ATLANTA — Craig Anderson made 42 saves and Nick Foligno scored the clinching goal with just under 9 minutes remaining Thursday night, giving the Ottawa Senators a 3-1 victory over the fading Atlanta Thrashers.
Coming into the night six points out of the final playoff spot in the East, the Thrashers' playoff hopes took a crushing blow with their 11th loss in the last 13 games, this one to the team with the worst record in the conference.
The Thrashers lost again despite outshooting Ottawa 43-27. Anderson turned aside three breakaways and one last shot at the horn, giving the Senators their fourth win in six games.
Colin Greening scored the only goal through the first two periods, and that on a shot that deflected off the skate of Atlanta defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.
Bobby Butler made it 2-0 a minute into the third, before Byfuglien gave the Thrashers hope with his 19th goal. But Foligno clinched it on a deflection of Zack Smith's shot from the point.
The Thrashers kept firing away at Anderson, but the only shot to get past him was Byfuglien's low drive from the point at 6:46 of the third with all kinds of traffic in front of the net.
With the sparse crowd finally showing signs of life, Atlanta kept the pressure on but couldn't come up with the equalizer.
Finally, Foligno's 11th goal finished off any hope of a comeback, the puck skidding past goalie Chris Mason.
Atlanta put 16 shots on goal in the opening period alone, but it was Ottawa getting the only goal off a fluke play. Mason had made the initial save on Brian Lee, and Greening picked off the rebound and fired toward the goal. It appeared to be headed wide, only to catch Byfuglien's blade and ricochet into the net.
Butler's goal was totally legit. He swept in off the left wing and beat Mason with a perfectly placed shot in the top right corner over the glove hand.
NOTES: There were only four penalties called in the game. Two came in a would-be fight between enforcers Francis Lessard of Ottawa and Eric Boulton of Atlanta. They dropped the gloves but wound up skating around each other for several seconds, both cautious about throwing the first punch. Finally, Boulton lunged at Lessard and they tumbled to the ice. The refs didn't even bother calling a fighting penalty, sending them both off for roughing. ... The crowd was announced at 10,461, but there appeared to be no more than 5,000 in Philips Arena.