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Thrashers struck by Lightning, blow 2-0 lead

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are starting to resemble
the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Atlanta Thrashers are playing like a team that will be
sitting home again at playoff time.

Fredrik Modin scored two goals, including the winner off an
Atlanta player, and the Lightning rallied for a 3-2 victory over
the slumping Thrashers on Saturday night.

John Grahame made 29 saves for Tampa Bay, which has a
season-high three-game winning streak. The Lightning came up with a
gritty performance to win on consecutive nights after falling
behind 2-0 in the second period.

"We had back-to-back games, so we just wanted to chip away,"
said Modin, who has seven goals this season. "You know, chip away
at each chance we get."

Tampa Bay got its chance with Serge Aubin in the penalty box for
boarding.

Modin fired the puck toward the front of the net and got credit
for the goal when it deflected off the leg of defenseman Niclas
Havelid, sliding past goalie Steve Shields with 12:57 remaining.

"There wasn't a guy over there on the far side, so I went over
there to cover and it hit my leg," Havelid said. "It wasn't a
lucky bounce."

Atlanta, which has never made the playoffs, lost for the seventh
time in eight games. The Thrashers have wasted leads in the last
two, losing 7-5 at Pittsburgh on Thursday after jumping ahead 4-0
less than 10 minutes in.

"This is a tough loss because we played so well," coach Bob
Hartley said. "There's only one solution, and that's to keep
working. I think good things will happen, but we have to keep
believing."

Tampa Bay had an insurance goal waved off with just under five
minutes remaining when Ruslan Fedotenko was penalized for
interfering with Shields.

The Thrashers pulled Shields with just over a minute to go, but
Ilya Kovalchuk ruined the extra-man advantage by getting penalized
for interference.

Grahame made a couple of key stops on Kovalchuk, who had a
team-high five shots on goal.

"You just have to stay focused and say you're going to make the
big save," Grahame said. "I knew we'd get some goals and some
power plays."

Atlanta broke a scoreless tie just past the midway point, with
Marc Savard scoring his fifth goal after a nifty bit of passing.
Ronald Petrovicky dumped off the puck to Slava Kozlov, then broke
to the net to create a screen. Kozlov slid a pass to Savard, who
one-timed a shot past Grahame.

Less than two minutes later, Marian Hossa knocked the puck past
a helpless Grahame for a power-play goal. Bobby Holik made it
happen, collecting a rebound right in front of the goalie, then
backhanding a pass to the wide-open Hossa at the side of the net.

But Tampa Bay fought back to tie it before the end of the
period. Modin scored his first goal, taking a pass from Brad
Richards at the top of the circle and blasting a shot past Shields
on the short side.

With just over a minute to go, Richards picked up one of his
own. He redirected Vaclav Prospal's high shot from along the boards
past Shields.

At least the Thrashers played much better than their previous
meeting against Tampa Bay. Nine days earlier, the Lightning scored
four goals in the first period and cruised to a 6-0 win in Atlanta.

Late in that game, Eric Boulton of the Thrashers delivered a
cheap shot to the head of Tampa Bay defenseman Paul Ranger, who
sustained a hairline fracture of the jaw and a concussion. Boulton
received a six-game suspension from the NHL.

Game notes
Thrashers C Patrik Stefan left the game with a strained
oblique muscle and didn't return. ... The Lightning gave up its
first power-play goal on the road this season and just its the
third overall. ... Both teams had new backup goalies. Tampa Bay's
Sean Burke strained his groin during a morning workout, forcing the
Lightning to call up Brian Eklund from the AHL. The Thrashers
activated Mike Dunham, who had missed six games with a groin
injury.