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Thursday, October 20th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (3-2-2) at Atlanta Thrashers (2-4-0), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Thrashers try to halt a three-game slide tonight when they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to Philips Arena.

Since winning two straight games, the Thrashers have fallen to the Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Rangers. They have been outscored by a combined 16-2 margin in the three tilts.

On Saturday, Atlanta dropped a 5-1 contest to the Rangers in New York. Ilya Kovalchuk scored the lone goal for the Thrashers, who were pounded, 9-1, by Toronto the previous night.

Goaltender Adam Berkhoel made his NHL debut for the Thrashers and finished with 24 saves. Netminders Kari Lehtonen and Mike Dunham both remain sidelined with groin injuries. Tonight, rookie Michael Garnett is expected to be in the crease.

Kovalchuk tallied his first goal of the season, as he played his third game since finally inking a new contract with the club. Kovalchuk, who was a restricted free agent, had threatened to play this season in Russia.

The Thrashers will host New Jersey on Saturday.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has lost three of its last four games (1-1-2). On Sunday the defending champions dropped a 3-2 tilt to Washington via shootout. Petr Sykora scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to lift the Capitals.

Vincent Lecavalier and Vaclav Prospal both lit the lamp for the Lightning, who finished 1-for-8 on the power play. Sean Burke made just 12 saves in the setback.

Overall, the Lightning outshot the Capitals by a whopping 40-14 margin.

Tampa Bay is still waiting for 2004 Hart Trophy winner Martin St. Louis to get going. St. Louis has totaled a mere one goal and one assist in the first seven games.

The Bolts will host Ottawa on Friday.

Tampa Bay and Atlanta split six meetings in 2003-04.

10/20 10:32:21 ET


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