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.
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.
|Marc Savard (5) ASST: Vyacheslav Kozlov (3), Ronald Petrovicky (1)|
1 - 0 ATL
|PPG - Marian Hossa (4) ASST: Bobby Holik (3), Ilya Kovalchuk (5)|
2 - 0 ATL
|Freddy Modin (6) ASST: Brad Richards (10), Ruslan Fedotenko (5)|
2 - 1 ATL
|Brad Richards (3) ASST: Vinny Prospal (8), Martin St. Louis (3)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Freddy Modin (7) ASST: NONE|
3 - 2 TBL
|Ilya Kovalchuk Diving against Freddy Modin|
|Freddy Modin Tripping against Ilya Kovalchuk|
|Jaroslav Modry Hooking against Evgeny Artyukhin|
|Vinny Prospal Too many men/ice - bench|
|Vincent Lecavalier Fighting (maj) against Andy Sutton|
|Andy Sutton Game misconduct against Vincent Lecavalier|
|Andy Sutton Fighting (maj) against Vincent Lecavalier|
|Andy Sutton Elbowing against Vincent Lecavalier|
|Jim Slater Too many men/ice - bench|
|Vinny Prospal Hooking against Peter Bondra|
|Freddy Modin Interference on goalkeeper against Steve Shields|
|Evgeny Artyukhin Slashing against Marian Hossa|
|Serge Aubin Boarding against Rob DiMaio|
|Ruslan Fedotenko Interference on goalkeeper against Steve Shields|
|Ilya Kovalchuk Interference against Pavel Kubina|