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Thrashers rally to beat Minnesota 3-2 in shootout

ATLANTA - Erik Christensen scored the only goal in the shootout and the Atlanta Thrashers snapped an eight-game losing streak by beating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Friday night.

Atlanta's Johan Hedberg denied Mikko Koivu, Brent Burns and Brian Rolston in the shootout after stopping 37 shots in regulation and the overtime. It was the Thrashers' first win since Feb. 15 at New Jersey.

Colby Armstrong and Ilya Kovalchuk each scored in the final six minutes as the Thrashers overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1. Kovalchuk scored with only 44.9 seconds left in regulation to force the overtime.

Rolston also scored in regulation for Minnesota, which began the night tied for first place in the Northwest but suffered its first loss in seven games against Atlanta. The Wild made their first visit to Atlanta since March 9, 2003.

Burns scored a power-play goal with 2:22 left in the third period to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead, but Kovalchuk answered with his goal after Thrashers coach Don Waddell pulled Hedberg.

Rolston scored the power-play goal on a wrister from the right circle only 40 seconds into the two-man advantage 10:47 into the period for the 1-0 lead.

The Wild still led 1-0 with only 5:30 left in the third period when Nicklas Backstrom stopped a power-play shot by Kovalchuk, but Armstrong scored on the put-back. The goal was Armstrong's first since he was traded on Feb. 26 trade to Atlanta in the deal that sent Marian Hossa to Pittsburgh. Christensen also was acquired in that deal.

Minnesota was 0-for-15 on the power play in its last three games. That slump ended in the first period when penalties by Garnet Exelby and Jim Slater set up a five-on-three advantage for the Wild.

The Thrashers couldn't take advantage of three power plays early in the second period, including a two-man advantage that lasted 1:28.

The Thrashers were unable to score even with a brief five-on-two advantage, as Minnesota's Eric Belanger needed about 10 seconds to pick himself up after a shot by Kovalchuk hit him in his midsection.

Notes

Minnesota fell to 10-4-1 on the second day of playing back-to-back days. The Wild lost 3-2 at Carolina on Thursday. ... Minnesota is 5-1-0 with a tie in seven games against Atlanta. ... The Thrashers were without C Todd White (elbow, shoulder). Defensemen Alexei Zhitnik and Mark Popovic were held out, but not listed as injured. ... Attendance was 18,709 for Atlanta's seventh sellout.