NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Carolina
(Sunday, January 18th)
Final Score: Atlanta 5, Carolina 2
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Randy Robitaille scored twice to lead the Atlanta Thrashers over the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2, at the RBC Center in the finale of a home-and-home series.
Zdenek Blatny and Daniel Tjarnqvist also scored for the Thrashers, who snapped a nine-game winless streak (0-7-1-1), while Ilya Kovalchuk recorded a goal and two assists. Pasi Nurminen made 29 saves, including 15 in the final period for Atlanta, which was coming off Friday's 4-3 home loss to Carolina.
Eric Staal and Aaron Ward lit the lamp for the Hurricanes, who lost for just the second time in 12 career home contests against the Thrashers (9-2-1). Kevin Weekes allowed the four goals on just 25 shots between the pipes for Carolina.
Tjarnqvist garnered first star honors for two crucial plays that he made with Atlanta up 3-2. In the second period, he saved a goal when he prevented an Erik Cole shot from trickling across the goal line after it got through Nurminen.
With the Thrashers facing a 5-on-3 loss of manpower early in the third, Tjarnqvist stole a cross ice pass by Sean Hill and was off to the races for a breakaway goal that made it 4-3.
"Daniel Tjarnqvist made two great plays that might have saved the game," said Thrashers head coach Bob Hartley. "One when he kept the puck out of the net, and then he scored what he said was his first ever short-handed. It was probably one of his most important goals also."
"I've seen 5-on-3 goals given up," Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette said. "They're rare. Specialty teams is killing us, just killing us."
Kovalchuk added the empty-netter in the final minute for his 25th marker of the year.
The Hurricanes dug themselves a hole in the first minute of play and it didn't take long for Atlanta to capitalize. Pavel Brendl was assessed a double-minor for highsticking just 30 seconds into the contest. The Thrashers power play needed just five seconds to cash in as Robitaille put home the rebound of a Kovalchuk shot for the early 1-0 lead.
Carolina, however, still a man down, bounced back quickly as Staal scored 1:21 later on the back end of the Brendl penalty. Staal netted his first career shorthanded goal after Cole drew two Atlanta defenders and Nurminen towards him before sliding it over to Staal for the tally on the Hurricanes first shot of the game.
The Thrashers jumped on top with two quick goals early in the second. Blatny's slap shot found the back of the net 2:29 into the period for his second career goal.
Robitaille scored again two minutes later for his eighth of the season to extend it to 3-1 after Kovalchuk skated behind the net and sent one in front to a wide-open Robitaille.
Ward got the Canes within one when his shot from the high slot beat Nurminen for his first of the year with 11:54 remaining in the middle frame.
Carolina still leads the all-time series with the Thrashers with a 16-3-4 mark...The Canes fell to 1-6-3 within their division...Atlanta finished 2- for-7 on the power play while Carolina was 1-for-5 with the extra skater.
01/18 23:24:23 ET