NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Carolina
(Tuesday, February 20th)
Final Score: Atlanta 3, Carolina 1
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Johan Hedberg made 33 saves to lead the Atlanta Thrashers to a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in a big Southeast Division battle at RBC Center.
Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist and Ilya Kovalchuk scored the game- winning goal for the Thrashers, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
Atlanta currently has 71 points and is tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the Southeast Division.
"It seemed that we always play well in this building," said Atlanta coach Bob Hartley. "We knew that this would be a tough game, and the boys deserve a lot of credit. They played hard, we were sharp, and we got huge goaltending. We talk about goaltending everyday, and Moose (Hedberg) gave us lots of confidence, gave us lots of big saves, and we got some timely goals."
Rod Brind'Amour scored the lone goal and Cam Ward made 20 saves in net for the Hurricanes, who have dropped two of their last three games.
The Thrashers were trailing, 1-0, in the third period, but tied the game early in the stanza while shorthanded. Hedberg lifted the puck out of his own end and Hossa chased the disc down into the left corner of the Carolina end. With Ward looking up-ice, Hossa threw a shot on net that went off the skate of Ward and into the net to make it a 1-1 game 5:53 in.
Atlanta then took its first lead of the game when Hossa picked up a turnover at his own blueline, hit Kovalchuk with a lead pass, and from the left circle Kovalchuk blew a wrist shot past Ward's glove for a 2-1 lead with 2:24 to play.
Eric Boulton then sealed the victory when he banged in a rebound from down low with 1:18 remaining for his second goal of the year.
"We obviously turned the puck over on the second goal, and that was the big goal," said Carolina coach Peter Laviolette. "That was the momentum turner. But I thought up until that point we were doing what we wanted to do, and that's no consolation. The points left the building."
The first period was a tight-run affair with only 10 shots making it on net, seven by Carolina, and neither side got on the scoreboard.
The Hurricanes finally snapped the scoreless contest in the second period when a turnover in the neutral zone was picked up by Ray Whitney, who took the puck into the Atlanta end, slammed on the brakes at the inside left circle and dropped the puck to Brind'Amour, who snapped a wrister into the right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead with 2:34 left in the second.
Atlanta managed six shots on net in the second period, but Ward turned them all aside.
Carolina hosts the Flyers on Thursday...Atlanta returns home to face Tampa Bay on Thursday...Atlanta finished a six-game road trip with a 2-4 record...Carolina winger Erik Cole was scratched from the game with a lower body injury...Atlanta had lost its first three games against Carolina this season, but has won the past two matchups, both in Carolina...Neither team scored on the power play with Carolina having four chances and Atlanta two.
02/20 22:33:58 ET