NHL Game Summary - Chicago at Atlanta
(Saturday, October 18th)
Final Score: Atlanta 7, Chicago 2
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Ilya Kovalchuk recorded his second career hat trick and Vyacheslav Kozlov added a goal and three assists, as the Atlanta Thrashers took advantage of the power play en route to a 7-2 rout of the Chicago Blackhawks at Philips Arena.
Marc Savard had a goal and two assists while Pasi Nurminen made 24 saves for the Thrashers, who remained unbeaten at 3-0-2.
Steve Sullivan and Tyler Arnason scored for the Blackhawks, who have dropped four in a row after opening the season with a victory.
Atlanta scored a franchise-record four power-play goals in 15 opportunities with the man-advantage, as Chicago racked up 22 penalties covering 75 minutes. At one point in the third period, the Blackhawks had five players in the penalty box while the Thrashers had three.
Chicago went 0-for-1 on the power play for the game.
Atlanta took a 1-0 lead on Kovalchuk's power-play goal at 3:26 of the first period. Kozlov had the puck in the right circle and sent a cross-ice pass to the top of the left circle for Kovalchuk, who ripped a slap shot past Chicago goaltender Jocelyn Thibault.
Kozlov's first goal of the season at 9:06 of the opening frame put the Thrashers up 2-0. From behind the net, Savard sent the puck over to Kozlov in the right circle. Kozlov hesitated slightly before wristing a shot over the left shoulder of Thibault that snuck in under the crossbar.
Serge Aubin scored his first goal of the season a little more than a minute later to give Atlanta a 3-0 advantage. Yannick Tremblay caught up to a failed Chicago clearing attempt near the blue line and fired a shot on net. Thibault made the initial save, but Aubin was there to put in the rebound.
The Blackhawks made it 3-1 when Sullivan picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in for a shorthanded, breakaway goal with just 46 seconds left in the first period.
The Thrashers extended the lead to 4-1 on a power-play goal by Savard at 8:57 of the second period. Kozlov had the puck outside the right post and his centering pass was deflected by Thibault. The puck went right to Savard in front of the crease and he flicked it into the net for the score.
Jeff Cowan gave Atlanta a 5-1 advantage with his first goal of the season at 13:30 of the middle frame. Patrik Stefan came around the back of the net with the puck and -- from the left post -- sent a pass to the right circle for Cowan, who wristed it past Thibault for the score.
Cowan's goal also ended the night for Thibault, who was pulled in favor of Michael Leighton.
Chicago pulled within 5-2 before the second intermission on an Arnason goal, his second of the season. Pavel Vorobiev took a shot from the top of right circle that was kicked aside by Nurminen, but the rebound went right to Arnason in the slot for the easy goal at 14:17 of the second period.
The Thrashers took a 6-2 lead when Kovalchuk cashed in a power play with a one-timer from the left circle at the 9:10 mark of the third period. Again on the man-advantage with 4:45 left to play, Kovalchuk completed the hat trick and made it 7-2 when he scored from the left circle off a 2-on-1 with Stefan.
Kovalchuk's previous hat trick came last December 6 at Washington.
Thibault turned away 23-of-28 shots before exiting the contest. Michael Leighton encountered 16 shots the rest of the way and made 14 saves in the loss.
Kovalchuk has five goals in five games...Atlanta entered the game just 1- for-25 on the power play...The five-goal margin of victory tied the Thrashers' overall team record and was their largest ever at home. They had won by five goals three previous times, but they were all on the road...Sullivan scored his 12th career shorthanded goal...Chicago had won four of the previous five all-time meetings with Atlanta and had outscored the Thrashers 9-1 in those contests.
10/19 01:32:00 ET