for this game

Kozlov scores again as Thrashers top Penguins

Dec 28, 2006 - 7:11 AM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Vyacheslav Kozlov did his best to keep the Atlanta Thrashers on a positive roll and the Pittsburgh Penguins on a negative one.

Kozlov stretched his goal-scoring streak to four games and added an assist as the Thrashers posted their fifth straight win, a 4-2 triumph over the Penguins, who have dropped five in a row.

Overshadowed by stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa, Kozlov is on his way to his fourth 20-goal effort in as many seasons with the Thrashers. He moved closer Wednesday, netting his 15th just over seven minutes into the third period to snap a 3-3 tie.

Despite his recent success, Kozlov deflected the attention toward his high-profile teammates and the rest of the club.

"The forwards are playing well, the defensemen are playing well, the goalies are playing well," he said. "We're not making mistakes defensively, and that's the difference. You know with guys like (Hossa and Kovalchuk), they will score. So when we don't make mistakes (defensively), that makes us tough to beat."

A nine-time 20-goal scorer, Kozlov also helped set up defenseman Niclas Havelid's first tally of the season - a power-play goal - late in the middle session to stake Atlanta to a 2-1 lead.

"It was good to get a goal," Havelid said. "I have been struggling, especially on the power play."

Hossa registered three assists and Kari Lehtonen stopped 35 shots for the Thrashers, who have sandwiched five-game winning streaks around a five-game skid.

"Kari Lehtonen, once again, was a great story for us," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "Right now, Kari is seeing the benefits of the work he invested over the summer. ... He is a major reason why we are winning hockey games."

"Our goalie's playing great right now, giving us a chance to win every game," Kozlov said. "He's on the top of his game right now."

Blue-liner Ryan Whitney had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, which has lost nine of 13.

"You can't be happy with the effort when you're losing," Whitney said. "We've dug ourselves down again, so we need to get back up to where we were, continue to improve. You obviously don't want to go on a skid like this, but it happens, and we need to bounce back and take care of business."

"We're facing adversity as a team," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "It's rough, but there's nothing wrong with facing adversity. It's going to make us better."

With each of the first two meetings between the teams decided after regulation, the Penguins jumped to a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Erik Christensen late in the first period.

After Whitney's slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle was stopped by Lehtonen, the rebound bounced to Christensen, whose shot hit off the right goalpost and both of the goaltender's skates before crossing the goal line.

A pair of low-scoring defensemen came through in the middle session to give Atlanta a 2-1 advantage. Vitaly Vishnevski fired a wrist shot from the top of the slot that deflected off Christensen's stick and past netminder Marc-Andre Fleury at 8:18 for his third tally, and Havelid cashed in during a man advantage less than eight minutes later for a one-goal edge.

"Everyone in here right now is contributing," Lehtonen said. "Tonight, we got some goals from guys who don't usually score. It was great to see everyone get some chances, especially 5-on-5."

"Our second periods have been weak ones all year, and it was again tonight," said Pittsburgh's Mark Recchi, who had an assist.

Whitney tied it with a wrister from the top of the left circle during a man advantage just 57 seconds into the third, but Kozlov converted a 2-on-1 rush with a quick shot from a difficult angle at 7:04 to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead.

"That was a great pass (by Jon Sim) through two sticks," Kozlov said. "I was heading behind the goal line, so I didn't have a choice but to shoot it. I didn't have much time. But it was a great pass."

Bobby Holik capped the scoring with an empty-netter in the final minute.

"It's always a close game between both of us," Fleury said. "There's good offensive guys on both teams, and it's tough to come out on the losing side."

Rookie sensation Evgeni Malkin recorded an assist while super sophomore Sidney Crosby, who leads the league in scoring with 55 points, was kept off the scoresheet.

"I think our guys did a (heck) of a job on Malkin and Crosby," Hartley said. "We only gave them shots from the outside."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 2 2 4
    PITTSBURGH 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) ERIK CHRISTENSEN 6 (RYAN WHITNEY, MARK RECCHI)
    16:51
    2ND PRD: ATL - VITALY VISHNEVSKI 3 (MARIAN HOSSA) 8:18
    ATL - (PP) NICLAS HAVELID 1 (MARIAN HOSSA, VYACHESLAV
    KOZLOV) 16:10
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHI

    Dec 27 10:04 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 2 2 4
    PITTSBURGH 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) ERIK CHRISTENSEN 6 (RYAN WHITNEY, MARK RECCHI)
    16:51
    2ND PRD: ATL - VITALY VISHNEVSKI 3 (MARIAN HOSSA) 8:18
    ATL - (PP) NICLAS HAVELID 1 (MARIAN HOSSA, VYACHESLAV
    KOZLOV) 16:10
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHI

    Thrashers vs. PenguinsDec 27 10:04 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 3
    PITTSBURGH 2
    3RD PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 15 (JON SIM, JASON KROG) 7:04

    Thrashers vs. PenguinsDec 27 9:39 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    PITTSBURGH 2
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 5 (EVGENI MALKIN) 0:57

    Thrashers vs. PenguinsDec 27 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 2 2
    PITTSBURGH 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) ERIK CHRISTENSEN 6 (RYAN WHITNEY, MARK RECCHI)
    16:51
    2ND PRD: ATL - VITALY VISHNEVSKI 3 (MARIAN HOSSA) 8:18
    ATL - (PP) NICLAS HAVELID 1 (MARIAN HOSSA, VYACHESLAV
    KOZLOV) 16:10
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Dec 27 9:07 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    PITTSBURGH 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) NICLAS HAVELID 1 (MARIAN HOSSA, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    16:10

    Thrashers vs. PenguinsDec 27 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    PITTSBURGH 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - VITALY VISHNEVSKI 3 (MARIAN HOSSA) 8:18

    Thrashers vs. PenguinsDec 27 8:47 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) ERIK CHRISTENSEN 6 (NILS EKMAN, RYAN WHITNEY)
    16:51
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 9 9
    PIT 8 8
    GOALIES: ATL - KARI LEHT

    Dec 27 8:14 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) ERIK CHRISTENSEN 6 (NILS EKMAN, RYAN WHITNEY)
    16:51

    Thrashers vs. PenguinsDec 27 8:09 PM