ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Thrashers fell behind by two goals in the first period. In other words, they had the Los Angeles Kings right where they wanted them.
Marc Savard scored his second goal of the night with 1:23 left in overtime, giving the Thrashers a 4-3 victory over Los Angeles in a matchup of first-place teams Wednesday.
The comeback was nothing new for Atlanta, which has earned at least a point eight times after rallying from two-goal deficits -- including two wins in a row.
"That's been our Achilles' heel," Atlanta's Shawn McEachern said. "We come out slow and give up a couple of goals. But we're able to come back."
The Thrashers may start slow, but they finish fast. The last four minutes of the third period, plus overtime, provided some thrilling end-to-end action.
Slava Kozlov and McEachern gave Atlanta a 3-2 lead, but Joseph Corvo scored his first goal of the season with just 4.8 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
After both goaltenders made some big saves, the Thrashers finally picked up the winner.
Savard passed to Ilya Kovalchuk streaking down the left side. Cristobal Huet made the save on Atlanta's best scorer but couldn't control the rebound, which Savard stuffed in at the side of the net.
"I tried to extend my legs," Huet said, "but it wasn't enough."
Just another night for the Thrashers, who are playing their best hockey ever despite a car wreck that killed Dan Snyder and injured All-Star Dany Heatley just before the season.
"Everyone knows what type of year we've had," Savard said. "We have worked through everything and that's a credit to the people we have in here. We are going to keep striving ahead.
Los Angeles coach Andy Murray said the Thrashers got away with having too many men on the ice for Savard's winning goal.
"Their guy comes right off the bench and gets the puck as the guy he's supposed to be replacing is just getting off the ice," Murray said. "If they can get away with it, it's a great move. But it should have been blown down."
Byron Dafoe stopped 29 shots to win for the second time in five days. Before that, he went nearly 10 months between victories.
"He made a lot of great saves that saved the game for us," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "I'm very proud of Byron. I haven't played him very much this year and he had every reason to whine, but he kept a good attitude."
The teams scored three first-period goals within a span of 1:37 as Los Angeles went up 2-0 before Atlanta cut the deficit in half. It remained that way until the final frantic minutes.
Kozlov stole a pass in center ice, faked out of a couple of Kings and scored off his back foot from the top of the circle with four minutes left -- his fourth straight game with a goal.
Then, McEachern outraced two Los Angeles defenders and put a shot through Huet's legs with 1:14 remaining.
"I like my team because not only do we score big goals, but we're not very much fun to play against," Hartley said.
It appeared Atlanta's lead would hold, but Martin Straka sped into the Thrashers zone and Corvo wound up with the pick just inside the blue line. He got everything into a slap shot that appeared to deflect off Dafoe's right skate and into the net.
Winning its third in a row, Atlanta stretched its lead in the Southeast Division to three points over Tampa Bay. Los Angeles, which leads the Pacific Division, is 4-1-0-2 in its last seven games.
After three days off, the Thrashers got off to a sluggish start.
Luc Robitaille scored his sixth of the season at 5:56 of the first, getting all alone in front of the net. Just 56 seconds later, Trent Klatt gave the Kings a 2-0 lead, knocking in a backhander after Dafoe made the save on Alexander Frolov.
The Kings had barely finished celebrating when Savard brought the Thrashers to 2-1 at 7:33. Savard took a drop pass from McEachern and beat Huet with a screened shot.