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Thrashers win in shootout
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ATLANTA — Eric Christensen scored the winner in an extra round of the shootout, and the Atlanta Thrashers beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 to snap a four-game skid Friday night.

Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves for Atlanta and turned back the final shootout bid by Daniel Sedin as the Thrashers won for the first time this season against a Western Conference team after five losses. It was also just the second home win for the Thrashers in 12 games.

Atlanta’s Slava Kozlov and Vancouver’s Pavol Demitra scored in the first three rounds of the shootout to force an extra round. Christiansen beat Canucks goalie Jason LaBarbera on his chance and Lehtonen made that stand up by stopping Sedin.

Atlanta improved to 2-0 in shootouts, and Vancouver dropped to 1-4.

Kozlov, Ilya Kovalchuk and Joey Crabb had goals in regulation for Atlanta. Henrik Sedin scored two goals and twin Daniel Sedin had the other for Vancouver. Each had three points.

LaBarbera made 33 saves while playing for the second straight night after being acquired from Los Angeles when the Canucks lost Roberto Luongo and Curtis Stanford because of groin injuries.

After Kozlov converted a rebound on the power play to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead with 3:46 into the third period, Vancouver tied it with 8:44 left when Daniel Sedin, fighting Marty Reasoner in front, tipped Henrik Sedin’s shot past Lehtonen for his 19th goal.

Henrik Sedin’s second goal came at 7:14 of the second period — the center wheeled around Reasoner and jammed the puck past Lehtonen to the short side.

It was Sedin’s seventh goal of the season.

Kovalchuk made it 2-all at 12:24 of the period. Kovalchuk took a feed from Jason Williams, who was behind the net, and ripped a shot past LaBarbera for his 13th goal.

The Thrashers took the lead nine minutes into the game with their first short-handed goal of the season. Niclas Havelid chipped the puck up ice on the penalty kill and Crabb outraced Demitra to it.

The goal was the rookie’s third of the season.

But the advantage didn’t last long. Just 35 seconds after Crabb’s goal on a hard shot from outside the right faceoff circle, Jim Slater gave Vancouver a two-man advantage with a slashing penalty, and the Canucks cashed in.

Henrik Sedin tapped in a loose puck at the 10:26 mark while a Thrashers’ player had a broken stick.
Atlanta’s Eric Boulton and Vancouver’s Mike Brown fought just 4 seconds after the puck was dropped to start the game and both teams were feisty throughout.

Notes: Mats Sundin didn’t make the two-game trip with the Canucks to Nashville and Atlanta. The former Toronto center, who signed with Vancouver Dec. 18, is likely to make his debut with the Canucks in a home game against St. Louis next Friday. Sundin is yet to have a full practice with his new team.

Thrashers rookie D Zach Bogosian, who had been out since late October with a broken leg before returning Wednesday against Carolina, didn’t dress as D Nathan Oystrick returned to the lineup. Atlanta C Eric Perrin was a healthy scratch for the second time this season.

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