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GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (3-2-2) at Atlanta Thrashers (2-4-0).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EDT.

After opening their road trip with a win, the Tampa Bay Lightning generated numerous chances but had difficulty converting against a veteran goaltender in their next game.

The Lightning will try to capitalize on their opportunities when they face rookie goalie Michael Garnett and the Atlanta Thrashers.

Tampa Bay began its three-game trip with a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. The next day, the Lightning scored a pair of first-period goals before getting shut down by Olaf Kolzig in a 3-2 shutout loss to Washington. Tampa Bay outshot the Capitals 40-14, but was only 1-for-8 on the power play.

"We got some shots on goal, not a lot of quality chances," said Lightning forward Dave Andreychuk, who set up captain Vincent Lecavalier's power-play goal that opened the scoring 9:20 into the game. "It's one of those games where the team hangs in there. Their goaltender gives them a chance to win the game."

Tampa Bay's penalty-killing unit continued its solid play as it kept the Capitals scoreless in three power-play chances. The Lightning have yielded only two power-play goals this season.

"Our power play is as bad as our penalty killing is great," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "And I shudder to think where we'd be now if our penalty killing wasn't what it is right now."

The Thrashers, whose top two goalies - Kari Lehtonen and Mike Dunham - are on injured reserve with groin injuries, have had difficulty stopping anything in their last two games.

Ilya Kovalchuk's first goal of the season at 9:07 of the third period was all the Thrashers could muster in a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday. Adam Berkhoel made his first NHL start and finished with 24 saves as Atlanta lost its third straight game. On Monday, Berkhoel was sent back to the AHL.

"The best thing that is happening to us is that we have a day off," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "We have kind of lost our game."

With Berkhoel in the minors, Garnett should be back in the net for Atlanta. The 22-year-old made 25 saves in Friday's 9-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

STANDINGS: Lightning - 8 points, 1st place (tied), Southeast Division. Thrashers - 4 points, 5th place, 4 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Lecavalier and Vaclav Prospal, 4 goals; four with 4 assists; Prospal, 8 points; Pavel Kubina, 20 PIM. Thrashers - Marc Savard and Peter Bondra, 3 goals; Savard, 6 assists and 9 points; Greg de Vries, 25 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 18): Lightning - Power play: 8.8 percent (4 for 45), 27th in NHL. Penalty killing: 94.8 percent (37 for 39), 2nd in NHL. Thrashers - Power play: 15.6 percent (8 for 51), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 76.9 percent (40 for 52), 26th in NHL.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - John Grahame (2-2-1, 2.25 GAA); Sean Burke (1-0-1, 1.36). Thrashers - Garnett (0-1-0, 5.38).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: 3-3.

LAST MEETING: April 3, 2004; Thrashers, 2-1. At Tampa, Fla., Lehtonen made 29 saves and the Thrashers used a two-goal third period to come away with the victory.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 1-1-1 on the road; Thrashers - 1-2-0 at home.

Associated Press

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