New York, with 10 wins in its first 13 games, set a franchise record for most victories to start a season, eclipsing the 1983-84 Rangers, who started 9-4-0. The team currently leads the league with 21 points.
Vyacheslav Kozlov and Bryan Little tallied for the Thrashers, who have now lost five consecutive games. Todd White had helpers on both the goals, and Kari Lehtonen allowed three goals on 33 shots in taking the loss.
Tied at one, Zherdev put New York ahead 6:58 into the final period. On the power play, Zherdev stole the puck away from Atlanta defenseman Tobias Enstrom in the offensive zone. Having a clear path to the net, Zherdev was able to easily lift the puck over Lehtonen's shoulder for the lead.
With Naslund off for hooking, Atlanta tallied the equalizer just 3 1/2 minutes later. On the power play, Little gathered the puck in front of the crease and was able to shoot it over a sprawled-out Lundqvist.
The Rangers grabbed the lead for good on a goal by Girardi. Zherdev took the puck all the way around the net, forcing Lehtonen out of position. Zherdev's shot went off the goalie and out in front, and Girardi was able to hammer it home for the game-winner at 13:33.
The Thrashers struck first just 4:41 into the opening period. White took the puck behind the net and found a streaking Kozlov in the right circle. Kozlov's wrister beat Lundqvist above the shoulder for the early lead.
Naslund tied the game later in the frame. After taking a pass from Marc Staal, he streaked from his own blue line all the way down to the offensive zone, beating Lehtonen with a wrist shot at 12:25.
The Rangers kept the game tied with about five minutes left in the period, as Ilya Kovalchuk had a point blank shot out in front. The one-timer hit the right post and bounced back out after Lundqvist had looked behind him to locate the puck.
New York appeared to go ahead early in the second, but a Naslund tally was disallowed after replays showed it was directed into the net by his shin. The Rangers outshot Atlanta 14-9 in the middle period, but neither team could find the back of the net.