for this game

Williams ties career high in goals in Hurricanes' win

Feb 25, 2007 - 5:27 AM
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Justin Williams knows every goal matters in a tight Southeast Division race.

Williams scored twice and captain Rod Brind'Amour collected a pair of assists as the Carolina Hurricanes posted their fourth win in six games, a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Registering his fifth multi-goal game of the season, Williams helped the defending Stanley Cup champions move within two points of the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning (73) and one of Atlanta in the Southeast.

Williams opened the scoring with 4:53 left in the first period, when he reached the 30-goal mark for the second time by knocking his third attempt over goaltender Kari Lehtonen's right pad.

"It was nice to score my 30th goal," Williams said. "I was stuck on 29 for a while. We don't need to look at personal stats, though. As a team, we're in seventh place (in the Eastern Conference). It's going to be a grind down the stretch."

Carolina doubled the margin just 2:40 later as defenseman Mike Commodore scored his fifth tally of the campaign by shooting Brind'Amour's cross-crease feed past Lehtonen's glove.

After defenseman Garnet Exelby halved the deficit for Atlanta with a shorthanded goal at 8:06 of the third period, Williams tied his career high with his 31st tally, firing the puck inside the right goalpost with 6:35 to play.

Ray Whitney netted his 27th goal and John Grahame made 28 saves in raising his record to 7-9-1 for Carolina.

"We wanted to make sure we came in and got the two points tonight," Grahame said. "It was very important to get out to a two-goal lead. It's very nice to have a cushion when you play a skilled team like Atlanta."

"It was big to score that third goal after giving up the shorthanded one," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "(Grahame) played very strong, especially in the first 10 minutes. That's when he made his best saves of the game."

Lehtonen stopped 24 shots for the slumping Thrashers, who have dropped six of their last seven contests.

"We have some guys who are really struggling with the pressure," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "They're tight. They're not comfortable. We'll have to find a solution or medication to get them to play the game.

"You have to be ready to do the little details - blocking shots, chipping it deep, forechecking. But unfortunately, sometimes right now, guys are having a hard time with those details."

Struggling to reach the postseason for the first time in franchise history, the Thrashers fell to 10-20-10 all-time against the Hurricanes, including 4-10-6 here.

"We've got to work harder," Atlanta captain Scott Mellanby said. "We just didn't get that early. We didn't put enough pucks in deep behind their guys. We continued to turn the puck over. It cost us."

"I don't think the problem is the game," Hartley said. "It's the human side. It's a game, and there (is) going to be a winner and a loser, but if you prepare yourself accordingly, chances are you're going to come out on the right side. Over the past weeks, we've been having a hard time with this."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 2 0 2 4
    ATLANTA 0 0 1 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - JUSTIN WILLIAMS 30 (ERIC STAAL, JOHN GRAHAME) 15:07
    CAR - MIKE COMMODORE 5 (RAY WHITNEY, ROD BRIND'AMOUR) 17:47
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: ATL - (SH) GARNET EXELBY 2 (MARIAN HOSSA, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    8:06
    CAR - JUST

    Feb 24 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 4
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: CAR - (EN) RAY WHITNEY 27 (ROD BRIND'AMOUR) 19:52

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersFeb 24 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 3
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: CAR - JUSTIN WILLIAMS 31 (FRANTISEK KABERLE) 13:25

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersFeb 24 9:19 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 2
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - (SH) GARNET EXELBY 2 (MARIAN HOSSA, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    8:06

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersFeb 24 9:09 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 2 0 2
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - JUSTIN WILLIAMS 30 (ERIC STAAL, JOHN GRAHAME) 15:07
    CAR - MIKE COMMODORE 5 (RAY WHITNEY, ROD BRIND'AMOUR) 17:47
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAR 1

    Feb 24 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 2 2
    ATLANTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - JUSTIN WILLIAMS 30 (ERIC STAAL) 15:07
    CAR - MIKE COMMODORE 5 (RAY WHITNEY, ROD BRIND'AMOUR) 17:47
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAR 13 13
    ATL 9

    Feb 24 7:47 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 2
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: CAR - MIKE COMMODORE 5 (RAY WHITNEY, ROD BRIND'AMOUR) 17:47

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersFeb 24 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: CAR - JUSTIN WILLIAMS 30 (ERIC STAAL) 15:07

    Hurricanes vs. ThrashersFeb 24 7:39 PM