ATLANTA, March 19 (UPI) -- Ilya Kovalchuk's 39th goal with 24 seconds left in the third period completed a late comeback Friday night and gave Atlanta a 3-2 win over Florida.
Kovalchuck leads the league in goal scoring.
Prone to defensive lapses, Kovalchuk committed a turnover in his own zone early in the third period that led to Mikael Samuelsson's go-ahead goal, then found himself on the bench for a long stretch.
But after defenseman Andy Sutton tied it, the 20-year-old Russian redeemed himself by taking Serge Aubin's pass from behind the net and firing it past goaltender Roberto Luongo from along the goal line for his second tally in three games.
The goal made Kari Lehtonen's NHL debut a successful one. The second overall pick in the 2002 draft made 19 saves, including 11 in the first period.
Dany Heatley also scored for the Thrashers, who completed a 3