Atlanta Thrashers Vyacheslav Kozlov (left) skates around Ottawa Senators Joe Corvo (right) to score the game winning goal in overtime. (CP/Jonathan Hayward)
Slava Kozlov scored his second goal of the game at 1:48 of overtime to lead the Atlanta Thrashers to a 3-2 win over the Senators in a New Year's Day matinee. The Senators were 3-2 overtime winners against the Maple Leafs in Toronto Saturday night.
Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for the Thrashers (24-11-6), who got three assists from former Senator Marian Hossa. The Thrashers also rebounded form a 4-1 loss to the Sabres in Buffalo Saturday night.
"I think it's nice to have a win on the first day of the New Year, especially since we bounced back after the game in Buffalo," said Kozlov. "We played very well against Buffalo but we made a couple of mistakes and it cost us that game. That was a very solid game for us. Kari made some good saves and I thought we deserved to win."
Daniel Alfredsson and Tom Preissing replied for the Senators (21-18-2), who saw a four-game winning streak end.
Ottawa trailed 2-1 in the game until Preissing scored with less than four minutes remaining to force overtime. The defenceman's point shot snuck by Kari Lehtonen for his third goal of the season.
"We had some good chances in the second but we weren't able to tie it up, then we got the big goal by Tommy to pull us even and give us a chance to win," said Senators defenceman Wade Redden.
"We'll take the point obviously, but it's tough to lose."
Redden was pleased with the performance of his team Monday and thinks that the type of game they need to play going forward.
"We're going to have to have that same work ethic. Right now the guys are doing the little things well and because we've got so many guys missing, it makes those things that much more important."
The Senators are without centres Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher who have knee injuries, and Antoine Vermette who hurt his hip Saturday in Toronto.
There was no scoring in the first period although the Senators would have had a goal if not for the work of Thrashers defenceman Shane Hnidy.
Dany Heatley took a shot from along the boards that Lehtonen got a piece of, but still got through and trickled towards the goal-line, where Hnidy knocked the puck away.
Alfredsson opened the scoring in the first minute of the second period while the Senators were on the power play. The Sens captain got a quick shot away off a Heatley pass and beat Lehtonen.
Atlanta tied it just four minutes later when Kovalchuk beat Ray Emery with a hard point shot. That goal ended Emery's home shutout streak at 155 minutes 42 seconds.
The Thrashers then took a 2-1 lead 6½ minutes later when Kozlov scored after Emery gave up a big rebound off a Hossa shot.
The Thrashers thought they had taken a 3-1 lead late in the third period but the goal was waved off as the referee ruled Emery was pushed into the net with the puck by Thrashers centre Jason Krog.
"We watched the replay and you can definitely see that Krog was cross checked and he told that Krog was on top of the goalie. I was not satisfied with the explanation," said Thrashers coach Bob Hartley.
"It was a big win for us, though. It's never easy to come and play in this rink, and especially after that game in Buffalo the other night, I think that we wanted to make sure that we got back on the winning track. It was a hard fought battle. The first period there were a lot of hard body checks."
Alfredsson thought his team caught a break on the disallowed goal.
"The way we battled back is encouraging. Maybe the referee missed a call on their goal but that's the way it goes." Alfredsson said.
"We are playing well and we're working really hard and tonight I think their goalie kept them in the game."
Notes: The Senators called up right-winger Jeff Heerema and centre Serge Payer from the AHL's Binghamton Senators on an emergency basis for the game with Atlanta, although Heerema did not dress . . . The Thrashers called up forward Darren Haydar from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, but he wasn't in the lineup.