for this game

White, Kovalchuk lift Thrashers past Senators

Dec 21, 2007 - 3:55 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) - All it took to snap the Ottawa Senators' six-game winning streak was a franchise-best performance by the Atlanta Thrashers.

Todd White had the game-winning goal and Ilya Kovalchuk scored his league-leading 28th tally of the season to lead the Thrashers to a 3-2 win over the Senators on Thursday.

Eric Boulton added a tally and Kari Lehtonen made 28 saves for the Thrashers, who tied a franchise record with 45 shots on goal.

"I have to think it's one of our best 60-minute efforts," Thrashers interim coach Don Waddell said. "We did a lot of good things - we finished a lot of checks, we made it hard on them and we executed the game plan we had laid out for them."

With the game knotted at 2-2, defenseman Chris Phillips drew a high-sticking penalty at the end of the second period, giving Atlanta an extra man for the fourth time in the game.

The Thrashers, who have the 10th-worst power play in the league, finally capitalized.

Rookie defenseman Tobias Enstrom faked a shot from the blue line and instead found White, who beat an out-of-position Martin Gerber with a shot from the low slot 47 seconds into the final period for the eventual game-winning goal.

"(Enstrom) made a great play," White said. "I knew he had his head up and I knew he could slide it to me. The goalie had to play the pass and I was lucky enough to put it in the empty net."

It was the 16th assist of the season for Enstrom, who is tied for the team lead with a plus-6 rating.

"What a heads up pass by a first-year player," Waddell said. "You can't say enough good things about Tobias."

Atlanta dominated the first period in everything other than the score, thanks to a dominating performance by Gerber.

The normally shot-challenged Thrashers, who average 25.4 per game, tested goaltender Martin Gerber early, tying a franchise-record with 21 first-period shots.

The shots were three short of the franchise record, which was set in the second period of Atlanta's contest against the Washington Capitals on December 13, 2003.

In all, Gerber stopped 42 of 45 shots, but it was not enough to keep the Senators' win streak going.

"He made saves," Ottawa coach John Paddock said. "He did everything a goaltender was supposed to do."

"It wasn't a great effort for us," Senators center Chris Kelly said. "I think the score might have been a lot worse if not for Gerber. He kept us in the game."

Gerber was overshadowed by Lehtonen, who did most of his work stopping Ottawa's big three of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley from finding the net numerous times in the final period.

"This was a game that I needed to come up big at the end - when the game was on the line," Lehtonen said. "I feel great right now. We showed we can play great hockey."

"Lehtonen made some good saves," Heatley said. "We were desperate in the third period. We should have come out that way (at the start of the game)."

The victory was the second straight for the Thrashers, who are in the midst of playing all but four of 14 games on the Philips Arena ice.

"We had 10 of our next 14 at home," Waddell said. "We wanted to start out this way and we're 2-0. To win back-to-back games at home is a great start to the 10 of 14."

Spezza opened the scoring with a tally at 5:43 of the first period. Linemate Randy Robitaille rifled a cross-ice pass to a streaking Spezza, who found the upper corner of the net to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead.

Atlanta finally found the net on its 27th shot, when Chris Thorburn fed Boulton, who lofted a backhander over a sprawling Gerber for his third goal of the season at 7:14 of the second period.

Ottawa took a short-lived lead with three minutes remaining in the second period.

Alfredsson lofted a wrister from the high slot between Lehtonen's pads for his 20th goal of the season, extending his points streak to 10 games in the process.

Kovalchuk answered 46 seconds to tie the game at 2-2.

The Russian superstar deposited the rebound from Ken Klee's shot past Gerber into the open side of the net to knot the game at 2-2.

"We were fortunate," Waddell said. "A backhander in the crease - (Kovalchuk) doesn't score a lot of goals in the crease like that."

The 24-year-old Kovalchuk has been sensational against the entire league this season, but has been a particular thorn in the side of the Senators finding the net seven times in four games against the Eastern Conference leaders.

Mark Recchi added an assist for Atlanta, which improved to 3-0-0 when outshooting opponents this season.






  • 25
    roots
    Sensfan4eva Added 5 roots

    Senators 2, Thrashers 3  FinalMar 4 8:31 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 1 1 0 2
    ATLANTA 0 2 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: OTT - JASON SPEZZA 11 (RANDY ROBITAILLE) 5:43
    2ND PRD: ATL - ERIC BOULTON 3 (CHRIS THORBURN, JIM SLATER) 7:14
    OTT - DANIEL ALFREDSSON 20 (JASON SPEZZA, DANY HEATLEY)
    17:00
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 28 (KEN KLEE, BOBBY HOL

    Dec 20 9:32 PM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots (Close Finish)

    Senators vs. ThrashersDec 20 9:31 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 2
    ATLANTA 3
    3RD PRD: ATL - (PP) TODD WHITE 9 (TOBIAS ENSTROM, MARK RECCHI) 0:47

    Senators vs. ThrashersDec 20 8:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 1 1 2
    ATLANTA 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: OTT - JASON SPEZZA 11 (RANDY ROBITAILLE) 5:43
    2ND PRD: ATL - ERIC BOULTON 3 (CHRIS THORBURN, JIM SLATER) 7:14
    OTT - DANIEL ALFREDSSON 20 (JASON SPEZZA, DANY HEATLEY)
    17:00
    ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 28 (KEN KL

    Dec 20 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 2
    ATLANTA 2
    2ND PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 28 (KEN KLEE, BOBBY HOLIK) 17:46

    Senators vs. ThrashersDec 20 8:35 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 2
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: OTT - DANIEL ALFREDSSON 20 (JASON SPEZZA, DANY HEATLEY) 17:00

    Senators vs. ThrashersDec 20 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 1
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - ERIC BOULTON 3 (CHRIS THORBURN, JIM SLATER) 7:14

    Senators vs. ThrashersDec 20 8:13 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 1 1
    ATLANTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: OTT - JASON SPEZZA 11 (RANDY ROBITAILLE) 5:43
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTT 7 7
    ATL 22 22
    GOALIES: OTT - MARTIN GERBER
    ATL - KARI LE

    Dec 20 7:44 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: OTT - JASON SPEZZA 11 (RANDY ROBITAILLE) 5:43

    Senators vs. ThrashersDec 20 7:20 PM