Kozlov leads Thrashers past Oilers

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ATLANTA (AP)—Slava Kozlov(notes) hopes his first goal is the start of something good.

Kozlov broke out of his slump with his first goal of the season and the Atlanta Thrashers beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Sunday for their fourth consecutive victory.

Kozlov, who had 26 goals last season, put the Thrashers in front with 8:01 left in the third period, converting a pass from Todd White(notes) after going scoreless in the first 16 games.

“Obviously it was a slow start for me,” Kozlov said. “Hopefully, I will pick it up. I tried to stay calm and just work hard. It feels good.”

Johan Hedberg(notes) made 34 saves to improve to 4-1 on the season and was encouraged by Kozlov’s goal.

“We need him to be a part of our team,” Hedberg said. “For him to get his first goal was big for him.”

The Thrashers (10-6-1) won their second straight at home to even their record to 4-4 at Philips Arena. The Oilers lost their third in a row and sixth in seven games.

“We are a team that finds a way not to do the right thing,” Oilers coach Pat Quinn said. “We missed our assignments today and instead of walking away with something to work with, we walk away with nothing but maybe a moral victory.”

The Thrashers tied it at 2 on a power-play goal by Maxim Afinogenov(notes) with 22 seconds remaining in the second. Afinogenov picked up his seventh of the season and third in two games when he took a pass from Rich Peverley(notes) at mid-ice, outraced a defender and beat Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) from up close.

“Their power-play goal gave them a quick turnaround,” Edmonton’s Andrew Cogliano(notes) said. “We had chances to put it away. We were around the net.”

The Oilers had taken a 2-1 lead on second-period goals by Shawn Horcoff(notes) and Dustin Penner(notes).

Horcoff knocked in his third of the season with assists from Steve Staios(notes) and Ales Hemsky(notes). Penner added his team-leading 12th goal with 4:47 left in the period. He converted a nice pass from Cogliano and easily beat Hedberg from about 10 feet out.

Atlanta’s Zach Bogosian(notes) opened the scoring with a power-play goal early in the first. It was his eighth goal, tops in the league for defensemen.

NOTES: The Oilers were 0 for 5 on the power play. … Atlanta C Bryan Little(notes) missed his second straight game with a groin strain and D Pavel Kubina(notes) was out with lower body soreness. … The Oilers were without F Fernando Pisani(notes) with complications from colitis and D Denis Grebeshkov(notes) with a knee injury. … This was the only meeting this season between the two teams.

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Sunday, Nov 15