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Thrashers hold off Rangers, snap 3-game skid
New York Rangers' Brandon Prust (8) collides with Atlanta Thrashers ' Tobias Enstrom (39) as Thrashers goalie Chris Mason (50) stops a shot on the goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, in New York. - photo by The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Niclas Bergfors had a goal and an assist and the Atlanta Thrashers scored twice early in the third period before holding on for a 6-4 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.

The Thrashers broke an 0-2-1 skid and snapped the Rangers' winning streak at three games.

Bergfors gave Atlanta a 3-2 lead in the second period and assisted on Dustin Byfuglien's power-play goal in the third that stretched the Thrashers' edge to three goals. Bryan Little, Evander Kane, Eric Boulton and Andrew Ladd also scored to back the goaltending of Chris Mason, who made 24 saves.

Bergfors, Little and Boulton all scored for the first time this season.

Ryan Callahan, Sean Avery, Todd White and Brian Boyle had goals for the Rangers, who started backup goalie Martin Biron over Henrik Lundqvist for the second time this season. Biron allowed only one goal on 25 shots in a win at Toronto on Oct. 21, but was touched for five goals on 25 Thrashers shots.

White, with his first goal with the Rangers, and Boyle scored 2:11 apart to bring New York to 5-4 with 9:53 remaining. Defenseman Matt Gilroy nearly tied it at 5 with 6:45 left when his shot from the left point hit Mason's glove and then the crossbar.

Ladd sealed it with an empty-net goal with 23.2 seconds left

The Rangers came out flying and seemed determined to take the fight out of the Thrashers and extend Atlanta's losing streak. New York grabbed a 1-0 lead just 38 seconds in when Callahan scored his second goal.

Despite pockets of empty seats throughout Madison Square Garden, the crowd was into the game as the Rangers kept up the pressure on Mason.

New York held a 7-1 shots advantage through the first 4:46, but then had its offense run dry.

Atlanta turned the tide and got even with 8:32 left in the first when Little scored off a pretty rush through the Rangers. Little surged into the middle of the zone, cut to his right and got around sprawling defenseman Marc Staal, and then moved to the front of the net. Little beat Biron with a slick forehand-to-backhand move to tie it at 1.

The Thrashers bounced back from their slow start and outshot the Rangers 11-3 over the final 15-plus minutes of the period. Atlanta earned the only power plays of the first, getting them back-to-back late in the frame for a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted 51 seconds.

New York killed off the first half before the period ended and finished off the power play in the opening minute of the second. But the Rangers couldn't build off that momentum.

Kane gave the Thrashers their first lead when he snapped a shot from the outside edge of the right circle at 10:17 of the second. Kane, the No. 4 pick in the 2009 draft, is off to a sizzling start in his second NHL season, scoring six goals in nine games.

Rangers coach John Tortorella burned his lone timeout as Kane retrieved the puck at center ice for 19-year-old rookie teammate Alex Burmistrov, who assisted on the goal for his first NHL point.

The little breather seemed to help the Rangers a bit as they tied the game just 2:31 later when Avery turned some hard work behind the Atlanta net into a stuff-in goal at the right post.

But New York couldn't sustain the surge, even after receiving its first power play less than a minute after Avery's goal, and the Thrashers soon went on top again.

After a turnover in the Rangers' end, Bergfors raced the puck up right wing on a 2-on-1 rush. With New York defenseman Michal Rozsival cutting off the passing lane, Bergfors fired a shot over Biron's shoulder to make it 3-2 with 3:53 left in the second period.

Atlanta's lead grew to two goals 49 seconds into the third when Boulton scored his first of the season with a backhander from the slot. Byfuglien made it 5-2 at 5:01 with a power-play goal.

NOTES: Little, Kane and Bergfors were first-round draft picks. ... The Rangers haven't won four straight since Dec. 17-23, 2009. ... Mason has played in all nine Thrashers games.

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