NHL Game Summary - Nashville at Atlanta
(Thursday, October 23rd)
Final Score: Atlanta 4, Nashville 2
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Ilya Kovalchuk recorded his second hat trick of the young season and scored twice in a three-goal flurry in the second period, as the Atlanta Thrashers came back to beat the Nashville Predators, 4-2, at Philips Arena.
J.P. Vigier also scored for Atlanta, which tallied three goals in 3:28 midway through the middle frame and received 28 saves from Pasi Nurminen. Atlanta has captured at least one point in every game so far this season.
Jordin Tootoo and Dan Hamhuis each netted a goal for the Predators, who have lost two straight contests.
After the Thrashers erased a 2-0 Nashville lead, Kovalchuk's second goal of the night staked Atlanta to a 3-2 edge just 22 ticks after the game had been tied. A turnover in the neutral zone allowed Randy Robitaille to streak down the slot. The center then passed to Kovalchuk at the left circle and he fired a wrister home at 13:26.
The score remained 3-2 through the third period and the Predators had a power play with under four minutes to go in the game. They pulled goaltender Tomas Vokoun in favor of an extra forward and despite skating 6-on-4, could not score the potential tying goal and Kovalchuk's empty-netter sealed the win.
Vokoun turned aside 16-of-19 shots in the losing effort.
The Predators took an early lead on a goal that seemed to be planned perfectly. With the contest not even three minutes old, Hamhuis took a high sticking penalty. After Atlanta failed to produce a goal with the extra skater, Hamhuis came out of the box just as Rem Murray was carrying the puck up ice.
Murray then spotted the streaking Hamhuis, who took the feed in stride at the blue line and beat Nurminen with a slapshot from the left faceoff dot at 4:55.
Just 33 seconds later, Tootoo gave the Predators a two-goal advantage. A victorious faceoff resulted in possession for Nashville and the puck ended up at the left point, where Tomas Kloucek took control and fed the disc cross ice to Marek Zidlicky. Tootoo then blasted a one-timer after a quick pass from Zidlicky and the Predators led, 2-0, with 14:32 to go in the opening period.
Atlanta, though, came roaring back with three goals in a span of 3:28 midway through the second stanza.
Kovalchuk cut the deficit in half with a power-play tally at 9:58. He stood at the left point and blasted a return pass from Frantisek Kaberle past Vokoun to give the Thrashers life.
Vigier then knotted the contest at 2-2 with a stuffer at 13:04. After the tough forechecking of Jeff Cowan squirted the puck loose, Vigier brought it around the other side of the net and beat Vokoun at the left post.
Tootoo, who became the first player of Inuit decent to play in the NHL earlier this season, scored his first career goal...Kovalchuk leads the league with nine goals and the hat trick was the third of his career...The Thrashers finished 1-for-7 on the power play while Nashville failed to score on six chances with the man advantage...Atlanta is now 3-1-1 in the last four meetings with the Predators, who are winless in their last three trips to Philips Arena.
10/23 22:27:42 ET