for this game

Avery, Shanahan send Rangers home with 2-0 series lead

Apr 15, 2007 - 12:39 AM
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Sean Avery is proving he is much more than just an agitator.

Avery scored his first career playoff goal and set up Brendan Shanahan's winning tally late in the third period as the New York Rangers posted a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers to take a two-games-to-none lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Defenseman Fedor Tyutin recorded two assists and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves for the Rangers, who host Game Three on Tuesday.

"You win two games on the road, I don't care what organization it is, it's big," Avery said. "I have goose bumps just thinking about how loud our building is going to be."

"Until you win four games, you haven't accomplished anything," Shanahan added. "We came here (to Atlanta) to do a job, and we did it."

Considered one of the most annoying and vocal players in the NHL, Avery let his play do the talking in this one. The rugged 27-year-old scored a fluke goal just over eight minutes into the game to give New York the lead, then assisted on Shanahan's 54th career postseason tally with 4:01 to go in the third to snap a tie.

"I kind of take it upon myself to get Shanny the puck," Avery said. "If he's not scoring, it's kind of on my shoulders. When you get it to him, he usually scores."

The impressive performance came in just the second career playoff game for Avery, who was acquired from Los Angeles on February 5.

"Sean was terrific," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "Pound for pound, I don't know if there's anybody tougher and a more engaging player in the game than him. ... I think guys are now getting an appreciation for how good of a hockey player he is."

Ilya Kovalchuk scored the lone goal and backup Johan Hedberg made a playoff career-high 37 saves in place of Kari Lehtonen for Atlanta, which was outshot, 39-28. Lehtonen stopped 34 shots in the Thrashers' 4-3 loss in the opener but was relegated to watch Game Two from the bench.

"He has experience, he's very poised, he's very strong mentally," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said of Hedberg. "Those are three very important qualities for a goalie."

"(He was) phenomenal," Thrashers defenseman Andy Sutton added. "He's always well prepared. We couldn't ask for anything more from him."

Seeking their first series win since defeating New Jersey in the 1997 conference semifinals, New York got on the board first with a fortunate bounce. From the neutral zone, Avery attempted to dump in the puck along the left wing boards.

Hedberg left his crease in order to play it behind the net, but the puck took an odd bounce and slid directly in at 8:08 of the first, giving the Rangers a 1-0 advantage.

"The puck hit the partition and went into the net," Hedberg said. "I've never seen a puck go like that. It came flying. The glass has been good all year (here). ... It kind of surprised me. It happened to bounce their way. Hopefully, we have some lively boards in New York."

"I had a guy finish a check on me, so I didn't even know (I scored)," Avery said. "I just saw Shanny hold his arms up."

Renney was pleased with his team's fortunate luck on the play.

"It was a really tough break for those guys, but that's why you try to get pucks deep, that's why you work rim plays," he said. "Those types of things are happening with the glass the way it is to protect the athletes. It's a tough break, but we'll take it."

"Luck is a very important part of playoff hockey," Hartley said. "You have to be good and lucky. We haven't gotten any breaks so far."

New York nearly doubled the lead late in the second, but rookie defenseman Daniel Girardi's shot with 1:57 remaining rang off the goalpost.

After having their first 22 shots turned aside by Lundqvist, the Thrashers broke through at 5:35 of the third. Following a turnover behind the net, Keith Tkachuk dished the puck to Kovalchuk, who fired it past the Swedish netminder from the right faceoff dot for his first career postseason tally, knotting the game at 1-1.

"I never saw the puck," Lundqvist said. "It was a great play by them."

Hedberg, who led Pittsburgh to the conference finals in 2001, made a brilliant save on Avery during a breakaway chance with 12:45 to go. But he was unable to deny Shanahan later in the session as the 38-year-old received a pass from low in the right circle by Avery and beat the netminder from the left hash marks for the winner.

"I yelled for it, and you kind of hope it's coming over," Shanahan said. "Sean made a great pass on the play. ... We were looking to find each other. Sean and I were talking about it (before the game). One was bound to go in."

With his team making its first appearance in the playoffs since joining the NHL in 1999-2000, Hartley does not feel the Thrashers should hang their heads regarding their situation.

"We're doing a lot of great things," he said. "We have to go out there and play our game. Carolina started down 0-2 (in the conference quarterfinals last year) and won the Stanley Cup. We know where we are as a team and we don't like it, but they need four (wins) and we need four."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 1 0 1 2
    ATLANTA 0 0 1 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - SEAN AVERY 1 (MARTIN STRAKA, FEDOR TYUTIN) 8:08
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 1 (KEITH TKACHUK) 5:35
    NYR - BRENDAN SHANAHAN 1 (SEAN AVERY, FEDOR TYUTIN) 15:59
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: NYR

    Apr 14 5:55 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 2
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: NYR - BRENDAN SHANAHAN 1 (SEAN AVERY, FEDOR TYUTIN) 15:59

    Rangers vs. ThrashersApr 14 5:44 PM
  • 11
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    RUWTbot Took away 44 roots

    Rangers vs. ThrashersApr 14 5:44 PM
  • 55
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 40 roots

    Rangers vs. ThrashersApr 14 5:38 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Rangers vs. ThrashersApr 14 5:36 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 1
    ATLANTA 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 1 (KEITH TKACHUK) 5:35

    Rangers vs. ThrashersApr 14 5:18 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 1 0 1
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - SEAN AVERY 1 (MARTIN STRAKA, FEDOR TYUTIN) 8:08
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 10 14 24
    ATL 8 8 16
    GOALIES:

    Apr 14 4:51 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 1 1
    ATLANTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - SEAN AVERY 1 (MARTIN STRAKA, FEDOR TYUTIN) 8:08
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 9 9
    ATL 8 8
    GOALIES: NYR - HENRIK L

    Apr 14 3:55 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: NYR - SEAN AVERY 1 (MARTIN STRAKA, FEDOR TYUTIN) 8:08

    Rangers vs. ThrashersApr 14 3:33 PM