NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Atlanta
(Tuesday, January 19th)
Final Score: Atlanta 4, Toronto 3
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice to lead the Atlanta Thrashers to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Philips Arena.
Rich Peverley and Evander Kane also scored for the Thrashers, who have won two of their last three games. Ondrej Pavelec made 37 saves in the victory.
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored two goals within a 32-second span while Niklas Hagman posted a goal and an assist for the Leafs, who have lost six of their last eight games overall.
Vesa Toskala allowed four goals on 32 shots in the losing effort.
Atlanta grabbed a 3-2 lead 1:58 into the final stanza on Peverley's 15th goal of 2009-10. A shot from the centerpoint was saved and Peverley was in position for a successful rebound from below the left circle on the power play.
Kovalchuk's second tally of the contest made it 4-2. The Russian sniper accepted a pass from Chris Thorburn in the neutral zone, streaked down the right-wing side and unloaded a slap shot from the circle that hit Toskala's pad and crossed the goal line at 4:20.
"We played a great game and everybody worked hard," said Kovalchuk. "We got the two important points."
The visitors drew within one less than two minutes later on Hagman's 18th goal. A pass from the left circle by Ian White made its way across the slot and onto the stick of Hagman, who buried a one-timer snap shot from the inner rim of the right circle at the 5:53 mark.
Pavelec was strong down the stretch, as he and the Atlanta defense corps held off the Leafs the rest of the way, including a Toronto power play the lasted for the final 1:49 of regulation.
"Our power play just isn't clicking right now," said Toronto head coach Ron Wilson. "We need to work on it, and we can't turn the puck over -- that happened several times and those are the important puck battles."
Ponikarovsky scored twice within a 32-second span in the latter stages of the first period -- the goals were practically mirror images of each other -- and the Leafs held a two-goal lead after the opening 20 minutes.
First, at 14:07, Ponikarovsky's 17th goal of the campaign made it 1-0. Tomas Kaberle held control of the puck as the Leafs entered their offensive zone on a 3-on-2 rush and sent a saucer pass from just inside the centerpoint toward the net. Bearing down on the net, Ponikarovsky purposely stabbed at the disc with the heel of the stick and the deflection sent the puck past Pavelec.
On the next shift, Ponikarovsky struck again with a goal that was literally scored in the exact same fashion. This time, Hagman nabbed the assist. Hagman's saucer pass, which was identical in both style and purpose to the one by Kaberle, was sent to the goal mouth area from inside the right circle. Ponikarovsky was again in the low slot and had his stick in the deflection position for a redirection tally and a 2-0 Toronto lead.
At the 2:43 mark of the second period, the Thrashers cut their deficit in half via Kovalchuk's first goal of the game and 29th of the season. Zach Bogosian held control at the right point and passed across for Kovalchuk, whose laser one-timer from the left side lit the lamp.
Kane's wraparound marker at the right post with 7:48 to go in the second knotted the contest.
Toronto's Jason Blake was hit with a slap shot in first period, but returned on his next shift...Toronto fell to 8-15-4 on the road this season...Despite the loss, the Leafs have won eight of their last 12 games in Atlanta...The Thrashers finished 1-for-7 on the power play, while the Leafs were 0-for-5 with the extra skater.
01/19 23:05:19 ET