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Thrashers 4, Predators 3, SO @NHLdotcom

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta's new fashion statement might just become a trend.

With his teammates wearing their helmets backward, Marian Hossa scored the only goal in a shootout to lift the Thrashers to a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night.

It was Atlanta's first shootout victory in five tries. The Thrashers might just do it again if the situation calls for it.

``We had our rally caps on,'' forward Marc Savard said. ``It worked, so you will probably see more of that.''

Nashville fell to 4-2 in the NHL's new tiebreaker.

Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped Steve Sullivan, Paul Kariya and Marek Zidlicky in the shootout.

``On the shootout, Kari played unbelievable in net,'' Hossa said.

Hossa had Atlanta's first opportunity against Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun.

``I know Vokoun was good on the deke, so I tried to go slow,'' Hossa said. ``He stayed in the net. At the right moment, I tried to freeze him and just shoot it between his legs. It worked.''

Nashville led 1-0 through two periods but needed two goals in the third period by Yanic Perreault to force overtime. Atlanta rallied in the period behind goals by Slava Kozlov, Ilya Kovalchuk and Savard.

Vokoun shut out the Thrashers through two periods, stopping 23 shots.

``Vokoun played a hell of a game as well as Kari,'' Hossa said.

Atlanta outshot Nashville 41-26.

``We gave them too many chances,'' Vokoun said. ``Power play, 5-on-3, 4-on-3, you name it. Playing back-to-back, we were tired in the third period. They took advantage.''

Nashville was coming off a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Atlanta has won three straight, matching its longest winning streak of the season.

``We found another way to win and it was a special one because we got to taste victory after a shootout,'' Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. ``We had a great feeling on the bench, and the boys were having fun with their helmets turned around.''

Led by three of the NHL's top nine scorers, the Thrashers began the night third in the league with 158 goals.

Trailing 1-0, Atlanta finally broke through on Kozlov's shot past Vokoun from in front of the net less than 2 minutes into the third period.

Nashville answered quickly on Perreault's first goal about 6 minutes into the period for a 2-1 lead, but the Thrashers again pulled even on Kovalchuk's league-leading 33rd goal.

The Thrashers took their first lead 12 minutes into the third on their first power-play goal of the game. Savard scored on an assist from Kovalchuk for a 3-2 Atlanta lead.

Officials huddled following Savard's goal to discuss an allegation that Kovalchuk was using an illegal stick.

``Kovalchuk knew it was illegal. He always plays with an illegal stick,'' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ``I watch him on TV.''

Trotz and his players said they were unable to get the officials to check the stick before Kovalchuk made a switch.

``I saw him throw it to his trainer behind the bench,'' Sullivan said. ``He took it down the hallway.''

Kovalchuk denied the charges.

``They tried to look at my stick, but it was the legal one,'' he said. ``Yes, I'm sure it was legal.''

Lehtonen protected the advantage with a glove save of a breakaway shot by Sullivan with 5:21 left. After diving for Sullivan's fake, Lehtonen was face-down on the ice when he reached up for the save.

Perreault's second goal of the game, on the power play, got the Predators even at 3.

The Thrashers struck out on six power-play opportunities in the first period, including a briefly held 5-on-3 chance late in the period. They outshot the Predators 15-7 in the period.

Kovalchuk broke his stick on each of his two shots in the opening period. He angrily threw down the broken shaft after shattering his second stick on a power-play chance.

Kovalchuk broke a third early in the second period.

Nashville took a 1-0 lead in the first period on Darcy Hordichuk's fourth goal.

A would-be goal by Nashville's Mark Eaton about 5 minutes into the second period was disallowed due to a goaltender interference call against Martin Erat.

Notes: For the second straight game, Nashville RW Jordin Tootoo was scratched due to back spasms. Tootoo was injured when his vehicle was hit from behind on the way home from the morning skate Tuesday. ... Kovalchuk has a seven-game scoring streak. ... Kozlov's goal gave him 600 career NHL points.

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