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Thrashers edge Ducks
Atlanta Thrashers goalie Johan Hedberg blocks a shot as Thrashers’ Ron Hainsey and Anaheim Ducks’ James Wisniewski battle in front of the goal in the first period Tuesday in Atlanta. - photo by The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Thrashers coach John Anderson couldn’t think of a better way to win a game.

Maxim Afinogenov ended Atlanta’s power-play drought with a third-period goal to lift the Thrashers past the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Johan Hedberg stopped 34 shots for Atlanta.

The Thrashers were 0 for 13 over a three-game stretch with a man advantage, including their first power play against Anaheim. But Afinogenov scored from the right circle 4:03 into the third period, rewarding the Thrashers for their recent emphasis in practice on the power play.

“The nice thing was that it was a power-play goal that won it for us,” Anderson said. “We talked about the importance of getting one goal a game on the power play. It really makes a difference.”

Anaheim had killed 21 of its last 23 penalties before Afinogenov’s go-ahead shot through Jonas Hiller’s legs.

Afinogenov is second on the team behind Ilya Kovalchuk with 17 goals.

“Before the game we spoke about we wanted the power play to get going and how it’s going to win the game,” Afinogenov said. “We just tried to shoot more and I think it’s working. We got a couple of shots.

“The puck was bouncing there for me. I just tried to put it into the net and it worked.”

The Thrashers began the night ranked 18th in the league with their 17.7 percent success with a man advantage.

“We’ve been working on that lately,” Hedberg said. “When you try to do too much, sometimes you overdo something.”

The Ducks were stopped on their four power plays.

“Our first power play we had seven or eight shots,” said Bobby Ryan, who had an assist on Eminger’s goal. “We lost momentum. Everybody was trying to do too much.”

Hedberg allowed one goal in his third straight game, but the Thrashers’ poor production on their power play helped lead to losses in the first two game.

“It’s a big win for us tonight,” Hedberg said. “We’ve been deserving to win the last few weeks, and tonight we managed to get the extra goal. Hopefully that’s what we need to put us on a roll here.”

The Thrashers are 5-4-1 since ending a nine-game winless streak. The Ducks lost for the third time in 11 games.

Anderson said the Thrashers “thought we’ve played very well” even while losing three of their last four before facing the Ducks.

“The last three or four games, we certainly didn’t reap the reward,” Anderson said. “Tonight was a breath of fresh air. We played a tight, low-scoring game and we won.”

The Thrashers won for only the third time in regulation when scoring no more than two goals.

Colby Armstrong gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead early in the second period with his follow after Hiller stopped shots by Evander Kane and Ron Hainsey. Steve Eminger’s goal with 2:02 remaining in the second tied the game.

The Thrashers were stopped on their final two opportunities with a man advantage, leaving them 1 for 4 in the game.
Hiller had 32 stops.

“He played well enough to keep us in the game,” Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf said. “It’s frustrating. Maybe we over-handled the puck a little bit.”

Atlanta’s Chris Thornburn left after he was hit in his face by the puck 5:37 into the third period. Thornburn fell to the ice before heading to the locker room. He returned later in the period.

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