for this game

Avalanche bury red-hot Thrashers

Dec 11, 2010 - 4:50 AM
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Milan Hejduk scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, and the Colorado Avalanche held on for a 4-2 victory over the red-hot Atlanta Thrashers.

Tomas Fleischmann scored on the power-play while Greg Mauldin netted a short-handed goal for the Avs, who snapped a four-game slide and won for only the second time in their last eight games.

Craig Anderson made 24 saves, including a crucial pad stop on a Ben Eager backhand with about two minutes to play.

"It was an important win from us, no question," said Colorado head coach Joe Sacco. "We really were ready to start the game tonight. That was the one thing we talked about before the game, being ready to start."

Ondrej Pavelec allowed three goals on 28 shots for Atlanta, which had won two in a row and eight of nine.

In the first minute of the third period, Colorado was scrambling for control in the corner of its offensive zone. Fleischmann eventually got the puck behind the net and shoveled a pass out front for Hejduk, who quickly shot past Pavelec at the 42-second mark.

Atlanta put a lot of pressure on Anderson and the Avs' defense down the stretch, and had a couple great chances. Eager had the potential to tie the game after getting his stick on a bouncing dump pass in the slot. He didn't have complete control and managed to throw a backhander on net, but Anderson had his pads splayed out and denied the shot.

Paul Stastny secured the outcome with his empty-net score in the final minute, and the Thrashers' Anthony Stewart had a shot ring off the left post with 19.1 seconds to play.

"We weren't ready for the game," Pavelec said. "In the first two periods, we shot the puck and didn't play the net. We played a great third period, but it wasn't enough."

Niclas Bergfors gave Atlanta the lead 5:37 into the first period before Fleischmann evened the score in the second on a Colorado advantage. The winger and Matt Duchene took several shots before Fleischmann poked the goal in at 4:39.

A neutral-zone turnover later in the period allowed Colorado to move in front. Mauldin skated in on the left side of the ice, mirrored by Dustin Byfuglien, but managed to get the puck by the defenseman as he shifted to his forehand while cutting toward the slot. Mauldin then beat Pavelec to the far side at 11:01 to make it a 2-1 game.

However, Bryan Little's slap shot from the right circle about four minutes later tied the contest.

Game Notes

The teams each won once in the season series; Atlanta took an overtime victory in Denver back on November 30...The Thrashers start a three-game trip Saturday in Uniondale against the Islanders...The Avs improved to 1-1-2 on their five- game trip, which concludes Saturday in Washington.