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Kari Lehtonen leads Atlanta Thrashers past Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3

NHL.com @NHL

ATLANTA - Kari Lehtonen gave up goals on the first two shots he faced in his first game in seven weeks, but didn't let another puck get past him until late in the Atlanta Thrashers' 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

Lehtonen had been out since Oct. 30 due to a back injury. His return helped lift Atlanta to its fourth win in 16 games. Slava Kozlov, Eric Perrin, Todd White and Joey Crabb scored for the Thrashers, who ended a seven-game losing streak at home.

Martin St. Louis had two power-play goals for Tampa Bay, including a shot with 2:32 left in the third period that cut Atlanta's lead to 4-3. The Lightning fell to 4-15 in one-goal games.

Lehtonen looked rusty as the Lightning took a 2-1 lead with two goals in the first 8:15. Lehtonen recovered to stop 36 shots, including 31 in a row after Tampa Bay's two early goals.

Kozlov's unassisted goal gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead 18 seconds in before Tampa Bay ended an 0-for-27 power-play drought on the first goal by St. Louis.

The Lightning took a 2-1 lead when Jussi Jokinen took the puck behind Atlanta's net and set up Adam Hall's shot past Lehtonen.

Atlanta took some pressure off Lehtonen by closing the first period with two more goals. Perrin's rebound of Boris Valabik's shot tied it 2-2. The Thrashers took a 3-2 lead on White's power-play goal off a pass from Bryan Little with 1:37 left in the period.

Atlanta stretched its lead to 4-2 with the rookie Crabb's second NHL goal about four minutes into the third period.

The Thrashers ended a seven-game losing streak at home, including two defeats in overtime.

Notes: Tampa Bay has lost 17 of 19. ... Thrashers D Martin Schneider returned after missing eight games because of a shoulder injury, but D Garnet Exelby was scratched after learning he has been playing for two weeks with a hairline fracture in his lower right leg. ... Atlanta took its first home win since beating Carolina 3-2 on Nov. 14.

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