for this game

Kovalchuk powers surging Thrashers past Capitals

Nov 22, 2007 - 4:20 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) - League-leading goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk had two goals and two assists to lead the Atlanta Thrashers to a 5-1 victory over the hapless Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

Defenseman Tobias Enstrom had three assists for the Thrashers, who have won four in a row and nine of their last 11 games to moved above the .500 mark for the first time this season.

The Thrashers are 11-4-0 since coach Don Waddell took the helm on October 17. The Capitals, who have the worst record in the NHL, dropped to 6-14-1.

Kovalchuk's second goal of the game gave Atlanta a 4-1 lead at 7:06 of the third period. Kovalchuk then assisted on Eric Perrin's fifth goal of the season to make it 5-1 with 11:12 remaining. Pascal Dupuis also assisted on the play.

"He's scored big goals for us all year," Waddell said of Kovalchuk, who tallied his 18th and 19th goals of the season. "He feeds on scoring goals, but more importantly, he has a great passion right now for winning hockey games and the other players are feeding off that."

Niclas Havelid scored off a beautiful cross-ice feed from Kovalchuk to give Atlanta a 3-1 lead with 32 seconds remaining in the second period. Enstrom and Marian Hossa also assisted on the play that drew the glare of Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig, who made 20 saves, but allowed all five goals and dropped to 5-10-0.

"You just have to figure out what's happening, and we did that soon enough, and now we're back on a winning track, which is great," Hossa said of the Thrashers' turnaround since losing their first six games of the season. "Right now, everybody has the confidence and right now we just keep rolling."

The Thrashers are 7-1-0 in their last eight games against divisional opponents.

"When you're playing in your division, it's like four-point games because the points you get, they can't get," Waddell said. "We stressed that going into this eight-game segment - and we won seven of them, so we're very pleased with that."

Hossa's second assist of the game and his 10th of the season came on Bobby Holik's goal at 16:05 of the second period. Enstrom, who has 11 assists this season, also set up the play.

"Our guys score goals in bunches," Waddell said. "It was huge for us." Washington's Alex Ovechkin deked former Capitals defenseman Ken Klee then launched a slap shot from beyond the left circle and scored a power-play goal to give his team a 1-0 lead at 2:27 of the second period. Brian Pothier and Viktor Kozlov assisted on Ovechkin's team-leading 14th goal of the season.

That was the only goal allowed by veteran journeyman Johan Hedberg, who made 31 saves.

Kovalchuk's league-leading 19th goal pulled the Thrashers into a 1-1 tie at 6:55 of the second period. Havelid and Enstrom assisted on the power-play goal.

Capitals defenseman Mike Green made a clutch save on a Todd White's scoring opportunity from point-blank range in front of an open net midway through the second period. Green then shoved White to the ice, but there was no call on the play.

The Capitals outshot the Thrashers, 9-4, in a sloppily played first period.

"We had a good first period and we got behind and that's what happens when you're having trouble scoring, you get behind a couple," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "Sports is really tough when these situations happen. We've been looking for something. ... It's harder on the players than it is on the coaching staff."

"We can only go up from here," Capitals captain Chris Clark concluded.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 3 2 5
    WASHINGTON 0 1 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 14 (BRIAN POTHIER, VIKTOR
    KOZLOV) 2:27
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 18 (NICLAS HAVELID, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    6:55
    ATL - (PP) BOBBY HOLIK 2 (MARIAN HOSSA, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    16:05
    ATL - N

    Nov 21 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 5
    WASHINGTON 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - ERIC PERRIN 5 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, PASCAL DUPUIS) 9:48

    Thrashers vs. CapitalsNov 21 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 4
    WASHINGTON 1
    3RD PRD: ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 19 (ERIC PERRIN, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    7:06

    Thrashers vs. CapitalsNov 21 9:04 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 3 3
    WASHINGTON 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 14 (BRIAN POTHIER, VIKTOR
    KOZLOV) 2:27
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 18 (NICLAS HAVELID, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    6:55
    ATL - (PP) BOBBY HOLIK 2 (MARIAN HOSSA, TOBIAS ENSTROM)


    Nov 21 8:34 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 3
    WASHINGTON 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - NICLAS HAVELID 1 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, MARIAN HOSSA) 19:28

    Thrashers vs. CapitalsNov 21 8:34 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    WASHINGTON 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) BOBBY HOLIK 2 (MARIAN HOSSA, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 16:05

    Thrashers vs. CapitalsNov 21 8:29 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    WASHINGTON 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 18 (NICLAS HAVELID, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 6:55

    Thrashers vs. CapitalsNov 21 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 14 (BRIAN POTHIER, VIKTOR
    KOZLOV) 2:27

    Thrashers vs. CapitalsNov 21 8:04 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0
    WASHINGTON 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 4 4
    WAS 9 9
    GOALIES: ATL - JOHAN HEDBERG
    WAS - OLAF KOLZIG

    Nov 21 7:41 PM