ATLANTA — Alexei Zhitnik scored 1:26 into overtime and the Atlanta Thrashers rallied past the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Saturday night in a key Southeast Division game.
Zhitnik’s fake allowed him to skate past Tampa Bay’s Flip Kuba for the unassisted goal.
Tampa Bay goaltender Johan Holmqvist was left bowed forward in dejection, his helmet touching the ice, after the game-winner.
Holmqvist and the Lightning shut out the Thrashers for the first two periods.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots for Atlanta.
Vincent Lecavalier, second in the NHL with 72 points, gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead with a second-period goal. He lifted a backhand shot over Lehtonen at 12:48.
The Thrashers were held without a shot on their only power play of the second period and managed only four shots in the period.
Atlanta finally answered with a game-tying slap shot by Marian Hossa 4:18 into the third period.
The Thrashers, who moved back into a tie with Carolina for the lead in the Southeast Division, snapped a two-game losing streak at home and ended Tampa Bay’s six-game winning streak on the road.
The Thrashers’ best scoring chance in the first two periods came with 3:38 left in the first period. Hossa passed from the right circle to Slava Kozlov, who appeared to beat Holmqvist with a shot which set off the red light behind the net, indicating a goal. A review showed the puck bounced up and away from the net without crossing the line.
Kozlov, denied the first-period goal, delivered a third-period assist on Hossa’s game-tying goal. Eric Perrin, stationed between Hossa and the net, screened Holmqvist’s view of the shot.
After the goal by Hossa, the best chance of avoiding overtime came when Tampa Bay’s Craig MacDonald hit the post on a shot with about 4 minutes left in the third period.
There were only three penalties in regulation, including two against Atlanta, and none in the third period.
Notes: Thrashers D Niclas Havelid returned after missing a game with flu symptoms. ... Atlanta LW Ilya Kovalchuk had only one shot. ... Attendance was 18,879, the Thrashers’ sixth sellout of the season. ... Tampa Bay D Brad Lukowich suffered what was reported as a lower body injury.