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NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Atlanta

(Thursday, January 21st)

Final Score: Carolina 5, Atlanta 2

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Eric Staal celebrated his first game as Hurricanes captain by playing like it, notching his ninth career hat trick in Carolina's 5-2 victory over Atlanta at Philips Arena.

"I'm not playing any different now than I would normally," said Staal. "It's just one of those things. Tonight was a night where I got some good passes. Some nice plays by my linemates. I was able to capitalize."

The 25-year-old Staal has 13 goals on the season. He was joined in the scoring column by Sergei Samsonov and Jussi Jokinen as Carolina snapped a three-game skid.

Cam Ward was solid between the pipes, stopping 24 shots in the final two periods. He made 32 saves on the night, while his opposing netminder Ondrej Pavelec turned away 17 of 21 shots faced.

Rich Peverley and Colby Armstrong lit the lamp for Atlanta, which has split its last four games. Peverley collected his 16th goal on the season, while Armstrong scored for the eighth time.

"Maybe we dumb it down a bit, take some skill off and put some grit in front of the net and pound away," said Thrashers head coach John Anderson about his team's scoring troubles. "I'll have to look at it tomorrow."

Carolina wasted little time lighting up the scoreboard, as Ward made two great saves, the last stop and a loose puck leading to a 2-on-1 break with Jokinen receiving a pass along the right face-off circle and dishing the disc to a streaking Staal, who tallied 3:31 into the game.

The Hurricanes took a two-goal edge on the man-advantage as Samsonov found himself in the right place at the right time for a rebound one-timer just over three minutes later.

The lead grew to 3-0 on a power-play goal by Jokinen at the 26-second mark of the second period then Staal netted his second goal with a one-timer high and glove side past Pavelec for a 4-0 edge at 2:19.

Atlanta finally got on the scoreboard with Peverley's tally at 13:30, then cut the deficit to two goals with 8:12 left in regulation as Armstrong scored off Ward's chest.

Carolina finally put the game on ice with Staal's goal late in the third. Ray Whitney's deft pass to Staal found the captain in mid stride, leading to a slap shot past Pavelec with 44.1 seconds left.

Game Notes

Carolina was a successful 3-for-4 on the power play, while Atlanta was stopped on all of its six chances...Jokinen collected his 18th and 19th assists on the season...Whitney also had two assists in the win...Atlanta fell to 11-9-4 at home this season...Carolina snapped a three-game skid to the Thrashers.

01/21 22:18:58 ET

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