Armstrong's go-ahead goal lifts Thrashers over Lightning

ATLANTA (AP) -- Colby Armstrong scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period and the Atlanta Thrashers added two empty-netters in the final minute of a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

The Lightning, who tied Los Angeles with an NHL-low 71 points, finished in last place to give them the best chance of winning the draft lottery this summer.

Atlanta, another lottery team, wasn't much better this season. The Thrashers, with 76 points, had the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, finished 29th overall. St. Louis, a 3-0 winner Saturday over Columbus, has 77 points with one game remaining.

Bobby Holik's 15th goal gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead with a wrister from the left circle 5:48 into the first.

Mathieu Darche tied it with his seventh goal. Moving into the crease to block goaltender Kari Lehtonen's view on the power play, Darche redirected Filip Kuba's shot from the right circle 3:50 into the second.

Armstrong's 13th goal, coming on a wraparound that beat the glove side of goalie Mike Smith, made it 2-1.

Jim Slater and Bryan Little scored the empty-netters.

Lehtonen stopped 30 of 31 shots to improve to 17-22-5, while Smith dropped to 15-19-0.

Tampa Bay was by far the NHL's worst team on the road, going 11-24-6 with one game remaining. Atlanta ranked 28th in home games, going 19-19-3

This season marked the third time the Lightning had the NHL's worst record, but first since 1998-99.

Game notes
Vincent Lecavalier, picked No. 1 overall after Tampa Bay took last place the year before, didn't travel with the team to Atlanta after suffering a dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum Thursday in Washington. He soon will undergo surgery that will require 12-15 weeks of rehab. ... Each team had just two victories in its previous nine games, but the Thrashers won two of three, both coming against Tampa Bay. ... The Lightning ended the season with four straight losses.