Originally created 11/20/02

Thrashers edge Panthers



ATLANTA -- Shawn McEachern scored a power-play goal at 3:23 of overtime to give the Atlanta Thrashers a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

McEachern scored his sixth of the season on a two-on-one, converting a perfect crossing pass from Vyacheslav Kozlov. Florida defenseman Ivan Majesky was off for holding the stick, giving Atlanta a four-on-three in the extra period.

Atlanta snapped a two-game losing streak and stayed ahead of Buffalo for the fewest points in the NHL. The Thrashers are 2-1-1 in overtime.

Florida, which has gone to overtime in five of the last seven games, is winless in its last five (0-1-2-2).

Florida's Olli Jokinen extended his scoring surge with a pair of shorthanded goals. His 11 goals ties his career high set in 1999-2000, when he played all 82 games with the New York Islanders.

Jokinen has three multigoal games this season, two against Atlanta. He has points in 10 of the past 15 games.

There was more good news for the Thrashers, who reached a tentative agreement on a contract with free-agent goalie Byron Dafoe. The deal was announced between periods by general manager Don Waddell, who said he hoped to make it official on Wednesday.

It was the second big move in a week made by the Thrashers, who acquired center Marc Savard from Calgary on Friday. Savard started the game centering for McEachern and Kozlov, and assisted on the game-winning goal.

Patrik Stefan tied it for the Thrashers 6:16 left, sneaking a wrist shot through Roberto Luongo's pads from a sharp angle. The play was set up by Ilya Kovalchuk, who absorbed a hit from Ryan Johnson in the defensive zone before picking up the puck and carrying it through traffic into the high slot. He feathered it to Stefan, whose six goals are just one shy of his total from last season.

Pasi Nurminen was back in net for Atlanta, and was once again hurt by the defense in front of him early.

Sandis Ozolinsh opened the scoring at 4:35 of the first, streaking to the side of the net unmarked on a backdoor play and slamming in a perfect pass from Viktor Kozlov.

Jokinen made it 2-0 at 12:19 when he converted a turnover from Kovalchuk into a shorthanded score.

Yannick Tremblay cut the deficit to 2-1 with a slap shot from the point early in the second period. But Jokinen restored the two-goal lead at 12:21 with another converted miscue in the Atlanta zone.

Yuri Butsayev again pulled Atlanta within one, finding a loose puck in a goal-mouth scramble and netting it for his second of the season.

Luongo, who had been out with a back injury, made his first start since Nov. 6. He appeared in relief on Saturday, giving up four goals on 12 shots and taking the loss in a 7-3 defeat to San Jose.

Notes: Atlanta D Richard Smehlik was placed on injured reserve and is expected to miss two-to-four weeks with a strained groin, sustained in practice Monday. ... Atlanta F Jeff Cowan was activated but did not play after missing seven games with a sprained MCL. ... Ozolinsh has a four-game scoring streak. ... The Thrashers are 8-5-5-1 against the Panthers, their best record against any opponent. ... Atlanta F Dany Heatley, who had a five-game point streak come to an end, played in his 100th straight game and is three games shy of Chris Tamer's franchise record. ... Atlanta came in last in the NHL in goals-against average.