NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Atlanta
(Wednesday, March 19th)
Final Score: Carolina 5, Atlanta 3
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Sergei Samsonov had a goal and an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes past the Atlanta Thrashers, 5-3, in a Southeast Division matchup at Philips Arena.
Cam Ward stopped 31 out of the 34 shots he faced for the Hurricanes, who won their seventh contest in eight tries and sit five points behind Montreal for second place in the East. Trevor Letowski, Erik Cole, Eric Staal and Joe Jensen each scored for the 'Canes.
Johan Hedberg stopped 28-of-33 shots for Atlanta, which lost for the 14th time in 16 games. Steve McCarthy, Bryan Little and Vyacheslav Kozlov all tallied for the Thrashers.
After receiving a pass from Samsonov, Cole slapped home the rebound of his own shot for a power play goal with just over five minutes remaining in the game, all but sealing it, at 5-2, for Carolina.
Kozlov made it respectable for the Thrashers by slapping home a one-timer from Mark Recchi with 38.3 ticks left, but it was too little too late, as Carolina had built up enough of a cushion.
Recchi had two assists in defeat.
Skating down the left side, Patrick Eaves hit Letowski with a backhanded cross-ice pass, which Letowski put five-hole past Hedberg for a 1-0 Carolina lead 4:04 into the contest.
About three minutes later, Samsonov was controlling the puck around the right circle, and when the Thrashers defense gave him room, he blasted a shot top- shelf by Hedberg for the two-goal advantage.
With 6:27 left in the opening period, Staal stole the puck, skated in and fired a shot. The blast, which would become his 35th tally of the season, put the 'Canes on top 3-0.
"We were disrespectful to our hardest working player," Atlanta center Bobby Holik said. "To leave him in there like that and to get peppered by great scoring opportunities, I have nothing left to say."
Ward stopped each of the 10 shots he faced in the first period.
"Ward played huge in the first, we ended being up three goals, but the results could have been drastically different," Staal said.
With a slew of Atlanta defenders around him on the right side of the goal, Recchi's pass eventually found Little, stationed in front of the net, who slipped the disc past Hedberg to put the Thrashers on the board, 3-1, 1:56 into the second.
Jensen beat Hedberg low not two minutes later for his first NHL goal, though McCarthy answered by slipping his first goal of the season under Ward's pads 1:21 later. The Hurricanes' lead stood at 4-2 after 40 minutes of hockey.
The Hurricanes are 13-3-2 over their last 18 games...Wednesday marks the first of two straight on the road for Carolina, which is 18-18-2 as the visitors this year, but has won four of its last five away from Raleigh...Carolina is 5-1-1 against the Thrashers this season and has won all four encounters at Philips Arena.
03/19 22:16:03 ET