EDMONTON – Marty Reasoner came back to haunt his old club with a breakaway goal 4:10 into overtime as the Atlanta Thrashers won their fourth game in a row, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 on Thursday night.
Jim Slater, Bryan Little and Zach Bogosian also scored for the Thrashers (27-35-6), who have are playing some of their best hockey of the season with six wins in their last eight games.
Shawn Horcoff, Patrick O’Sullivan and Robert Nilsson replied for the Oilers (32-27-8), who lost four of their last five games, including two straight in overtime, but managed to stay in a tie for seventh with Dallas with 72 points in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Thrashers loss came at a price, as captain Ilya Kovalchuk left the ice with an upper body injury in the first period and did not return.
Atlanta scored 2:30 into the first period as Nathan Oystrick spotted Slater in the clear to complete a four-way passing play. Slater blasted a shot into the net before Oilers starter Dwayne Roloson could get over.
The Oilers tied the game just before the midway point of the period on a two-man advantage. Atlanta goaltender Johan Hedberg made a save in tight on Ales Hemsky but Denis Grebeshkov got the rebound and passed to Horcoff for a goal high to the glove-side to make it 1-1.
The Thrashers regained the lead with six minutes to play in the opening frame as Todd White waited for Little to join the rush then shifted to the backhand to beat Roloson for his 29th goal of the season.
Edmonton came back out for the second period with a lot more jump, taking the 3-2 lead with goals less 1:23 apart.
O’Sullivan scored his first goal as an Oiler since being acquired in a trade-deadline deal with Carolina on a wrist shot from the face-off dot. Soon afterward, Nilsson scored on a rebound after Hedberg had made the initial save with the shaft of his stick on a Sam Gagner shot.
Atlanta evened the game up again with eight minutes remaining in the second with a power play goal as Bogosian snuck in from the point and blasted a bullet past Roloson to make it 3-3 after 40 minutes.
There was no scoring in the third period as the shots ended up even at 30-30 after regulation time.
Both teams play again on Saturday with Atlanta completing their three-game trip in Buffalo and Edmonton playing host to the Colorado Avalanche.
Notes: The Oilers made a number of changes to their lineup with Sheldon Souray returning after leaving their last game against Montreal and captain Ethan Moreau back after missing their latest road trip with an eye injury. Forward Dustin Penner was also inserted after being a healthy scratch in Edmonton’s last game Former Oiler Marty Reasoner made his first appearance against his former team as a member of the Thrashers. Reasoner leads the Thrashers with a plus-eight rating and tied his career high with 11 goals in the contest. His goal was also the 200th point of his career With his first period injury, Atlanta captain Ilya Kovalchuk had his point streak stopped at seven games. During that time he had six goals and nine helpers.