NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at NY Rangers
(Saturday, January 20th)
Final Score: Atlanta 3, NY Rangers 1
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Niclas Havelid's third-period goal lifted the Atlanta Thrashers over the New York Rangers, 3-1, in a matinee at Madison Square Garden.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa also scored for the Thrashers, who rebounded from Thursday's 4-1 loss against Montreal to win for the third time in four outings. Kari Lehtonen made 29 saves and Steve Rucchin added two assists for Southeast Division-leading Atlanta, which heads into the All-Star break with 27-15-8 mark for 62 points.
Jaromir Jagr scored the lone goal for the Rangers, who have dropped two straight and four of five. Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves for New York, which has scored just one goal in its last two games and went into the break with a 23-21-4 record.
With the game tied at 1-1, the Thrashers went ahead for good with 11:51 left in the third period. After Rucchin won the face-off back to Havelid at the right point, Havelid skated along the right-side boards, cut in on net below the circle and, just before heading behind the net, backhanded the puck into the crease. It appeared that the puck hit off the stick of Lundqvist and then squirted between his legs and into the net.
New York a had a few chances to tie the game over the final minutes, but Lehtonen always had an answer, including a save of a Brendan Shanahan deflection with five minutes to play.
Hossa, who earlier was stopped on a penalty shot and later was stoned on a breakaway, added an empty-net goal with 24 seconds to play for the final margin.
"It was a huge win for us, especially since we haven't played as well as we wanted to on the road lately," said Havelid. "We played a good solid game. Everyone chipped in. It was a big win."
The Thrashers started the scoring just 4:56 into the game when Kovalchuk broke into the offensive zone along the left-side boards and from the center of the circle wristed a shot that hit off the glove of Lundqvist but trickled along the ice and into the net.
Jagr countered for the Rangers 3:11 later. After breaking into the zone along the right-side boards, Jagr skated across to the left circle and then wristed a shot back across his body and over the glove side of Lehtonen.
In the second period, the Thrashers got a penalty shot when New York's Fedor Tyutin dove to the ice and was ruled to have let go of his stick in order to stop a breakaway chance by Hossa. New York argued that Tyutin got the puck before letting go of his stick, but the penalty shot was still awarded.
Lundqvist, though, was up to the challenge and stopped the wrist shot by Hossa with 2:56 left until the second intermission.
Six minutes into the third period, Lundqvist made a kick save on a Hossa breakaway attempt to keep the game deadlocked.
"Obviously there is something missing," said Jagr of the Rangers' first-half woes. "If there wasn't something missing we would have a better record."
Lundqvist has stopped 2-of-3 penalty shots this season...Hossa is 1-of-2 this year on the penalty shot, falling to 1-of-5 since joining the Thrashers...New York ended 0-of-6 on the power play, while Atlanta went 0-for-4.
01/20 17:19:15 ET