NEW YORK — Johan Hedberg made 46 saves and then was perfect in two shootout rounds to lift the Atlanta Thrashers to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday night.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Vyacheslav Kozlov scored on the Thrashers' only shots in the shootout against Henrik Lundqvist. Hedberg made a pad save on NHL-leading goal scorer Marian Gaborik in the first round, then watched the puck slide off the stick of Ales Kotalik before he could muster an attempt.
Kozlov and Colby Armstrong scored to give Atlanta a pair of one-goal leads in regulation, but Ryan Callahan and Gaborik — with his 23rd goal — had power-play tallies to get New York even. Rangers rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto had two assists.
The Rangers recorded a season high in shots, but lost for the seventh time in eight games (1-5-2). New York scored fewer than three goals for the 11th time in 13 games.
Hedberg is 3-0 in shootouts this season. He has allowed only one goal in eight attempts. Lundqvist fell to 2-1.
The Thrashers grabbed their second lead when Armstrong scored Atlanta's fifth short-handed goal this season 3:06 into the third period.
Ron Hainsey cleared the puck out of his end and around the boards in the New York zone, where it bounced past Del Zotto. Armstrong snapped a shot from the right circle past Lundqvist.
The Rangers, who also gave up a short-handed goal in their 3-2 loss to Buffalo on Saturday, responded this time before the power play ended. Del Zotto made up for his gaffe with a circle-to-circle pass to Gaborik, who snapped a shot in from Hedberg's right that tied it 2-2 at 4:05.
Atlanta threatened to take the lead again when it had a 5-on-3 power play with less than 6 minutes remaining in regulation that lasted for 1:26. But Lundqvist stood his ground, drawing chants of "Hen-rik" from the crowd.
Christopher Higgins had a breakaway for New York just after the teams returned to full strength, but Hedberg turned his backhander aside.
A pair of long passes that produced breakaways led to the Rangers' goal that tied it at 1.
Despite racking up a large number of shots, New York didn't generate many scoring chances against Hedberg. That changed when defenseman Michal Rozsival hit Chris Drury with a pass from inside the New York blue line that led the Rangers captain into the Atlanta zone.
Before Drury got off a shot, he was pulled down by Hainsey. Drury wasn't clearly ahead of Hainsey, so he drew a tripping call instead of being awarded a penalty shot.
It didn't matter, because Del Zotto fired a pass from his goal line all the way to the Atlanta blue line — sending Callahan in alone on Hedberg. Callahan shifted from backhand to forehand to backhand before slipping the puck in at 17:10 for his seventh goal and second in two games.
Callahan has four goals in eight games following a seven-game drought.
Kozlov staked Atlanta to a 1-0 lead by scoring a power-play goal with 3:19 left in the first period. The Thrashers, who have won two straight after regulation, had been outshot 14-3 before the goal.
Rangers C Brandon Dubinsky returned after missing 13 games with a broken right hand, sustained while blocking a shot at Calgary on Nov. 7. … Kozlov has 98 career power-play goals in 1,158 NHL games. … Kovalchuk has points in 12 of his last 17 games (eight goals, 13 assists). Thrashers D Tobias Enstrom has 16 points in 18 games. … Atlanta is 11-1 when scoring first and 8-1 when leading after the first period. … New York's 19 shots in the second period were a season high, topping the 18 in the third period of a 5-3 loss to Atlanta on Nov. 12. The Rangers' previous high for shots in a game was 39 on Nov. 5, a 4-2 win at Edmonton.