NHL: Tampa Bay 4, Atlanta 3

March 30, 2006 at 11:27 PM

TAMPA, Fla., March 30 (UPI) -- Dimitry Afanasenkov scored two goals and Tampa Bay nearly blew a four-goal lead but held on to beat Atlanta, 4-3.

Brad Richards had two assists and Paul Ranger scored his first NHL goal for the Lightning, who have won three of their last four games. Goalie John Grahame stopped 19 shots.

Steve McCarthy, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Bobby Holik each had a goal for Atlanta, which has lost two straight. Kari Lehtonen had 29 saves on 33 shots faced.

Tampa Bay is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race -- tied at 83 points with Montreal and New Jersey, but ahead of both teams by virtue of tie-breakers. The Thrashers held onto ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

Richards extended his point scoring streak to seven straight games and set a franchise record with his 60th assist.

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