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NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Carolina

(Wednesday, January 2nd)

Final Score: Atlanta 5, Carolina 4 (OT)

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Marian Hossa's power-play goal with just 32 seconds left in overtime lifted the Atlanta Thrashers to a 5-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in the opener of a home-and-home series at the RBC Center.

Carolina's Glen Wesley was called for hooking with 1:05 left in overtime and Atlanta used the power play wisely. With time winding down, Ilya Kovalchuk had the puck at the right circle and passed it down to the left side where a flying Hossa redirected it past Cam Ward for the win.

Kovalchuk finished the game with a goal and three assists while Mark Recchi added a goal and an assist for the Thrashers, who have won two of their last three. Johan Hedberg made 32 saves in the win.

Eric Staal and Ray Whitney each had a goal and an assist while Ward was lit up for five goals on 14 shots for the Hurricanes, who have dropped four of their last five games.

These teams will meet in Atlanta on Friday.

Slava Kozlov got the scoring in the game started at the 3:06 mark as his 12th goal of the season gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead, but Carolina answered just 39 seconds later as Tim Gleason's left point shot was deflected into the net by Whitney.

Kovalchuk, though, gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead with 7:34 left in the first on a brilliant goal. Skating into the Carolina end, Kovalchuk stickhandled past two Carolina defenders and quickly went from the backhand to the forehand and snapped the puck into the right corner of the net for his 33rd goal of the season.

Atlanta got the only goal of the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Todd White won a right circle faceoff and drew the puck back to the left where Kovalchuk snapped a quick one-timer on net that Ward stopped, but Recchi tucked in the rebound with 5:43 left in the frame.

Hedberg stopped eight shots in the middle period.

Carolina, though, tied the game with a pair of goals separated by just 1:19 in the third.

On the power play, Whitney blasted a one-timer from the left point that Hedberg stopped, but Staal tapped in the rebound at the 8:10 mark.

Andrew Ladd then tied the game as he accepted a feed from Scott Walker out front, and, on his second attempt, got a low backhander past Hedberg to make it a 3-3 contest.

The Thrashers again grabbed the lead as Kovalchuk grabbed a loose puck and dished it out front to Bobby Holik, who tapped it in for a 4-3 lead with 5:59 left in the third.

However, Holik took a slashing penalty just 38 seconds later and Carolina took advantage. Erik Cole shot the puck from a sharp angle at the right side of the net that Hedberg slowed down, but it retained enough momentum to cross the goalline for a 4-4 game with 4:31 left in regulation.

Game Notes

Kovalchuk's second assist of the game was the 200th of his career...Atlanta's Eric Boulton left the game in the first period with a sprained knee and did not return...Cole, who has nine goals on the season, scored for the first time at home this season...Atlanta has won four of the last five games against Carolina...Atlanta went 2-for-2 on the power play while Carolina finished 2- for-7.

01/02 22:04:33 ET

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