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Kovalchuk, Hossa guide Thrashers past Panthers

Nov 10, 2007 - 4:42 AM
SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- After a horrific start, the Atlanta Thrashers slowly are returning to form.

Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist apiece to propel the defending Southeast Division champion Thrashers to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday.

After starting the season with six straight losses which resulted in Bob Hartley being relieved of his coaching duties, Atlanta now has won three in a row and seven of its last 10 with general manager Don Waddell at the helm.

"The guys are doing a tremendous job, I can't say enough about the players," Waddell said. "The goaltender (Ondrej Pavelec) has been really good. Every night, he's giving us a chance to win. ... We're battling to get out of the hole we're in."

With the Thrashers nursing a one-goal lead in the third period, Kovalchuk got on the scoresheet with 11 1/2 minutes remaining in the session.

The Russian star, who left Atlanta's previous game on Tuesday with back spasms, accepted a feed from Hossa in the slot and wristed the puck past goaltender Tomas Vokoun to give the Thrashers a 3-1 edge.

"He scored a great goal," Waddell said. "It was a great feed from Hossa. ... Once Ilya gets it in the slot, he doesn't make too many mistakes."

"We need (Kovalchuk) to score for us to win games," Atlanta captain Bobby Holik added.

Hossa capped the scoring with just over five minutes to go, gathering the rebound of Kovalchuk's shot at the side of the net and beating Vokoun to provide a three-goal cushion.

"We play for each other right now, that's the key (behind the turnaround)," Kovalchuk said. "And our goaltending, it gives a chance every night. We played a helluva third period."

Vyacheslav Kozlov opened the scoring just as the second period was coming to a close.

Holik skated toward the net, but his path was blocked by Mike Van Ryn. While taking out Holik, Florida's defenseman inadvertently did the same to Vokoun.

Kozlov, who was trailing the play, deposited the puck into the vacant net to give the Thrashers a 1-0 lead with 15.4 seconds left in the session.

Florida answered 18 seconds into the third period.

Captain Olli Jokinen, who had the puck behind the net, backhanded a pass to Nathan Horton in the high slot for a wrister that beat Pavelec to level the game at 1-1.

Chris Thorburn's first goal of the season at 3:21 of the third gave the Thrashers the lead for good.

"For us to get a goal and chip in for the team, it's nice to do every so often," Thorburn said of Atlanta's fourth line. "We're just trying to create opportunities, and if we get them, bury them."

After defenseman Mark Popovic blasted the puck from just inside the blue line, Jim Slater chipped the rebound to Thorburn, who was alone on the doorstep. Thorburn sent the puck into an open net to give Atlanta a 2-1 advantage.

Pavelec, making just his fifth NHL appearance, was sensational in the second period, stopping Jokinen from close range with just over five minutes left in the session. Minutes later, he denied Radek Dvorak with a glove save of a shot from the slot.

"(The Panthers) got lots of shots, and I was ready for that," Pavelec said. "I got a little bit lucky, the defense did a good job. For sure (I'm doing better than I thought I would) ... I'm surprised."

Pavelec made another nice glove save on Jokinen from the left faceoff circle to keep the game scoreless.

"I just hoped he shot for the glove side because I had opened the back side," Pavelec said. "He did, and it was a good save."

Jokinen agreed with Pavelec's assessment.

"I got the shot where I wanted to shoot," Jokinen said. "Sometimes it goes in, sometimes not. This guy is playing his first year in the National Hockey League and he only has a couple games under his belt. He played well, but every goalie in this league is capable of making those saves when there's no traffic and they see the puck."

Pavelec finished with 36 saves, while Vokoun stopped 23 shots.

"We're in a big hole now," Vokoun said. "There's no question about that. We have some tough games coming up and we need to be better."






  • 10
    roots
    storm7 Added 5 roots

    Thrashers vs. PanthersNov 9 10:55 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 1 3 4
    FLORIDA 0 0 1 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 6 (BOBBY HOLIK, ERIC PERRIN) 19:44
    3RD PRD: FLA - NATHAN HORTON 6 (OLLI JOKINEN) 0:18
    ATL - CHRIS THORBURN 1 (JIM SLATER, MARK POPOVIC) 3:21
    ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 14 (MARIAN H

    Nov 9 9:58 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 4
    FLORIDA 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - (PP) MARIAN HOSSA 4 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    14:44

    Thrashers vs. PanthersNov 9 9:50 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 3
    FLORIDA 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 14 (MARIAN HOSSA, BOBBY HOLIK) 8:30

    Thrashers vs. PanthersNov 9 9:37 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    FLORIDA 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - CHRIS THORBURN 1 (MARK POPOVIC) 3:22

    Thrashers vs. PanthersNov 9 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    FLORIDA 1
    3RD PRD: FLA - NATHAN HORTON 6 (OLLI JOKINEN) 0:18

    Thrashers vs. PanthersNov 9 9:23 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 1 1
    FLORIDA 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 6 (BOBBY HOLIK, ERIC PERRIN) 19:44
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 8 9 17
    FLA 10 14 24
    GOALIES: ATL -

    Nov 9 9:04 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    FLORIDA 0
    2ND PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 6 (BOBBY HOLIK, ERIC PERRIN) 19:44

    Thrashers vs. PanthersNov 9 9:03 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0
    FLORIDA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 8 8
    FLA 10 10
    GOALIES: ATL - ONDREJ PAVELEC
    FLA - TOMAS VOKOUN

    Nov 9 8:10 PM
  • 5
    roots
    srinaldi Added 5 roots

    Thrashers vs. PanthersNov 9 10:08 AM