Thrashers top Sabres in overtime

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ATLANTA - Keith Tkachuk's power-play backhander with 38 seconds left in overtime extended Atlanta's home winning streak to seven games with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.

New York Rangers right wing Colton Orr, right, connects during a fight with Atlanta Thrashers left wing Eric Boulton, left, in the first period, Friday, March 16, 2007, at  an NHL hockey game at Philips Arena in Atlanta.  Associated Press
Associated Press
New York Rangers right wing Colton Orr, right, connects during a fight with Atlanta Thrashers left wing Eric Boulton, left, in the first period, Friday, March 16, 2007, at an NHL hockey game at Philips Arena in Atlanta.

The Thrashers, with 88 points, are six up on Tampa Bay, which lost 5-1 at Washington, in the Southeast Division. Buffalo, the best team in the Eastern Conference, had its two-game winning streak snapped.

Since the Thrashers traded for them in late February, Tkachuk and defenseman Alexei Zhitnik have helped Atlanta go 8-2. Zhitnik's seventh goal, coming on a power-play slap shot midway through the third, gave the Thrashers a 3-2 lead.

Buffalo tied it at 3-all on Derek Roy's 15th goal with 7:35 remaining. The puck glanced off Kari Lehtonen's mask, apparently hitting him near the right ear. After Roy lifted a wrist shot over his shoulder from the bottom of the left circle, Lehtonen fell face first to the ice.

Lehtonen, who improved to 32-21-8, stayed in the game after a trainer attended to him. He stopped 35 of 38 shots, including four in overtime, one of them a glove save to help kill a slashing penalty on Tkachuk.

Tkachuk scored his 26th goal, his sixth with Atlanta. Zhitnik, who had the game-winner in overtime on Friday against the New York Rangers, had an assist on Tkachuk's goal.

Ilya Kovalchuk's 38th goal made it 1-0 for Atlanta with a two-man advantage early in the first. Drew Stafford responded for Buffalo with his ninth goal at the 6:11 mark of the period.

Eric Belanger put the Thrashers up 2-1 on a breakaway 15:36 into the first, but Thomas Vanek's 35th goal made it 2-2 early in the second.

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