ATLANTA (AP) - Peter Bondra was in the right place at the right time.
Bondra scored 1:03 into overtime to give the Atlanta Thrashers a 6-5 win over New Jersey on Thursday night and a four-game season sweep of the Devils.
Bondra knocked in a rebound shot from Andy Sutton, whose shot bounced off New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur and onto Bondra's stick. It was his 18th goal.
"I just went to the net. Suttsy's great shot hit Brodeur somewhere in the shoulder. I just followed the puck and the rebound was there for me," said Bondra.
"The wheels fell apart," said Brodeur. "They beat us on the rebound. We had a 4-1 lead, so we have no one else to blame."
It was the Thrashers' third straight win and eighth in 10 games and New Jersey's fifth loss in six games and lifted Atlanta within a point of the Devils for seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The top eight teams make the postseason. Atlanta has 12 games left and New Jersey has 13.
"They're (games) are getting tougher and tougher," said Atlanta coach Bob Hartley. "I don't know if someone will make a movie on us, but they would have a good script."
The Thrashers overcame a 4-1 third period deficit, scoring four times in the final period. Patrik Stefan, making his first appearance since undergoing surgery for a sports hernia on Feb. 13, scored his 10th goal with 2:01 left for a 5-4 Atlanta lead.
New Jersey, however, tied it a minute later on a goal by Brian Gionta, his 38th, sending the game into overtime. Scott Gomez assisted, his third of the game.
Atlanta's Vyacheslav Kozlov scored his 21st goal to tie the game at 4 with 3:07 left to play.
New Jersey took a 4-1 lead and appeared to have the game clinched when Zach Parise scored his ninth goal at 2:41 of the final period.
"We let them back into the game by losing our poise and putting them on the power play," said New Jersey coach Lou Lamoriello.
"We're playing with passion. These guys never quit," said Hartley. "We're seeing within our dressing room guys committed, playing sick, and hurt."
The Thrashers, however, who have never reached the playoffs in their first five NHL seasons, scored a pair of goals within a 3:05 span to get within 4-3. First, Bobby Holik scored his 11th goal on a power play at 5:55, then Ilya Kovalchuk blasted his 44th goal at 9:00 of the period.
"The Bobby Holik goal was the turnaround tonight," said Bondra. "This game feels good, but at the same time that was not our best game and we know it. So hopefully we will learn from this game and get better."
New Jersey took a 1-0 lead after the first period on a power play goal from Patrik Elias, who beat Atlanta goaltender Kari Lehtonen with a backhander into the top right corner of the net with 4:54 left in the period.
Jamie Langenbrunner scored his 16th goal for New Jersey on another power play 10:21 into the second period with Elias assisting along with Brian Rafalsky for a 2-0 lead.
The Thrashers got on the scoreboard two minutes later to cut the margin in half when Marian Hossa, who added two assists, beat Brodeur from in close on a power play for his 33rd goal.
New Jersey, however, replied with a goal by Brad Lukovich with 3:26 left in the period for a 3-1 lead.
Notes: In an oddity, both goalies got assists. Brodeur got his on Parise's goal and Lehtonen on Holik's goal. ... Atlanta's first shot on goal didn't come until 8:39 of the first period. ... The Thrashers had won three previous games this season against New Jersey. ... Lehtonen made his first appearance against the Devils. ... With Tuesday night's 5-4 shootout win at Boston, the Thrashers set a franchise record of 34 wins in a season.
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