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Kovalchuk records hat trick as Thrashers top Bruins

Nov 7, 2006 - 2:55 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Ilya Kovalchuk and the Atlanta Thrashers made the Boston Bruins pay for their mistakes.

Kovalchuk scored three power-play goals and added an assist and Marian Hossa netted his league-leading 13th tally, as the Thrashers won their third straight game, a 5-3 victory over the Bruins.

Off to the best 17-game start in franchise history (11-3-3), the Thrashers won their fourth straight game over Boston with four power-play goals against a squad which entered tied for 28th in penalty killing.

"It's a long season and we've only played 17 games," Kovalchuk said. "But it's always good when any team is playing this well and we got our points."

Kovalchuk, who scored 52 goals last season, recorded his second hat trick of the campaign to tie Brendan Shanahan of the New York Rangers for second place in goals (12), one behind Hossa.

"We started shooting the puck and we started to get some goals," Kovalchuk said. "The whole unit is playing really well, and I think we were moving the puck really well tonight."

"Ilya is a great scorer," Atlanta netminer Johan Hedberg said. "I have played against him and I know what it feels like. He gets down there and winds up for a one-timer like he did tonight. There (are) not too many goalies in the world that are going to stop him."

After Atlanta jumped to a 1-0 lead on Vyacheslav Kozlov's power-play tally at 2:59 of the opening period, Kovalchuk netted his first of the game nearly five minutes later on a one-timer off defensemen Steve McCarthy's cross-ice feed.

Patrice Bergeron halved the deficit for the Bruins in the second period before Kovalchuk struck again at 6:20 of the third with a blast from the right point that found the top-left corner past goaltender Tim Thomas for a 3-1 lead.

"We have a lot of skill guys on the power play and I think sometimes, we try too much," Kovalchuk said. "We just have to take the puck to the net and look for rebounds."

Just 51 seconds later, Hossa made a nifty move past blueliner Andrew Alberts, skated in and slid the puck past Thomas' right pad to move past Shanahan for the league lead in goals.

Hossa also had a goal disallowed midway through the second period when video replay showed he used his glove to bat the puck off Thomas' back into the net.

Kovalchuk completed his sixth career hat trick with 10:07 left with a one-timer from the right faceoff circle that got between Thomas' pads.

"Two of Kovalchuk's went off our guys' sticks," Thomas said. "They would have been just shots into my stomach that ended up going high blocker. But he does that so consistently."

Kozlov collected three assists and Hedberg made 24 saves for his third win in as many decisions for the Thrashers.

"Every game, (Kozlov) is the same," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "He is unbelievably smart with the puck. He knows how to make so many great plays."

Bergeron and Brad Boyes scored in the final 1:08 and Thomas stopped 34 shots and fell to 2-3-2 for Boston, which has dropped five of six road games this season.

"They have a good power play and we had to come up with some big penalty kills," Thomas said. "We came up with a couple of them in the second period, but we weren't able to shut them down in the first and third."

"We were guilty of reaching," Bruins coach Dave Lewis said. "We were guilty of being passive rather than aggressive. If you're going to be passive, you're going to get penalties (and) you're going to get burnt. I want our guys to be aggressive."

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