NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Atlanta
(Friday, January 30th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Atlanta 1
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Trevor Kidd made 25 saves to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Atlanta Thrashers, 4-1, at Philips Arena.
Robert Reichel, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Gary Roberts and Matthew Stajan scored for Toronto, which has won four of five to move one points ahead of Ottawa and Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference lead.
Atlanta had Dany Heatley back in the lineup for the second time this season, but he was a minus-2 in 19:29 of ice time. Marc Savard scored for the Thrashers, and Byron Dafoe surrendered three goals on 18 shots before leaving after two periods with a concussion.
"We have to play with desperation every game," said Savard, whose team went o- for-5 on the power play.
After a scoreless first period, the left-handed shooting Reichel gave Toronto a 1-0 lead 3:42 into the second. After a fake shot at the point, he skated into the left circle and wristed the puck over Dafoe's glove for his fifth of the season.
Savard's one-timer knotted the score at 11:08, but the Maple Leafs scored twice more in the stanza for a 3-1 lead at the end of 40 minutes.
Ponikarovsky made it 2-1 with his fifth at 15:28, and Roberts scored on a tumbling backhand in the crease after faking Dafoe out of position just 2:57 after that. Both goals were assisted by Karel Pilar and Joe Nieuwendyk.
"[Ponikarovsky's goal] seemed to give Toronto lots of energy." said Atlanta coach Bob Hartley.
Dafoe was pulled after the second period and replaced by Pasi Nurminen, who surrendered a backhand goal to Stajan with 12:38 remaining in the game.
Nurminen finished with eight saves for the Thrashers, who are 0-3-2 in their last five games.
On Wednesday, Heatley played for the first time since the tragic September automobile accident that took the life of teammate Dan Snyder and left him with two torn knee ligaments and a broken jaw...Atlanta was 0-for-5 on the power play, while Toronto went scoreless on three chances with the man advantage.
01/31 01:00:37 ET