Canadiens
Thrashers
2 - 3 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Lehtonen dazzles as Thrashers tip Canadiens

Dec 23, 2007 - 4:06 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Editor

ATLANTA (Ticker) - Kari Lehtonen continues to shine for the Atlanta Thrashers.

Lehtonen made 37 saves and stopped both attempts in the shootout to notch his third consecutive win lead the Thrashers to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Vyacheslav Kozlov and Eric Perrin score goals and Mark Recchi notched his sixth point in as many games for the Thrashers (17-17-1), who inched back to the .500 mark for the first time since December 8.

"We knew this was a big game," Perrin said. "We had a tough stretch, but we have come back to win big games. This shows the character of our team."

Marian Hossa and Kozlov each scored in the bonus format to give Atlanta its third consecutive victory.

Cristobal Huet set aside 25 shots for Montreal, which had a three-game road winning streak snapped.

"We got six points in three games, so obviously, we're extremely pleased with that," Thrashers coach Don Waddell said. "We've battled hard this week."

The winning streak couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the Thrashers, who started the season by dropping their first six games. The club, which will spend most of the next month in Atlanta, is in the midst of playing 10 of 14 games at home.

"With the 0-6 start, there's never going to be an opportunity where we can breathe a little easier," Thrashers center BobbyHolik said. "We put ourselves in that situation. There's no time to relax."

Hossa scored on the initial attempt in the shootout and that was more than Lehtonen needed.

The 24-year-old Finn was once again brilliant, stopping the surging Canadiens 11 times in the final period and three in overtime.

"I think Lehtonen played a strong game," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "He was the one who saved the game for them."

In the bonus format, Lehtonen made a poke-check to stymie Saku Koivu and ended the game by swallowing up Sergei Kostitsyn's bid to extend the game.

"I had faced Saku in Europe," Lehtonen said. "I thought he was going to go the other way. I tried to poke the puck and missed. It was luck I guess."

Atlanta has excelled in the shootout format this season, notching two points in all but one of its five opportunities, including a 3-2 shootout victory over the Canadiens earlier this season.

"I really don't know (why we've been so successful)," Lehtonen said. "I think we have very good guys in the shootout. That maybe helps."

In contrast, Montreal has struggled in that bonus format, winning just twice in six tries.

"The shootout can go either way," Canadiens defenseman Michael Komisarek said. "I think if we get a bounce here or there or get hungrier around the net, it's a different story."

Thanks in part to their goaltender's solid play, the Thrashers cooled off the Canadiens, who had won four of five overall.

The Thrashers, who matched a franchise record by sniping 45 shots on Thursday, were much more efficient in this one.

Atlanta, which needed 27 shots to finally find the net against the Ottawa Senators, required just two opportunities to score in this one.

The Thrashers took a 1-0 lead when Kozlov's knuckling wrister through traffic from just above the left faceoff circle found the open upper left hand corner of the net at 4:31 of the first period.

Montreal tied the contest at 12:16 when Kostitsyn banged in Koivu's rebound past Lehtonen. It was the second goal of the season for Kostitsyn, who was recalled from Hamilton of the American Hockey League on December 12.

Atlanta broke tie after Maxim Lapierre drew Montreal's first penalty of the contest, a hooking call at 18:05 of the middle session.

The Thrashers took advantage of the power-play opportunity 48 seconds later. Hossa feigned a shot from just below the right faceoff circle before finding Perrin with a cross-crease pass.

The 32-year-old center rifled the puck over an out-of-position Huet to put Atlanta ahead, 2-1.

"I couldn't see the puck because the defenseman was in the way," Perrin said. "I left my stick on the ice and the pass was on it. It was a perfect pass."

Montreal squared the contest at 2-2 when Alex Kovalev's blistering slap shot from the left faceoff circle beat Lehtonen to the netminder's glove side with 11:40 remaining in the third.

Kovalev's team-leading 15th tally came one second after the expiration of Ilya Kovalchuk's hooking penalty.

Lehtonen, who was not pleased with giving up the tally, stared at and adjusted his glove after the goal.

"I was mad about the one weak goal," Lehtonen said. "But we got the win."

Hossa tallied two assists to record his 12th multi-point game of the year for the Thrashers, who improved to 10-1-0 when holding the advantage after two periods.








  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 0 1 0 (0) 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 0 0 (2) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 10 (ERIC PERRIN, MARIAN HOSSA) 4:31
    MON - SERGEI KOSTITSYN 1 (SAKU KOIVU, MIKE KOMISAREK) 12:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARIAN HOSSA, MA

    Dec 22 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 0 1 0 (0) 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 0 0 (2) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 10 (ERIC PERRIN, MARIAN HOSSA) 4:31
    MON - SERGEI KOSTITSYN 1 (SAKU KOIVU, MIKE KOMISAREK) 12:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARIAN HOSSA, MA

    Canadiens vs. ThrashersDec 22 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    END OF OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 0 1 0 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 0 0 2 END OF OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 10 (ERIC PERRIN, MARIAN HOSSA) 4:31
    MON - SERGEI KOSTITSYN 1 (SAKU KOIVU, MIKE KOMISAREK) 12:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARIAN HOSSA, MARK RECC

    Dec 22 9:35 PM
  • 144
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Overtime)

    Canadiens vs. ThrashersDec 22 9:31 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 0 1 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 0 2 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 10 (ERIC PERRIN, MARIAN HOSSA) 4:31
    MON - SERGEI KOSTITSYN 1 (SAKU KOIVU, MIKE KOMISAREK) 12:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARIAN HOSSA, MARK RECCHI) 18:53
    3RD PRD: MON -

    Dec 22 9:26 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 57 roots (Close Finish)

    Canadiens vs. ThrashersDec 22 9:23 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Canadiens vs. ThrashersDec 22 9:16 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    ATLANTA 2
    3RD PRD: MON - ALEXEI KOVALEV 15 (ROMAN HAMRLIK, ANDREI KOSTITSYN)
    8:20

    Canadiens vs. ThrashersDec 22 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 0 1
    ATLANTA 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 10 (ERIC PERRIN, MARIAN HOSSA) 4:31
    MON - SERGEI KOSTITSYN 1 (SAKU KOIVU, MIKE KOMISAREK) 12:16
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARIAN HOSSA, MARK RECCHI) 18:53
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Dec 22 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    ATLANTA 2
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) ERIC PERRIN 7 (MARIAN HOSSA, MARK RECCHI) 18:53

    Canadiens vs. ThrashersDec 22 8:35 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 1
    ATLANTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 10 (ERIC PERRIN, MARIAN HOSSA) 4:31
    MON - SERGEI KOSTITSYN 1 (SAKU KOIVU, MIKE KOMISAREK) 12:16
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MON 11

    Dec 22 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: MON - SERGEI KOSTITSYN 1 (SAKU KOIVU, MIKE KOMISAREK) 12:16

    Canadiens vs. ThrashersDec 22 7:32 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 0
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 10 (ERIC PERRIN, MARIAN HOSSA) 4:31

    Canadiens vs. ThrashersDec 22 7:18 PM