Stamkos scores two to run streak to 16 as Lighting rip Thrashers

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Steven Stamkos got high praise from an NHL great.

Stamkos extended his franchise-record points streak to 16 games, and Antero Niittymaki remained perfect against Atlanta, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Thrashers 6-2 on Saturday night.

Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said former teammate and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux used “Wow” after the game to describe the 20-year-old Stamkos.

“He’s a special guy,” Tocchet said about Stamkos. “The guy thrives with ice time.”

Stamkos had two goals — which gave him 40 for the season — and an assist. The center has 15 goals and 14 assists during his streak.

Niittymaki improved to 17-0-0 overall against Atlanta. Martin St. Louis, Paul Szczechura, Teddy Purcell — on a penalty shot — and Vincent Lecavalier also scored for the Lightning, whostopped a five-game losing streak.

“I thought it was a great team effort,” Stamkos said. “It was one of those games where if you lose it, you don’t want to say that’s the season, but it’s pretty devastating to lose to a team like that that’s ahead of you.”

The Lightning would have fallen five points behind Atlanta, which started the day eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a loss Saturday.