to take the play to Lightning early on, which lead to a goal from Jim Slater.  Slater was able to score on a rebound of a shot from Andrew Ladd, the play was also assisted by Dustin Byfuglien at 8:07, which cut the Lightning lead to 3-1.

Stamkos would respond later in the period with his second goal of the game and seventh of the season at 17:22. Teddy Purcell started the play by carrying the puck around the net where a bouncing puck found Stamkos’ stick, who buried the puck past Mannino to give the Bolts a three-goal lead heading into the third period.

Byfuglien scored his second goal on the power play to bring the Thrashers back to 4-2 at 13:36.  Stamkos finished off the hat trick with an empty net goal to seal the victory.

The Bolts continued to dominate their division rivals as they have now won seven straight against the Thrashers. They return to action on Sunday when they host the Nashville Predators.

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