NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Atlanta
(Sunday, March 4th)
Final Score: Atlanta 3, Carolina 1
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Marian Hossa scored twice and Kari Lehtonen stopped 35 shots to give the Atlanta Thrashers a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes and a share of first place in the Southeast Division.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored the other goal for the Thrashers, who have won their last three games and are now tied with Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Southeast and third in the Eastern Conference.
"I think we deserve a lot of credit, the whole team," said Hossa. "These are two big points. We have to find a way to win. We have four lines to rotate. We all have fresh legs when we are on the ice, that makes a big difference."
Rod Brind'Amour scored the lone goal and John Grahame made 22 saves for the Hurricanes, who have dropped three of their last four and hold the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 73 points, one ahead of Montreal.
"A huge two points to lose against a division rival," said Grahame. "We're chasing them, it's the biggest game of the year and everybody is disappointed. We're chasing the division and you have to have your eye on the prize. You gotta win games and get points."
The Thrashers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period when, on a delayed penalty call to Carolina, Hossa skated in on a breakaway and snapped a wrister that beat Grahame on the stick side halfway through the frame.
Carolina, though, tied the game with 18 seconds left in the first when Brind'Amour's wrist shot from the slot found the back of the net.
Atlanta took a 2-1 lead in the second period as Kovalchuk pounced on a rebound and wrister a shot into the right corner of the net for a power-play goal at the 14:35 mark.
Lehtonen made nine saves in the second to keep Carolina off the scoreboard.
The Thrashers gave themselves some cushion when Bobby Holik left a drop pass in the slot for Hossa, who fired a blast from 15 feet out to make it a 3-1 game halfway through the third.
Carolina peppered Lehtonen with 15 shots in the final frame, but he turned all of them aside to preserve the victory.
Carolina has off until Friday when it will play in Washington...Atlanta hosts Florida on Tuesday...Holik's assist on Hossa's second goal was his 700th career point...Atlanta's Keith Tkachuk went over 2,000 career penalty minutes in the game...Carolina has won four of seven matchups against Atlanta this season...Atlanta went 1-for-4 on the power play while Carolina was held scoreless in its four chances.
03/04 17:08:27 ET