for this game

Kozlov, Hedberg extend Rangers' slide

Dec 8, 2007 - 5:41 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Thrashers finally are back over the .500 mark.

Vyacheslav Kozlov snapped a tie with just over five minutes left in the third period and Johan Hedberg turned aside 30 shots to lead the Thrashers to a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Friday.

Kozlov's slap shot from above the left faceoff circle sailed over the right shoulder of goaltender Stephen Valiquette with 5:17 remaining, giving Atlanta a 3-2 edge. It was the eighth goal of the season and second in 12 games for the veteran.

"They back off towards the net, so I waited to get a screen in front of the goal," said Kozlov, who also credited his goaltender for the victory. "Moose played solid hockey. He gave us a chance to win."

"(Kozlov) ripped it," said Valiquette, who was partially screened by teammate Michal Rozsival on the play. "I had good position and was focused. I just got beat."

Marian Hossa sealed the victory with an empty-netter for the Thrashers, who have won three of their last four games.

With the win, the Thrashers (14-13-1) finally inched above .500 for just the second time this season. Not bad, however, for a team that began the season by dropping its first six games before firing coach Bob Hartley.

"Obviously, you have to get over .500," said Atlanta's Jim Slater, who recorded two assists. "The goal is to keep moving and try to keep moving up. (The .500 mark) just a number. We have to keep putting wins on the board."

The triumph also was the second this season against the Rangers, who swept the Thrashers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last spring. Atlanta also defeated New York on October 18 for its first win of the campaign.

Atlanta got on the board 2:15 into the contest, when tough guy Eric Boulton came streaking down the right wing and deposited the rebound of Slater's shot past Valiquette for his second tally of the season.

But the lead was short-lived as Marcel Hossa scored on a snap shot from the right faceoff dot, putting the puck between the legs of Hedberg at 4:09 of the first period.

The Rangers took a 2-1 edge when the rebound from Petr Prucha's shot found the stick of Chris Drury, who blasted a shot past Hedberg from the low slot at 6:09 for the 200th goal of his career.

Atlanta tied it again at 5:58 of the middle session, when Kozlov made a cross-crease pass to former Ranger Pascal Dupuis, who deposited the puck into the open right side of the net for his fourth tally.

"For a guy that doesn't score much, it helps to score," Dupuis said. "Everyone has to chip in."

Thrashers interim coach Don Waddell credited the play of Kozlov for the victory.

"Kozlov showed experience and made a great play on the second goal with the pass across," Waddell said. "He made a smart play there, and to score the game-winner was a good play coming up the neutral zone. He waited and used the defenseman as a screen. We could see he had a great angle from the bench, and you could see he knew where he was shooting."

Hedberg made 13 saves in the first period, nine in the second and eight in the third en route to his team-leading ninth win of the season.

The Rangers entered Atlanta having dropped two straight games behind starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Coach Tom Renney chose to sit the struggling Swede, who was tied with San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov for the league lead with 14 victories but had allowed four goals in each of his last two starts.

Making just his fourth appearance of the season, the 30-year-old Valiquette played well, stopping 18 shots for the Rangers, who snapped a seven-game points streak on the road.

"He gave us a chance to win," Renney said. "That's all you can ask. We're not happy about the loss at all, naturally. But we played a game that was more in keeping with what we have been up to in the last month or so. The fact of the matter is, we lost."

The Rangers, who have dropped three straight and six of their last nine, have been held to two goals or fewer in all but two of those nine contests.

"That's one of our dilemmas right now, getting that third (goal)," Renney said. "At the same time, it is what it is. I give our guys a lot of credit for how hard they played. But we got beat by a pretty good shot."

"I thought we played a great first (period)," New York's Scott Gomez said. "We stuck to the game plan, we did everything, but it was not enough. We are getting more shots and playing good hockey, but we need more traffic in front of the net and to play harder."

New York appeared to record its third goal of the night 35 seconds into the second period, but the referees waved off the tally. Following video review, it was determined Brandon Dubinsky intentionally kicked the puck into the net with his skate.

Atlanta also had a goal disallowed with 9:54 remaining in the third period, when referee Francois St. Laurent whistled a stoppage of play before Marian Hossa put the puck in the net.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 2 0 0 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - ERIC BOULTON 2 (JIM SLATER, STEVE MCCARTHY) 2:15
    NYR - MARCEL HOSSA 1 (SCOTT GOMEZ, BRENDAN SHANAHAN) 4:09
    NYR - CHRIS DRURY 7 (PETR PRUCHA, MARC STAAL) 6:32
    2ND PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 4 (VYACHESLAV KOZLOV, JI

    Dec 7 10:09 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    ATLANTA 4
    3RD PRD: ATL - (EN) MARIAN HOSSA 12 (TODD WHITE) 19:54

    Rangers vs. ThrashersDec 7 10:08 PM
  • 5
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    RUWTbot Took away 15 roots

    Rangers vs. ThrashersDec 7 10:08 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    ATLANTA 3
    3RD PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 8 (BOBBY HOLIK, CHRIS THORBURN) 14:43

    Rangers vs. ThrashersDec 7 9:59 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Rangers vs. ThrashersDec 7 9:52 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 2 0 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - ERIC BOULTON 2 (JIM SLATER, STEVE MCCARTHY) 2:15
    NYR - MARCEL HOSSA 1 (SCOTT GOMEZ, BRENDAN SHANAHAN) 4:09
    NYR - CHRIS DRURY 7 (PETR PRUCHA, MARC STAAL) 6:32
    2ND PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 4 (VYACHESL

    Dec 7 9:11 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    ATLANTA 2
    2ND PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 4 (VYACHESLAV KOZLOV, JIM SLATER) 5:58

    Rangers vs. ThrashersDec 7 8:47 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 2 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - ERIC BOULTON 2 (JIM SLATER, STEVE MCCARTHY) 2:15
    NYR - MARCEL HOSSA 1 (SCOTT GOMEZ, BRENDAN SHANAHAN) 4:09
    NYR - CHRIS DRURY 7 (PETR PRUCHA, MARC STAAL) 6:32
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOT

    Dec 7 8:15 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - CHRIS DRURY 7 (PETR PRUCHA, MARC STAAL) 6:32

    Rangers vs. ThrashersDec 7 7:52 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 1
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - MARCEL HOSSA 1 (SCOTT GOMEZ, BRENDAN SHANAHAN) 4:09

    Rangers vs. ThrashersDec 7 7:48 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 0
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - ERIC BOULTON 2 (JIM SLATER, STEVE MCCARTHY) 2:15

    Rangers vs. ThrashersDec 7 7:44 PM
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    mrman226 Added 5 roots

    Rangers vs. ThrashersDec 7 7:40 PM