OTTAWA — Bryan Little made the most of the scoring opportunity that opened up in front of him when Ottawa’s Jason Spezza tried to make a blind pass.
Little jumped on Spezza’s no-look pass in Atlanta’s zone and drove down the ice to score his second goal of the game 1:09 into overtime, giving the Thrashers a 4-3 win over the Senators on Monday night.
“I knew the defenseman was coming, and I think he might have had it if it was a little harder of a pass, but it was soft and I had lots of time to get to it,” Little said. “I knew as soon as I tipped it I had a good chance coming up. My eyes lit up, definitely.”
Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and an assist for Atlanta, which recovered from blowing a 3-0 lead. Byfuglien assisted on Little’s goal late in the first period and scored his ninth goal 17:38 into the second to give the Thrashers the big advantage they eventually squandered.
Jim Slater also had a goal, and Chris Thorburn had two assists in the first period. Ondrej Pavelec made 27 saves for Atlanta, which has won 10 of 12.
“Good teams find ways to win, and we’ve been doing that,” said Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian, who held up Spezza to set up the Ottawa center’s tying goal. “Pav’s been really big for us. They could have easily went up there by a goal at the end. He made some pretty big saves, so it was big on Bryan Little to step up in overtime and get that win for us.”
Spezza scored Ottawa’s second goal in a span of 1:35 on a penalty shot 7:23 into the third as the Senators tied it 3-3. He snapped a shot past Pavelec for his eighth goal after Bogosian tied him up on a breakaway.
“It’s part of the game,” Bogosian said. “Unfortunately, they got a goal on it but more importantly we got the win. The whole thing started with a bad bounce. I went to swat at it, and it just jumped over my stick.”
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson started the comeback late in the second period when he ended a 10-game drought without a point by notching his first goal in 12 games.
Chris Neil drew the Senators within 3-2 with his second of the season 5:48 into the third.
Brian Elliott made 20 saves.
“It’s encouraging that we kept plugging away,” Alfredsson said. “I think we’ve put a string of good games together here recently, and we can’t get discouraged even though we don’t get the two points. We’ve got to keep going forward and build off that and hopefully get a streak going.”
Alfredsson’s goal with 1:29 left in the second was his first since Nov. 17, when he scored Ottawa’s lone goal in a 7-1 loss at Carolina. This was his longest stretch without a point in his 16-year career with the Senators.
“It was nice to get it, no question,” Alfredsson said.
Neil drew the Senators within 3-2 with his second goal 5:48 into the third.
Slater got credit for his fifth goal 9:36 in after Eric Boulton’s shot went in off his skate.
Little made it 2-0 at 17:18 when he scored for a third straight game. Byfuglien carried the puck around Ottawa’s zone before passing off to Thorburn, who drove a slap shot on net from the point. Little put away the rebound to extend his point streak to four games.
Ottawa’s defensive pair of Chris Campoli and Matt Carkner was on the ice for the Thrashers’ first three goals.
NOTES: Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins was in attendance. Jenkins, an Ontario native who won the National League Cy Young Award with Chicago in 1971, was given an ovation when he was introduced to the crowd during the second period. ... RW Niclas Bergfors, LW Ben Eager and D Freddy Meyer sat out for the Thrashers. ... The Senators played their 700th home game in modern franchise history.