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Power play helps Devils end slide vs. Thrashers

Jan 13, 2007 - 4:29 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Thrashers were on their way to another victory over the New Jersey Devils. Then penalty trouble gave Scott Gomez and Sergei Brylin the chance to end the trend.

Gomez and Brylin scored power-play goals 28 seconds apart midway through the third period, erasing a deficit and leading the Devils to a 2-1 triumph over the slumping Thrashers.

Entering with a six-game winning streak against New Jersey, Atlanta grabbed a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a tally by captain Scott Mellanby, who was activated from injured reserve earlier in the day.

The goal held up until defenseman Garnet Exelby and former Devil Bobby Holik took penalties 40 seconds apart halfway through the third. With a 5-on-3 advantage, Gomez tapped in a loose puck from the right side of the net at 11:07 to forge a tie.

"I think somebody shot from the blue line and I stopped it," Atlanta goaltender Kari Lehtonen said. "I stopped another rebound, then it went straight to (Gomez). He was able to put it over my pad. There's not much you can do if you save the first two shots and the third one goes in. It's hockey."

"I had a few whacks at it right before," said New Jersey's Brian Gionta, who had scored five goals in his previous three games. "(Lehtonen) made great saves. We just kept whacking away at it and it popped over to Gomez. It was nice to get that first one out of the way."

Holik questioned his hooking penalty, which he committed against Gomez, but admitted he was to blame.

"I guess it was hooking," Holik said. "Up to that point, we were killing penalties. I thought the penalty before that was questionable, and getting a penalty going two men down, it's unacceptable. You can't win hockey games like that."

"I was kind of shooting and he got me," Gomez said. "It wasn't touchy because Bobby didn't say anything. If it was a touchy call, he probably would have said something."

Still on the power play, New Jersey moved ahead when Brylin received a tip pass from rookie Travis Zajac in the slot and swept the puck past Lehtonen with 8:25 remaining for his 10th tally of the season.

"I dumped the puck in off the glass and it kind of bounced funny and it ended up on (Zach Parise's) stick," Brylin said. "Zach passed it across to Travis, and Travis kind of bumped that puck to me. I was by myself in front of the net. I just shot it and it went in."

It proved to be the difference as the Devils held on for their first win over the Thrashers since March 26, 2004.

"This is a team that definitely has our number," Gomez said. "We have a lot to gain from this. They're a team that's going to be around. It was a team effort, everyone did their job. We kind of got that monkey off our back with these guys."

Martin Brodeur stopped the final 20 shots he faced - including 14 in the third period - for New Jersey, which notched its Eastern Conference-leading 15th home victory and has won seven of its last nine games overall.

"You rely so much on your special teams, and as of late, we haven't had a lot of power plays," Brodeur said. "We took advantage of them and it was good."

Lehtonen made 31 saves for the Thrashers, who have lost five in a row.

"It's pretty embarrassing what's been happening to us," Lehtonen said.

After missing 10 games with a shoulder injury, Mellanby made his presence felt late in the first period. Just as Erik Rasmussen's holding-the-stick penalty expired, Ilya Kovalchuk fired a wrist shot from the blue line that Mellanby tipped past Brodeur with 2:48 remaining for his eighth goal of the season and a 1-0 advantage.

"(Coach Bob Hartley) used me well," Mellanby said. "I felt good."

New Jersey, which entered with a league-leading 2.26 goals-against average, raised its record to 3-9-1 when trailing after two periods. Atlanta dropped to 16-2-4 when ahead after 40 minutes.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 0 1
    NEW JERSEY 0 0 2 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - SCOTT MELLANBY 8 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    17:12
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: NJD - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 7 (BRIAN GIONTA, BRIAN RAFALSKI)
    11:07
    NJD - (PP) SERGEI BRYLIN 10 (TRAVIS ZAJAC, ZACH PARISE)
    11:35
    PO

    Jan 12 10:00 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    NEW JERSEY 2
    3RD PRD: NJD - (PP) SERGEI BRYLIN 10 (ZACH PARISE, TRAVIS ZAJAC) 11:35

    Thrashers vs. DevilsJan 12 9:46 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    NEW JERSEY 1
    3RD PRD: NJD - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 7 (BRIAN GIONTA, BRIAN RAFALSKI) 11:07
    (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Thrashers vs. DevilsJan 12 9:45 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1
    NEW JERSEY 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - SCOTT MELLANBY 8 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    17:12
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 6 6 12
    NJD 8 11 19
    GOALIES:

    Jan 12 9:07 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1
    NEW JERSEY 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - SCOTT MELLANBY 8 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    17:12
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 6 6
    NJD 8 8
    GOALIES: ATL - KARI LE

    Jan 12 8:13 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    NEW JERSEY 0
    1ST PRD: ATL - SCOTT MELLANBY 8 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    17:12

    Thrashers vs. DevilsJan 12 8:10 PM