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Thrashers-Lightning Preview

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All of the Tampa Bay Lightning's success this season has been at home, and they've had a particularly easy time against the Atlanta Thrashers.

After another three disappointing road games, the Lightning look to continue their success at St. Pete Times Forum and remain unbeaten against the Thrashers this season when the teams meet Saturday night.

Tampa Bay (5-6-1) was swept in a three-game trip early this week, dropping its record to 0-6-0 on the road. The Lightning now play two of their next three at home, where they are 5-0-1 and have outscored opponents 24-12.

Two of those contests were against Atlanta (4-9-0), and Tampa Bay outscored the Thrashers 11-4 en route to wins in both games. The Lightning have gone 4-for-11 with the man advantage against the Thrashers, and have converted 30.8 percent (8-for-26) of their power-play chances overall at home.

Tampa Bay, however, was shut out for the first time this season Thursday night, 4-0 to the New York Islanders. The Lightning scored just two goals on their trip.

"It's not like we're not working hard - it's almost as though we're working too hard," defenseman Shane O'Brien said. "We're squeezing our sticks right now."

Scoring has not been a problem for the Lightning in recent years against the Thrashers. Tampa Bay has scored five goals or more five times in its last eight games against Atlanta, going 6-1-1 in that span.

Lightning winger Vaclav Prospal has 15 goals and 45 points in 38 games against Atlanta.

The defending Southeast Division champion Thrashers have an Eastern Conference-worst eight points. They had won three of four before a 6-4 loss to Ottawa on Thursday night.

It was the sixth game of a seven-game trip for Atlanta, which is 3-2-0 away from Philips Arena since losing its first four. The Thrashers were trailing 5-0 in the third period against the Senators, but Ilya Kovalchuk scored three times and they fought back to within a goal.

"You play for pride," Atlanta general manager and interim coach Don Waddell said.

Kovalchuk has scored two goals in his last three games against the Lightning after being held without one in his previous eight contests against them. He ranks among the NHL's leaders with nine goals.

Eric Perrin, in his first year with Atlanta after two seasons with Tampa Bay, had a goal and an assist against the Senators. The Thrashers signed Perrin as a free agent in the offseason, and he has three goals and seven points in 13 games.

Perrin played his first full season in the NHL with Tampa Bay in 2006-07, recording 13 goals and 36 points. He has been held off the scoresheet in each of his two games against his former team.

Besides Kovalchuk and Perrin, Slava Kozlov is the only other Atlanta player with at least three goals.

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