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

Thrashers create crowd atop Southeast

Feb 14, 2008 - 4:26 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Kari Lehtonen helped propel the Thrashers into a tie atop of the Southeast Division standings.

Lehtonen turned aside 39 shots and Eric Perrin and Vyacheslav Kozlov scored in the shootout to lead the Thrashers to a 3-2 triumph over the Washington Capitals in a crucial divisional matchup on Wednesday.

Marian Hossa netted his 25th goal of the season and Perrin also scored in regulation for the Thrashers, who forged a tie with the Capitals and idle Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Southeast.

"It's a three-way tie," Perrin said. "It couldn't get any closer than that. That's when you know we can't waste away a point."

Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 48th goal and Viktor Kozlov also tallied for the Capitals, who lost for just the second time in six games.

"Right now, it's like playoff hockey," Ovechkin said. "The playoffs started right now for us. It was an important point for us, especially on the road."

Divisional play likely will decide the tightly grouped Southeast, which entered Wednesday featuring five teams separated by a total of six points.

The playoff picture did not get any clearer after this one. And quite fittingly, the contest came down to a shootout.

Perrin scored first in the bonus format, going to his forehand and then to his backhand before beating goaltender Olaf Kolzig with a wrist shot for his second career shootout goal.

"I've got no name (for the move)," said Perrin, who used an identical move that he mastered during his stint in the IHL to defeat the Buffalo Sabres on February 1. "You guys can come up with it. You go with your instincts. You go with it and you continue with it, and I went with it."

After Alexander Semin rifled his opportunity wide, Vyacheslav Kozlov beat Kolzig with a wrister to give Atlanta a 2-0 advantage.

Lehtonen then stopped Boyd Gordon's attempt to seal the win, improving Atlanta to 4-2-0 against Washington this season.

"Some nights it goes (your) way, and some nights it goes the other way," Lehtonen said. "I just try not to think about it too much. I'd rather just focus on what's ahead of us. There's going to be nights where I'm not as lucky. It was fun and I'm glad we got two points."

The Finnish netminder, who was brilliant throughout the night, also helped the Thrashers score a goal with a pretty pass in the final minute of the second period.

Lehtonen lofted a 110-foot pass from his own crease to Hossa, who was all alone a few feet above Washington's blue line. The 29-year-old All-Star streaked down the slot and deked once before burying the puck between the pads of Kolzig at 19:03 to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead.

"There was a half-second where we looked at each other, and he saw the line (for the pass)," Hossa said. "From my perspective, I only saw the open ice, but he decided to play the puck and he made a terrific pass to me. I was just hoping to finish the action."

The one-goal edge appeared safe until Ovechkin worked his magic in the final minutes of regulation.

The Russian superstar added to his league lead by blistering a wrister from the top of the left faceoff circle over the glove of Lehtonen, tying the contest with 81 seconds remaining.

"That might have been Alex's only close shot all night," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He didn't have great opportunities to score. But when you're a great player, you only need one chance to score."

The goal was Ovechkin's fifth in as many games and ninth in seven contests. It also was his 13th career tally against Lehtonen, his most vs. any goaltender.

"He had a couple of chances earlier but shot wide," Lehtonen said. "He's pretty dangerous, though, and you can't let him do that all night."

Viktor Kozlov got the Capitals on the board at 2:56 of the second period.

Ovechkin's slap shot from between the circles deflected off the broken stick of defenseman Ken Klee and right to Viktor Kozlov in front. The 32-year-old put it past Lehtonen to give the Capitals a 1-0 edge.

Atlanta forged a tie with 3:31 remaining in the period. Hossa found Perrin with a pass from behind the net, and the 32-year-old ripped a one-timer from the slot over the blocker of Kolzig to even the contest at 1-1.

The tally was one of redemption for Perrin, whose apparent goal earlier in the second was waved off after video review determined he kicked the puck into the net.

"I've been snakebitten the last couple of games," Perrin said. "Against Vancouver (on Thursday), I missed an open net. It felt good (to score), especially after the first one was disallowed."

The Capitals dominated the first period, outshooting the Thrashers by an 18-3 margin.

Lehtonen was up to the task, however, making a superb save on a shot by Gordon, who tried to get a wrister inside the right goalpost. But a sprawled Lehtonen swatted away the puck with his glove before it reached the goal line.

"It wasn't the start we were looking for, that's for sure," Thrashers coach Don Waddell said. "Kari made us look pretty good in the first period. We regrouped after the first and came out and played the best second period we've played in a long time."

Hossa and rookie defenseman Tobias Enstrom notched assists for Atlanta, which finished a stretch of six of seven at home at 5-2-0.








  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 1 1 0 (0) 2
    ATLANTA 0 2 0 0 (2) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN, NICKLAS BACKSTROM)
    2:56
    ATL - ERIC PERRIN 10 (MARIAN HOSSA, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 16:29
    ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 25 (KARI LEHTONE

    Feb 13 9:44 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 1 1 0 (0) 2
    ATLANTA 0 2 0 0 (2) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN, NICKLAS BACKSTROM)
    2:56
    ATL - ERIC PERRIN 10 (MARIAN HOSSA, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 16:29
    ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 25 (KARI LEHTONE

    Capitals vs. ThrashersFeb 13 9:44 PM


  • NHL
    END OF OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 1 1 0 2
    ATLANTA 0 2 0 0 2 END OF OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN, NICKLAS BACKSTROM)
    2:56
    ATL - ERIC PERRIN 10 (MARIAN HOSSA, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 16:29
    ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 25 (KARI LEHTONEN) 19:0

    Feb 13 9:39 PM
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  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 1 1 2
    ATLANTA 0 2 0 2 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN, NICKLAS BACKSTROM)
    2:56
    ATL - ERIC PERRIN 10 (MARIAN HOSSA, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 16:29
    ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 25 (KARI LEHTONEN) 19:03
    3RD PRD: WAS - ALEX OV

    Feb 13 9:33 PM
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  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 2
    ATLANTA 2
    3RD PRD: WAS - ALEX OVECHKIN 48 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MIKE GREEN) 18:39

    Capitals vs. ThrashersFeb 13 9:32 PM
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  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 1 1
    ATLANTA 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN, NICKLAS BACKSTROM)
    2:56
    ATL - ERIC PERRIN 10 (MARIAN HOSSA, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 16:29
    ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 25 (KARI LEHTONEN) 19:03
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1S

    Feb 13 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    ATLANTA 2
    2ND PRD: ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 25 (KARI LEHTONEN) 19:03

    Capitals vs. ThrashersFeb 13 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - ERIC PERRIN 10 (MARIAN HOSSA, TOBIAS ENSTROM) 16:29

    Capitals vs. ThrashersFeb 13 8:34 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    ATLANTA 0
    2ND PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 12 (ALEX OVECHKIN, NICKLAS BACKSTROM)
    2:56

    Capitals vs. ThrashersFeb 13 8:04 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WAS 18 18
    ATL 3 3
    GOALIES: WAS - OLAF KOLZIG
    ATL - KARI LEHTONEN

    Feb 13 7:42 PM
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