Marc Savard scored with five seconds left in overtime to lift Atlanta over New Jersey 3-2 Thursday night. Atlanta entered with 48 power-play goals, second only to Detroit's 50, but the Thrashers were unsuccessful on four attempts in regulation.
``We've been executing very well on the power play,'' Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. ``The guys have been moving the puck well and making good decisions. The last month and a half we've been riding a wave and scoring some pretty big power play goals.''
Few have been bigger than Savard's, which came on a night when Brodeur made several acrobatic stops and looked ready to add another win to his 12-4-3 career record against Atlanta. But with New Jersey's Dan McGillis off for roughing on a play that led to an unsuccessful penalty shot earlier in overtime for Atlanta, Savard took a pass between the circles from Ilya Kovalchuk and beat Brodeur with a low shot to the goalie's right.
``I think it just had eyes,'' Savard said. ``I think he might have been peeking over the left side of the screen.''
The loss was New Jersey's fifth in six games.
Michael Garnett made 24 saves for Atlanta. Brodeur stopped 30 shots.
Atlanta nearly won it earlier in overtime when Marian Hossa was awarded a penalty shot after being pulled down by McGillis on a breakaway.
Hossa slid into Brodeur, knocking him into the net. Brodeur stayed on the ice for a few minutes and was attended to by the team's trainers, then got up and deflected Hossa's penalty shot attempt over the crossbar with his glove hand.
Brodeur had stopped Hossa on a breakaway in the final seconds of the first period, aided by the goal post.
``For a while, I didn't think we'd score,'' Hartley said. ``Crossbar, post, facemask ... that's why he's Martin Brodeur. He's a great angle goalie and he doesn't give you much.''
The Devils were 0-for-7 on the power play, and squandered a golden opportunity in overtime when Savard went off for high-sticking 1:42 into the extra period. Only eight NHL teams had scored fewer power play goals than the Devils entering Thursday's game.
``Our power play is just killing us,'' Devils coach Larry Robinson said. ``We've considered everything, but the bottom line is, if you don't shoot the puck on the power play, it doesn't matter. You've got to move the puck and make crisp passes. We're making wobbly passes.''
After Kovalchuk's team-leading 20th goal gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead early in the third period, the Devils tied it on a wraparound by Alexander Mogilny midway through the period.
New Jersey then kept the heat on Garnett in the final minutes of regulation but couldn't push the winning goal. Sergei Brylin had the best chance at 17:32 on a one-timer from between the circles that Garnett stabbed with his glove.
J.P. Vigier scored Atlanta's other goal in the second period to tie it.
Scott Gomez opened the scoring for New Jersey late in the first period when he chested Brian Gionta's high pass off Garnett's mask and into the net.
``It feels great to get two points in this building,'' Hossa said. ``It's a tough place to play.''
Notes: Hartley said he called a late timeout specifically to give Hossa a rest for what looked like an impending shootout. ... Brodeur was knocked backward into his goal twice: once by Hossa and once in the second period by former teammate Bobby Holik, who raised his arms to celebrate what he thought was a goal as play continued. ... Through 23 games, Brodeur's goals-against average was 2.97. His highest average for a full season is 2.34 in 1995-96.