Thrashers
Maple Leafs
5 - 4 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Kovalchuk powers Thrashers past Maple Leafs

Oct 24, 2007 - 3:52 AM
TORONTO (Ticker) -- Ilya Kovalchuk certainly loves playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists and scored the winner in the third round of the shootout as the Atlanta Thrashers edged the Maple Leafs, 5-4, on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Russian has 19 points in 19 career games against Toronto.

After Johan Hedberg stopped Mats Sundin and Jason Blake in the second and third rounds of the shootout, respectively, Kovalchuk converted his chance to end the game.

"I never thought (about) what I was going to do before the shootout, I just saw open space," said Kovalchuk, who lifted the puck over goaltender Vesa Toskala's left arm.

Kovalchuk's heroics thwarted the Maple Leafs' late-game surge.

Alexei Ponikarovsky tied the contest at 4-4 with 9.7 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. After a feverish final moments, Sundin backhanded the puck toward the goal and Hedberg was unable to secure it under his glove. Ponikarovsky pushed it past the netminder to tie the game.

"That was our strategy, to get the puck at the net, and it worked," Ponikarovsky said.

Kovalchuk was sensational in the first period, helping the Thrashers build a 2-1 lead.

"He's taken charge of the hockey club," Atlanta coach Don Waddell said. "Tonight, it was evident from the first shift he was out there that he was going to be a force to be reckoned with."

After assisting on defenseman Tobias Enstrom's first career goal to tie the game at 1-1, the 2001 first overall pick gave the Thrashers a one-goal advantage with just 33 seconds remaining in the session.

Kovalchuk accepted a feed from Todd White and circled around the perimeter before blasting a shot past a screened Toskala just inside the right goalpost for his fifth goal of the season.

"(Kovalchuk) played well tonight," White said. "It was a lot of fun playing with him. Whenever he's skating, he's kind of scary coming with that speed."

Sundin had a goal and two assists to tie Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg for the league lead with 17 points.

The Toronto captain did not waste any time getting the jump on Atlanta.

After Hedberg misplayed the puck, Sundin accepted a feed from Blake, circled the net and beat the goalie to the far post 13 seconds into the contest to give the Maple Leafs an early 1-0 lead.

"I like playing with Jason Blake - his speed gives me a little more room," Sundin said. "I thought we had chemistry and had a lot of chances to score goals tonight."

The goal was Sundin's sixth of the season and third in two games.

"I thought we battled hard, and we'll take the point," Sundin said.

After Kovalchuk gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead, Hal Gill answered for Toronto just 72 seconds into the second period.

The former Boston Bruins defenseman took advantage of a turnover and blasted a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle which beat Hedberg to the short side to even the game at 2-2. The shorthanded goal was the first tally of the season for Gill.

Eric Perrin enabled the Thrashers to regain the lead, courtesy of his first goal of the season with just under seven minutes remaining in the second. Perrin blasted a shot from the left circle that went underneath the extended arm of defenseman Bryan McCabe and past Toskala for a 3-2 edge.

That lead also was short-lived, as Nik Antropov scored his seventh goal of the season just two minutes later.

Blake used his speed to create a chance against Hedberg, who pokechecked the puck away. Antropov, who was following the play, gathered the rebound and lifted it over Hedberg for a power-play goal.

White's tally with just under seven minutes remaining in the third snapped a 3-3 tie. It was the sixth time this season Toronto entered the third period either leading or tied and failed to come away with a win.

Hedberg and Toskala each stopped 32 shots.

"For us, every win is a huge step forward, so we've got to build on it," Hedberg said.








  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 2 1 1 0 (2) 5
    TORONTO 1 2 1 0 (1) 4 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 6 (JASON BLAKE) 0:13
    ATL - TOBIAS ENSTROM 1 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, ERIC PERRIN) 4:29
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 5 (TODD WHITE) 19:27
    2ND PRD: TOR - HAL GILL 1 (UNASS

    Oct 23 10:17 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 2 1 1 0 (2) 5
    TORONTO 1 2 1 0 (1) 4 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 6 (JASON BLAKE) 0:13
    ATL - TOBIAS ENSTROM 1 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, ERIC PERRIN) 4:29
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 5 (TODD WHITE) 19:27
    2ND PRD: TOR - HAL GILL 1 (UNASS

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 10:17 PM


  • NHL
    END OF OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 2 1 1 0 4
    TORONTO 1 2 1 0 4 END OF OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 6 (JASON BLAKE) 0:13
    ATL - TOBIAS ENSTROM 1 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, ERIC PERRIN) 4:29
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 5 (TODD WHITE) 19:27
    2ND PRD: TOR - HAL GILL 1 (UNASSISTED)

    Oct 23 10:10 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 67 roots (Overtime)

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 10:04 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 2 1 1 4
    TORONTO 1 2 1 4 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 6 (JASON BLAKE) 0:13
    ATL - TOBIAS ENSTROM 1 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, ERIC PERRIN) 4:29
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 5 (TODD WHITE) 19:27
    2ND PRD: TOR - HAL GILL 1 (UNASSISTED) 1:12
    ATL - (PP) ERIC PER

    Oct 23 10:03 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 4
    TORONTO 4
    3RD PRD: TOR - ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 3 (MATS SUNDIN, JASON BLAKE) 19:50
    (WITH EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 10:02 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 57 roots (Close Finish)

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 10:02 PM
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    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 9:58 PM
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    tehawkins Added 5 roots

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 9:51 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 4
    TORONTO 3
    3RD PRD: ATL - TODD WHITE 2 (ERIC PERRIN, ILYA KOVALCHUK) 13:02

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 9:50 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 2 1 3
    TORONTO 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 6 (JASON BLAKE) 0:13
    ATL - TOBIAS ENSTROM 1 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, ERIC PERRIN) 4:29
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 5 (TODD WHITE) 19:27
    2ND PRD: TOR - HAL GILL 1 (UNASSISTED) 1:12
    ATL - ERIC PERRIN 1 (

    Oct 23 9:10 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 3
    TORONTO 3
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) NIK ANTROPOV 7 (JASON BLAKE, MATS SUNDIN) 16:19

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 3
    TORONTO 2
    2ND PRD: ATL - ERIC PERRIN 1 (DARREN HAYDAR, BRETT STERLING) 14:12

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 8:57 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    TORONTO 2
    2ND PRD: TOR - HAL GILL 1 (UNASSISTED) 1:12

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 2 2
    TORONTO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 6 (JASON BLAKE) 0:13
    ATL - TOBIAS ENSTROM 1 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, ERIC PERRIN) 4:29
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 5 (TODD WHITE) 19:27
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    A

    Oct 23 8:14 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    TORONTO 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 5 (TODD WHITE) 19:27

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 8:13 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    TORONTO 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - TOBIAS ENSTROM 1 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, ERIC PERRIN) 4:29

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 7:47 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    TORONTO 1
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 6 (JASON BLAKE) 0:13

    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 7:39 PM
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    Thrashers vs. Maple LeafsOct 23 9:58 AM