ATLANTA – Slava Kozlov’s slap shot from beyond the left circle with about five minutes left in the game lifted the Atlanta Thrashers to a 4-2 win over New York on Friday night, handing the Rangers their third straight loss.
Kozlov, who had an assist on the game-tying goal in the second period, shot the puck above the left shoulder of Rangers goalie Stephen Valiquette, breaking a 2-2 tie.
Eric Boulton, Pascal Dupuis and Marian Hossa also had goals for Atlanta. Hossa’s goal came with only 5.2 seconds left, after New York pulled its goalie for the final minute.
Johan Hedberg stopped 30 shots for Atlanta (14-13-1), which moved above .500 for only the second time this season.
Each team started backup goalies. Thrashers general manager and interim coach Don Waddell rested Kari Lehtonen. Atlanta plays again Saturday night at Washington and Lehtonen only recently returned from a groin injury.
New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist was given the night off one day after he was pulled in the Rangers’ 6-2 loss to Toronto. Lundqvist, coming off a 4-0 loss to Carolina, was pulled after stopping only six of 10 shots against Toronto. Valiquette made only his third start of the season.
Boulton gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead only 2:15 into the game.
The Rangers answered quickly with two goals. Marcel Hossa shot 4:09 into the game tied the score, and less than two minutes later Chris Drury’s rebound shot gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Hedberg was in from of the left corner of the net to stop a shot by Petr Prucha, but the puck bounced to Drury with the rest of the net still open.
The Rangers had a goal disallowed only 35 seconds into the second period. Brandon Dubinsky scored in front of Hedberg for an apparent 3-1 New York lead, but a review showed Dubinsky kicked the puck into the net.
Atlanta pulled even at 2-2 at 5:58 of the second period when Dupuis scored off a pass in front of the net from Kozlov.
Another apparent goal was disallowed, this time without a review, midway through the third period. Marian Hossa’s would-be goal was waved off by officials who said they blew the play dead, ruling Valiquette had the puck covered, before Hossa hit it out of his glove into the net.
Atlanta fans booed and whistled in disapproval after the ruling.