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Atlanta
Thrashers
35-41-6
Tampa Bay
Lightning
24-40-18

game recap

Lightning 3, Thrashers 2, OT

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Lightning 3, Thrashers 2, OT
Atlanta Thrashers 2, Tampa Bay Lightning 3

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Barry Melrose's first win as Tampa Bay coach was nearly a heartbreaking loss for the Lightning.

Tampa Bay blew a two-goal lead in the third period and needed a power-play tally from Vincent Lecavalier with 3:19 left in overtime to beat the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

"I'd like an easier one," Melrose said. "I'd like a 7-0 or something. But this is probably a really important win for us because of us coming back and winning after giving up a 2-0 lead."

Lecavalier scored from near the low slot off a pass from Martin St. Louis.

"I just tried to shoot it and it went in," Lecavalier said. "I didn't know where it was going."

Melrose's first season with the Lightning started with five losses, including three in overtime or a shootout. It's also his first NHL win since 1995 when he was coaching the Los Angeles Kings.

Mark Recchi and Vinny Prospal also scored for Tampa Bay.

"When you're up 2-0, you don't want to go to overtime," Lecavalier said. "But the guys stayed positive and we kept playing hard. We battled through and got the game."

Colby Armstrong and Todd White each had a goal for Atlanta.

"When you look at it, is the cup half-empty or half-full?" Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "I'm glad we got a point. Very fortunate. Our comeback was excellent. But I guess the reality set in that we really only played one period. We didn't compete the first two."

Armstrong cut the Lightning's advantage to 2-1 when redirected White's shot past goalie Mike Smith at 6:37 of the third.

White then tied it on a deflection with 35.5 seconds to go in regulation.

"Right then you've got to get the guys on the bench going," Melrose said. "You see their heads drop and shoulders drop and the body language was pretty terrible. It was the old here-we-go-again scenario. That's why this win is so important."

Recchi put the Lightning ahead 1-0 from the right circle at 7:18 of the first. It was his second goal this season and the 524th of his career.

Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen kept it close by stopping 17 of 18 shots during the first. Atlanta got just five shots over the stretch.

Tampa Bay went ahead 2-0 when Prospal scored with 6:50 left in the second. Lehtonen stopped the shot initially, but lost sight of the puck after it went over his shoulder and accidentally knocked it over the goal line.

Lightning center Steven Stamkos, taken first overall in this year's amateur draft, is still looking for his first NHL point through six games.

Notes: The Lightning claimed LW Matt Pettinger off re-entry waivers from Vancouver. ... Atlanta LW Ilya Kovalchuk was held off the score sheet. He had eight goals and 12 points against them last season. ... Tampa Bay LW Gary Roberts played in 1,200th NHL game. ... St. Louis picked up his 300th career assist on Prospal's second-period goal.

scoring summary
1st Period
07:18
TBL
Mark Recchi (2) ASST: Radim Vrbata (1), Janne Niskala (2)
1 - 0 TBL
2nd Period
13:10
TBL
Vinny Prospal (2) ASST: Mike Lundin (1), Martin St. Louis (3)
2 - 0 TBL
3rd Period
06:37
ATL
Colby Armstrong (2) ASST: Todd White (5)
2 - 1 TBL
19:24
ATL
Todd White (2) ASST: Mathieu Schneider (2), Ron Hainsey (4)
2 - 2 Tie
OT Period
01:41
TBL
PPG - Vincent Lecavalier (3) ASST: Martin St. Louis (4), Paul Ranger (1)
3 - 2 TBL
penalty summary
1st Period
11:43
ATL
Bryan Little  Interference against  Gary Roberts
13:39
ATL
Colby Armstrong  Hi-sticking against  Vincent Lecavalier
2nd Period
02:07
ATL
Zach Bogosian  Hooking against  Evgeny Artyukhin
02:21
TBL
Paul Ranger  Tripping against  Marty Reasoner
06:23
TBL
Paul Ranger  Holding against  Marty Reasoner
18:30
TBL
Paul Ranger  Interference against  Ilya Kovalchuk
3rd Period
11:40
ATL
Todd White  Hooking against  Adam Hall
OT Period
01:11
ATL
Bryan Little  Tripping against  Martin St. Louis
goalie stats
Kari Lehtonen
SA: 38TOI: 61:11
Saves: 35EV: 27 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 8 - 9
SV%: .921SH: 0 - 0
Mike Smith
SA: 33TOI: 61:31
Saves: 31EV: 25 - 27
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .939SH: 1 - 1