NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Atlanta
(Friday, January 16th)
Final Score: Carolina 4, Atlanta 3
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Jeff O'Neill registered his second career hat trick to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers in the front end of a home-and-home at Philips Arena.
"Three goals go into the net, and all of a sudden you're a great player," O'Neill said. "I try to play the same way every night. Some people have questioned my character and my desire to win."
Kevyn Adams also scored for the Hurricanes, who won for the first time in four games (1-2-1). Kevin Weekes turned aside 27-of-30 shots in the victory.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored a pair of goals for Atlanta, which is winless in its last nine games (0-7-1-1).
Byron Dafoe made 22 saves and Shawn McEachern also scored in the loss.
O'Neill's wrister from the slot on a power play beat Dafoe to the stick side early in the first period, but the Thrashers scored three unanswered goals to take lead.
"I'm a goal scorer, that's what I'm supposed to do," O'Neill "It is unfortunate it hasn't happened for me so far, but hopefully I can keep it going."
McEachern tallied at 11:02 of the opening period to tie the game at 1-1. Kovalchuk then scored the next two goals, the second on a power play with 3:41 left in the first period to give Atlanta a 3-1 advantage.
O'Neill's second goal of the contest, a 10-foot slap shot, beat Dafoe glove side at 8:23 of the middle stanza to cut the Thrashers' lead to 3-2.
The Hurricanes then scored a pair of goals in a span of 44 seconds to regain the lead. Adams tied the game at 13:18 of the second period and O'Neill completed the hat trick at 14:02, beating Dafoe with a backhander for what turned out to be the game-winner.
"It's getting to the point now where it's panic. We've got to stop the bleeding now," explained Dafoe.
Weekes made nine saves in the third period, including a big glove stop on McEachern with about 10 minutes remaining, to preserve the one-goal lead.
The teams will meet again on Sunday in Raleigh... Carolina winger Pavel Brendl picked up his first two assists of the season...Thrashers right wing Dany Heatley skated with the team earlier in the day. The 2001-02 rookie of the year has yet to play this season after an automobile accident...O'Neill has 192 career goals, tying Pat Verbeek for the franchise record...Carolina is 7-1-3 in the 11 meetings at Atlanta...The Hurricanes finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while Atlanta scored once on five chances with the extra skater...O'Neill's other career hat trick took place on January 31, 1997 in a 6-3 Hartford loss at Anaheim.
01/17 01:45:32 ET