ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Thrashers keep losing games -- and
they're building a pretty long list of enemies, too.
Atlanta has lost four straight games by a combined score of
22-2, but the angriest coach after the game was Tampa Bay's John
"The ... guy should be playing in the ... East Coast Hockey
League, but instead he takes out a ... NHLer," Tortorella said.
"He'll be suspended, but who ... cares? No one wants to see him on
the ice anyway."
Atlanta's Bob Hartley was seen going into Tortorella's office
after the game, but the Tampa Bay coach wouldn't say what they
"None of your business," Tortorella said, before storming away
to the team bus.
The ending was familiar for the Thrashers. They got blown out
again, and are likely to get another player suspended for a play
straight out of the movie "Slap Shot."
With the home fans booing the dismal performance, Boulton
delivered a flagrant elbow to the side of Ranger's head. Boulton
received a game misconduct, and Ranger staggered off the ice. At
the very least, he appeared to suffer a concussion that would keep
him out a week.
"I'm not sure how he is," Tortorella said, shaking his head.
Atlanta's Andy Sutton already is serving a four-game suspension
for his hit on Toronto's Darcy Tucker near the end of a 9-1 loss
last Friday. That game turned especially ugly in the third period,
beginning with Boulton's hit on Eric Lindros with the game already
That sparked a melee that led to the ejection of Boulton and two
Just 23 seconds later, Sutton was ejected after he drove Darcy
Tucker into the boards, leaving the Toronto player with a bloodied
forehead that required several stitches.
Vincent Lecavalier assisted on three Tampa Bay goals before
finishing off the scoring with one of his own. He intercepted a
pass by rookie Braydon Coburn and snapped a shot over Adam
Modin scored twice before the game was 14 minutes old, helping
Tampa Bay build a 4-0 lead in the first period.
Atlanta is struggling without its top two goalies. Kari Lehtonen
and Mike Dunham are both out with groin injuries, forcing the team
to go with a pair of rookies -- Michael Garnett and Berkhoel.
Garnett was yanked after giving up three goals on seven shots in
the first 11:34, two of them on stoppable shots. Berkhoel took over
and turned away 26 of 29 shots, but it didn't matter.
The Thrashers' problems go beyond their last line of defense.
They have been shut out three times in their first seven games. In
their first five losses, they have scored only two goals.
Ilya Kovalchuk, who missed the first three games in a contract
dispute, has managed only one goal since returning to the
Thrashers. He was booed when he let the puck slip under his stick
with Atlanta on the power play.
"We have a great group of players, but this is embarrassing,"
Hartley said. "There's no other way to explain the way we've
played. It's embarrassing."
Martin St. Louis opened the scoring just 1:25 into the game,
somehow slipping a puck past Garnett with a shot along the goal
Garnett gave the Thrashers a lift when he stopped Ruslan
Fedotenko on a penalty shot, but it didn't last long. Modin scored
at 3:37, beating a helpless Garnett on a 2-on-1 after taking a
perfect pass from Lecavalier.
Then, less than a minute later, Garnett failed to stop
Fedotenko's wrist shot from the top of the circle, prompting
Hartley to send in his other rookie goalie.
Hartley refused to blame his young goalies for the latest loss.
"Those two young kids are trying to battle," he said. "Why
would I waste any time on the two kids. We had no goals. Three
shutouts in seven games -- that's absolutely unacceptable."
The Thrashers are the first team since the 1993-94 Detroit
Red Wings to use four goalies in their first six games. ... Vaclav
Prospal scored Tampa Bay's other goal late in the second period.