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Another rally nets win

Published Sep. 2, 2005

After a series of dramatic comebacks during the past month, the last thing the Lightning wanted was to fall behind early to one of the worst teams in the league.


But drama can be fun.

The Lightning rallied from a two-goal deficit by scoring four in the second period of a 4-2 victory over the Thrashers before an announced 11,673 Wednesday at the Ice Palace.

The Lightning is unbeaten in six games (3-0-3), one shy of the franchise record set in 1996. In 11 games since the Olympic break, Tampa Bay has come from behind to earn points in six of 11 games, four times in the past five.

"We're definitely making the games a lot of fun," said right wing Sheldon Keefe, who started the rally with a goal 2:04 into the second. "It's very interesting. But as fun as it is, we need to work on our starts and play a complete game."

With 13 games left, Tampa Bay has 25 victories, one more than last season. In the Eastern Conference playoff race, it is 10 points behind eighth-place Montreal, which visits the Ice Palace on Friday.

Dave Andreychuk had two goals and an assist to move past Peter Stastny for 26th on the NHL scoring list with 1,241 points.

Pavel Kubina scored a short-handed goal, his second of the season, and Martin Cibak had two assists as Tampa Bay improved to 5-1-1 at home against the Thrashers.

Atlanta, which traded several veterans this week to make room for young talent, fell to 6-23-1-4 on the road this season.

Tampa Bay started sluggishly, allowing seven 3-on-2 breaks during the first period.

Jeff Cowan and Lubos Bartecko scored for Atlanta, which showed its speed and finesse on several passing plays in the Lightning zone.

The prettiest was a break for Tampa Bay as wide-open J.P. Vigier blasted a shot from the slot that beat goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin but hit the post.

"We were very lucky," coach John Tortorella said. "If they score that third goal, I think we're dead in the water. But we get out of that period just down 2-0."

Not that the locker room was a cheery place.

"He wasn't the happiest guy," Andreychuk said of Tortorella. "But I think we all had to wake up. Not a lot has to be said when you're down 2-0 to Atlanta."

Tampa Bay, which rallied from a three-goal deficit for a 4-4 tie last week at Atlanta, overwhelmed the Thrashers in the second. Keefe scored his fifth of the season, Andreychuk his 16th and 17th and Kubina his ninth in a span of less than 14 minutes.

The four goals marked the Lightning's most productive period this season. Tampa Bay outshot Atlanta 17-5 in the second, 37-21 overall.

Andreychuk, who has nine goals in the past 16 games, got off a backhander while being knocked down in the slot to tie it at 2 at 10:16. He scored the winner at 13:56 without trying.

He stopped at the goal line to shake a defender and fired at Milan Hnilicka from a sharp angle, hoping for a rebound.

"Sometimes," he said, "they go in."

It was Andreychuk's 84th career multigoal game and first this season.

The goal chased Hnilicka, who was shaken up in a first-period collision with Keefe. Frederic Cassivi made his NHL debut. Moments later, he was beaten by Kubina.