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NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at NY Rangers

(Tuesday, March 2nd)

Final Score: Atlanta 4, NY Rangers 3

New York, NY (Sports Network) - Patrik Stefan registered his first three-point performance of the season with a trio of assists to lead the Atlanta Thrashers past the New York Rangers, 4-3, at Madison Square Garden.

Dany Heatley, Ilya Kovalchuk, Daniel Tjarnqvist and Randy Robitaille scored the goals for the Thrashers, who completed a home-and-home sweep over New York after Sunday's 3-2 win. They now own a 7-0-1 mark in the last eight meetings with the Rangers.

Pasi Nurminen stopped 26 shots to backstop the win for Atlanta, which mustered just 16 shots on the way to its third win in a row.

Mark Messier, Chris Simon and Dan LaCouture lit the lamp at the other end as the Rangers fell for the third straight game. New York has lost five of its last six and 8-of-10 (2-7-0-1).

Mike Dunham allowed two goals on just three shots in nine-plus minutes of action before giving way to Jussi Markkanen, who made 11 saves in relief. The Rangers haven't beaten Atlanta since February 8, 2002.

"Mike apologized for his start," said Rangers interim head coach Tom Renney. "But there's a long line of people that should apologize for their starts on this team, not just Mike Dunham."

After breaking even at 2-2, the Rangers allowed a shorthanded marker with 7:57 to play in the middle frame. Brian Leetch was pressured by Stefan at the point, and had the puck chipped away from him by Shawn McEachern, creating a 2-on-1 rush. McEachern's shot was stopped by Markkanen, but Tjarnqvist trailed the play unchecked to bury the rebound.

"I thought that we played a pretty smart road game," said Atlanta head coach Bob Hartley. "Very few turnovers, and once again our penalty killing was huge."

The Thrashers then reaped the benefits of a lucky bounce to receive a big insurance goal just prior to the midway point of the final period. Stefan's wrist shot from the slot was stopped, but Markkanen's attempt to clear the rebound with his stick bounced off defenseman Tom Poti and into the net. Robitaille got credit for his 10th of the campaign.

"Our power play gave us a big goal at the end of the game and I think everyone worked hard." added Hartley. "We're in a good grove and we're making a push."

The Rangers bounced right back to get back within one when Alexei Kovalev fed LaCouture from behind the net for an easy one-timer goal.

But Simon took an offensive-zone penalty with 2:35 remaining to thwart any further chances for a Rangers comeback.

"We're a resilient bunch," Hartley said. "We have to go out there and work and give ourselves a chance."

Atlanta jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, thanks to two quick tallies by its young 1-2 scoring punch.

Heatley beat Dunham in close from the right hash mark 6:34 into the opening stanza, and Kovalchuk scored just five seconds into a power play 2:14 later on a one-timer from the point that appeared to change direction on the way in. Renney then tapped Markkanen to get loose.

"I think we all want to take responsibility for our performance, and I thought by doing that we would respond to it," added Renney.

New York closed within one on a goal by Messier 45 ticks later. Nurminen was hugging the post, but Messier found some space between the netminder's leg and the post for the unassisted tally.

Messier set up Simon's 13th of the year with 2:40 to play in the first on a pass from behind the net.

Game Notes

Kovalev was traded to Montreal after the game...Atlanta is unbeaten (18-0-1) when leading after two periods this season...The road team is 12-4-1 in the last 17 matchups between these teams, and the Thrashers are unbeaten in their last five trips to Madison Square Garden (4-0-1)...Nurminen is 5-0-1 in his last six appearances against New York...McEachern and defenseman Andy Sutton each recorded a pair of assists.

03/03 01:48:00 ET

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