The Tampa Bay Lightning used a second-period outburst to punish Atlanta in a 7-1 victory on Sunday, continuing their supremacy over the Thrashers.
Tampa Bay blitzed Atlanta with five unanswered goals in the second en route to a sixth straight victory over the Thrashers this season and 11th straight overall.
“Sometimes that’s the way it is,” Simon Gagne told reporters about Tampa Bay’s domination of Atlanta. “For us this year, we’ve had their number. These are not easy games to win, but tonight I think we took advantage of their schedule.”
Steven Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 38th goal of the season and took over sole possession of the league scoring lead, while Nate Thompson, Dana Tyrell, Martin St Louis and Gagne also added goals for Tampa Bay in the second period.
Gagne tacked on his second goal of the game in the third period where Pavel Kubina also scored for the Lightning (30-15-5), who have won four straight and lead the Southeast Division by three points over the Washington Capitals.
Lightning Goaltender Dwayne Roloson made 21 saves, but his shutout bid was spoiled when Rich Peverley scored Atlanta’s only goal with about four minutes left in the game.
The Thrashers (23-19-9) have lost seven of their last eight games and have not beaten Tampa Bay since 2009.
Led by All-Star Stamkos, the Lightning continue to roll.
Stamkos has scored seven goals in his past six games, while claiming sole possession of the NHL points lead from Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, who has missed eight consecutive games because of a concussion.
FLYERS 4, BLACKHAWKS 1
In Chicago, the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Chicago Blackhawks in the only regular-season rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup finals combatants.
Jeff Carter had two goals and an assist, rookie Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves, while Nikolay Zherdev and Scott Hartnell also scored for Chicago.
Bobrovsky lost a bid for his first career shutout in the third period when Marian Hossa scored on a penalty shot. Philadelphia improved to a league-leading 69 points and are 9-2-0 in their past 11.
Defending Stanley Cup champions Chicago lost in regulation for the first time since Jan. 5.
PREDATORS 3, OILERS 2, SO
In Edmonton, Canada, Cody Franson scored the lone shootout goal, while Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne turned aside all three Edmonton shooters.
Rinne got a huge break in overtime after losing his stick on a wild scramble on an Edmonton power-play. Shawn Horcoff beat Rinne with a diving backhander, but the puck struck the unattended stick on the goal-line and deflected out. A video review confirmed the puck didn’t fully cross the line.
The Predators have won three straight, all on the road. The Oilers, last in the conference, have dropped five in a row.
Nashville defenseman Alexander Sulzer opened the scoring midway through the first period, which held until Andrew Cogliano tied it early in the third.
Joel Ward gave Nashville a 2-1 lead on a power-play with 5 minutes, 55 seconds left, but Oilers rookie Taylor Hall tied it with 3 minutes, 47 seconds remaining in regulation.
SABRES 5, ISLANDERS 3
In Uniondale, New York, Nathan Gerbe snapped a tie early in the third period with a power-play goal, lifting Buffalo over New York.
With drama and intrigue surrounding the Islanders one day after they claimed veteran goalie Evgeni Nabokov off waivers from Detroit, New York were unable to beat Buffalo for the third time in nine days.