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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, March 21st (All times eastern)

Atlanta Thrashers (29-37-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (23-33-15), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to end a lengthy home losing streak when they welcome the Atlanta Thrashers for tonight's Southeast Division matchup at St. Pete Times Forum.

Tampa Bay has lost its last five home tests and last tasted victory at the Forum on February 22 against Boston. The Lightning, who have a dreadful 11-15-10 record as the host this year, are 0-1-1 so far on a four-game homestand. The residency is scheduled to end Tuesday against Columbus.

The Thrashers and Lightning are 13th and 14th in the Eastern Conference standings, respectively, and have been all but officially eliminated from the playoff race.

After losing in a shootout to Toronto on Tuesday, the Bolts were handed a 5-2 setback two days later by Washington. Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 50th goal of the season and Mike Green scored twice to lift the Capitals to Thursday's win at the Forum.

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis accounted for the Tampa Bay goals. Mike McKenna allowed five goals on 30 shots for the Lightning, who have lost six of their last eight games overall.

The Thrashers, meanwhile, have lost two in a row since stringing together a franchise-record six-game winning streak.

After getting slammed, 6-2, in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Atlanta was handed Friday's 6-3 setback by visiting Detroit. Johan Franzen registered a goal and two assists as the Red Wings cruised past the Thrashers at Philips Arena.

Marian Hossa, who played for the Thrashers from 2005-2008 before being dealt to the Penguins at last year's NHL trade deadline, returned to Atlanta for the first time and tallied his 36th goal of the season and added a helper.

Slava Kozlov had a goal and an assist, while Bryan Little and Colin Stuart added markers for the Thrashers. Kari Lehtonen yielded six goals on 38 shots in defeat.

Atlanta's leading-scorer and captain Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the lineup after missing the team's last two contests with an upper-body injury and registered an assist.

Tonight marks the first of two straight on the road for Atlanta, which is 15-18-4 as the guest this season. The Thrashers will also visit Montreal on Tuesday.

Tampa and Atlanta have split four meetings so far this season, but the Thrashers have taken eight of the last 10 encounters between the clubs. Atlanta has also posted victories in three of its last four stops at the Forum.

03/21 10:50:14 ET

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