DENVER – Everything is going well lately for the Atlanta Thrashers. Just ask right wing Anthony Stewart, whose pass intended for a teammate ended up in the net for a game-winning goal.
“To be honest with you, I tried to put it on Big Buff (Dustin Byfuglien’s) stick,” Stewart said. “But I guess it got a little bit too much of the toe of my stick and it happened to go in.”
Stewart scored 1:49 into overtime and Atlanta matched a franchise record with its sixth straight victory, 3-2 over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.
“Right now it’s nice to be able to win games like this and hopefully to be able to build confidence off of them,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsey said.
Byfuglien and Rich Peverley added goals for the Thrashers, who also won six in a row in March 2009.
“That’s a big team win for us,” Byfuglien said. “Guys are really coming together right now and it’s translating into wins.”
Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves. By winning all six games during the streak, Pavelec broke the team record for consecutive wins by a goalie. Johan Hedberg (2009) and Pavelec had shared the mark at five.
During the winning streak, Pavelec has stopped 230-of-238 shots.
David Jones and Matt Duchene had third-period goals for Colorado. Peter Budaj stopped 28 shots for the Avalanche, who had their four-game home winning streak snapped.
With the Avalanche trailing 1-0, Duchene got the equalizer at 1:43 of the third period on a wrist shot that got under Pavelec’s stick. Duchene had stolen the puck in the neutral zone.
Jones put the Avalanche ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal at 10:10, deflecting a slap shot by Kevin Shattenkirk.
The lead was short-lived. Byfuglien had a shot blocked by Jones, regained the puck and sent a low drive past Budaj at 13:48.
Colorado’s Ryan O’Byrne hit the right post with 2:04 left in regulation. In overtime, Stewart circled the net and sent a shot past Budaj.
“I never saw it go in and only realized it had gone in when I saw some guys with their arms in the air,” Stewart said. “I heard the crowd go, “ahhh,” and I thought it must have hit someone in the face.”
Budaj could only shake his head in disgust.
“Bad goal. Bad goal,” he said. “It should have been an easy save.”
Peverley opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season, a wrist shot from the lower left circle. The shot made it just inside the left post at 10:41 of the first period.
The Thrashers had other chances earlier, drawing back-to-back power plays midway through the period. Budaj turned aside five quality chances, the best save coming on Bryan Little’s wrister from the right circle.
Pavelec made a diving save of a short-handed shot by Greg Mauldin on one of the power plays. The goalie caught a break in the final minute of the period when he deflected Paul Stastny’s shot off the crossbar.
The Thrashers failed to convert on two power plays in the second period. Colorado was equally ineffective with its two power plays.
Pavelec got help from Peverley, who denied a goal by taking the puck off Kevin Porter’s stick just in front of the crease at 15:56 of the second period.
NOTES: Atlanta LW Ben Eager levelled Avalanche RW Brandon Yip with an aggressive check behind the Colorado goal. … The Avalanche had their first winning November (7-5-1) since going 8-5-2 in 2005. … Colorado F Tomas Fleischmann was a healthy scratch after being acquired earlier in the day from Washington for defenceman Scott Hannan.