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

Recchi burns old mates as Thrashers top Penguins

Jan 13, 2008 - 5:30 AM
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Mark Recchi now has the Pittsburgh Penguins regretting their decision to dump him.

Recchi scored the decisive goal in the fourth round of the shootout, giving the Atlanta Thrashers a 3-2 victory over the Penguins in his first encounter with his former club Saturday.

Recchi also picked up an assist in regulation and Ilya Kovalchuk netted his league-leading 37th goal for the Thrashers, who halted a brief two-game skid.

"You couldn't write a better script," Atlanta coach Don Waddell said. "To get in a shootout like that, and the goal he scored was a great goal. I thought about putting him in our top three, but I decided to save him for that fourth shot, and he came through."

After registering just two tallies and eight points in 19 games with Pittsburgh earlier this season, Recchi was placed on waivers before being sent to the minors. Atlanta claimed the 39-year-old off re-entry waivers on December 8 and have not not been sorry.

"I wanted to get that opportunity to get the chance to win," Recchi said. "They questioned my ability to play. I wanted to go out and do well. For 19 years, I've been doing it. I'm thankful that Don Waddell and the Thrashers gave me the opportunity to show that I can still play."

A two-time Stanley Cup champion, Recchi entered Saturday having recorded seven goals and eight assists in his first 16 games with the Thrashers. In this one, he set up Kovalchuk's tally midway through the first period and sent the crowd home happy in the shootout.

After Pittsburgh's Ty Conklin and Atlanta's Kari Lehtonen denied all comers over the first three rounds of the bonus format, Recchi skated in and deked before lifting a backhander into the top right corner of the net, putting the Thrashers ahead.

"That's kind of my bread and butter," Recchi said. "I was pretty relaxed. I wanted to make sure I made the right move. I wanted to make (Conklin) stop before I made the move."

Lehtonen made the goal stand, denying 2007 Calder Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins' final chance.

Ironically, Pittsburgh's eight-game winning streak came to a screeching halt thanks to Recchi, a player they no longer wanted. And that suits the veteran just fine.

"It's nice (that I ended the streak," Recchi admitted. "I'm not going to lie to you - we needed the point more than they do now. Obviously, it feels good."

Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien, who was instrumental in Recchi's departure, was terse when asked whether the loss stung more considering it was the former Penguin that did in his team.

"Not at all," Therrien said. "It was a nice goal."

Penguins All-Star defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who is good friends with Recchi, was a little more diplomatic.

"When you step out there and play against him, he's not your friend anymore," Gonchar said. "When he's playing against you, you don't want to lose. But I'm happy for him that everything's going well (in Atlanta). At the same time, we lost the game."

Regardless, it was a fruitful road trip for Pittsburgh, which earned five of six possible points during the three-game trek.

"We're happy to pick up five points on the road trip, but we were in a position to pick up six," Therrien said. "So we were disappointed about losing one point tonight."

The contest between two of the NHL's elite young stars in Kovalchuk and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby lived up to its billing. The reigning Hart Trophy winner, Crosby netted both goals for Pittsburgh in the losing effort.

An All-Star starter for the second straight year, Crosby opened the scoring at 5:23 of the first period. Defenseman Ryan Whitney unleashed a shot from just above the right faceoff circle that was tipped by Malkin before being stopped by Lehtonen.

Standing at the left side of the crease, Crosby grabbed the rebound and backhanded it into the vacant net for his 19th goal of the season.

Kovalchuk knotted the contest just over four minutes later with a one-timer from the left point that beat Conklin to the stick side during a power play. But Crosby restored the Penguins' lead with his 20th tally just over five minutes into the second.

After deking a defender with a pirouette in the right circle, Crosby skated behind the net and out along the left wing boards before dishing to defenseman Kristopher Letang. As Crosby crept into the slot untouched, Letang made a pass that hit the skate of Colby Armstrong and came to the captain, who buried it at 5:06 for a 2-1 edge.

Atlanta captain Bobby Holik forged a tie early in the third, however, jabbing a rebound in the crease past Conklin at 1:40 for a man-advantage tally.

Kovalchuk and Crosby also crossed paths in the shootout, as both had their opportunities denied in the third round. Lehtonen, who knocked away Crosby's backhander with his glove, actually was glad to face the Penguins' superstar.

"Those are the matchups that it's nice to be a goaltender," Lehtonen said. "You can go in there and really make a difference."

Lehtonen made 29 saves, while Conklin turned aside 36 shots.






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  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 0 0 (0) 2
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 0 (1) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 19 (EVGENI MALKIN, RYAN WHITNEY) 5:23
    ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 37 (MARK RECCHI, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    9:31
    2ND PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 20 (COLBY ARMSTRONG

    Jan 12 9:48 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 0 0 (0) 2
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 0 (1) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 19 (EVGENI MALKIN, RYAN WHITNEY) 5:23
    ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 37 (MARK RECCHI, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    9:31
    2ND PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 20 (COLBY ARMSTRONG

    Penguins vs. ThrashersJan 12 9:48 PM


  • NHL
    END OF OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 0 0 2
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 0 2 END OF OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 19 (EVGENI MALKIN, RYAN WHITNEY) 5:23
    ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 37 (MARK RECCHI, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    9:31
    2ND PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 20 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, KRIST

    Jan 12 9:40 PM
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  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    ATLANTA 2
    3RD PRD: ATL - BOBBY HOLIK 8 (MARIAN HOSSA, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV) 1:40

    Penguins vs. ThrashersJan 12 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 2
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 19 (EVGENI MALKIN, RYAN WHITNEY) 5:23
    ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 37 (MARK RECCHI, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    9:31
    2ND PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 20 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, KRISTOPHER LETANG)
    5:08
    SHOTS

    Jan 12 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 20 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, KRISTOPHER LETANG)
    5:08

    Penguins vs. ThrashersJan 12 8:11 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1
    ATLANTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 19 (EVGENI MALKIN, RYAN WHITNEY) 5:23
    ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 37 (MARK RECCHI, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    9:31
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 10

    Jan 12 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 37 (MARK RECCHI, TOBIAS ENSTROM)
    9:31

    Penguins vs. ThrashersJan 12 7:28 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 19 (EVGENI MALKIN, COLBY ARMSTRONG) 5:23

    Penguins vs. ThrashersJan 12 7:21 PM
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