NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Atlanta
(Friday, January 4th)
Final Score: Carolina 4, Atlanta 3
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Cory Stillman's power-play goal with 3:23 left proved to be the difference, as the Carolina Hurricanes stormed past Atlanta, 4-3, in the conclusion of a home-and-home series at Philips Arena.
The game-winner was made possible after Stillman set himself up just off the left side of the crease. He then one-timed a feed from Ray Whitney into the top of the cage with the 'Canes skating on the man-advantage after a delay- of-game penalty on Bobby Holik.
Eric Staal had a goal and two assists, while Whitney had a goal and an assist for Carolina, which halted a three-game skid. Casey Borer scored his first NHL goal in his just his second game and also added an assist, while Michael Leighton made 23 saves.
"I don't know. There's so many teams right now that are playing good hockey, and anyone can win any night," said Staal. "The key is just getting as many wins as you can. We're not going to think we have to take a breath. We don't have a time or chance to take a breath. There's teams right on us so we gotta make sure we continue to play good hockey."
Mark Recchi and Todd White had a goal and an assist each for Atlanta, which won the front end of the home-and-home in overtime. With the loss, the Thrashers now fall five points back of the Hurricanes in the Southeast Division.
Pascal DuPuis also scored, while Kari Lehtonen turned aside 29-of-33 shots in defeat.
"I felt pretty good," said Lehtonen. "It's tough when you're trying to figure out ways to see through the traffic. You know they put a lot of guys in front of the net and our own guys tried to block the shots. It's a little bit more difficult for everybody, with the new rule especially, because the D-men cannot push too much with the guys in front there. I just have to figure out a way to see better. Is it over the guys, or from the side of them? I think that's been a problem for a couple of games now."
Recchi put the Thrashers on the board with a re-direct that sailed past Leighton on the stick side just 32 seconds in, while White made it 2-0 when he intercepted a loose puck in front and tucked it by the netminder at 12:15.
Carolina cut it to 2-1 just 27 seconds into the middle stanza, as Whitney corralled the disc near the high slot, spun and directed a hard shot past Lehtonen, who was screened by his own defensemen.
DuPuis restored Atlanta's two-goal lead at the end of a 2-on-1, as he tipped home a feed from Eric Perrin for a short-handed tally at 3:40.
The 'Canes, though, lit the lamp just 1:30 later on the power play when Jeff Hamilton rifled a shot from the top of the right circle that found its way through traffic and was deflected in front by Staal.
Carolina then tied it at 3-3 with 3:25 remaining in the second when Borer's 55-foot slapshot from just inside the blue line somehow skipped through the five-hole.
Staal has scored seven goals in his last 10 games...Ilya Kovalchuk assisted on White's goal and now has four tallies and seven assists in his last five games...Carolina went 2-for-8 on the power play, while Atlanta finished 0- for-3.
01/04 23:08:17 ET