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

Letang propels Penguins past Thrashers

Mar 2, 2008 - 11:48 PM
By Chris Adamski PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) - Defenseman Kris Letang scored the lone goal in the second round of the shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-2, on Sunday.

Ryan Malone and Maxime Talbot also scored for the Penguins (37-23-7), who moved past the idle New Jersey Devils (37-23-6) atop the Atlantic Division and are now tied with the Montreal Canadiens (36-21-9) for the most points in the Eastern Conference.

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who was making his first start since sustaining a high ankle sprain against Calgary on December 6, finished with 31 saves.

"You could tell early in the game he was nervous," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said of Fleury. "But the more the game went on, I thought he was solid. It's a good sign for him and us. He was outstanding in the shootout."

"I knew that (Fleury) would play great, because he's a great goalie," Penguins winger Petr Sykora said.

Jim Slater and veteran Vyacheslav Kozlov both tallied and defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski added two assists for the Thrashers, who fell to 0-4-3 in their last seven games.

Letang went to his backhand and beat Kari Lehtonen for the lone tally in the bonus format. Fleury then stopped superstar Ilya Kovalchuk to preserve the victory.

"I put a move in my head right away," Letang said. "And when I look at the goalie, if he's back in his net, I'm going to shoot. If he's (out), I'm going to make a move, and that's what I did."

All-Star Marian Hossa, the centerpiece of the five-player deal between the teams on Tuesday, was not in the lineup for the Penguins after injuring his knee two days later in his first game with his new club.

Hossa was acquired from Atlanta along with Pascal Dupuis for center Erik Christensen, right wing Colby Armstrong, 2007 first-round pick Angelo Esposito and this year's first-round draft pick.

Malone scored 50 seconds into the contest after a slap shot from All-Star defenseman Sergei Gonchar was stopped by Lehtonen. The Finnish netminder didn't properly handle the puck, however, and Malone quickly backhanded it into the open net for his 23rd goal of the season and third in his past two games.

"I thought there should have been a whistle there; I don't know what the ref was doing," said Armstrong, who was one of the more popular players in Penguins' locker room. "But 'Buggsy' (Malone) cheaps one in again, that's what he does. He stands in front, the big lug stands there and knocks in the garbage. The ref was a little slow on the whistle. It was too bad. I wish we would have had a little better start, but we battled hard."

Seventy-nine seconds later, Talbot scored his ninth of the season and first in 19 games by gathering the puck in his own zone, skating up the left wing and flipping a backhander past Lehtonen.

"Our first 10 minutes were tough, but I thought our club hung in there and Kari played great the whole game," said Christensen, who was Pittsburgh's best shootout player but was unsuccessful in his attempt with Atlanta on Sunday. "To get a point coming into this building with the situation with me and (Armstrong) and guys like (Mark Recchi, another ex-Penguin), it was a good effort."

The Thrashers, however, settled down and halved the deficit with a goal by Slater, his fourth of the season.

Skating down the left wing with 5:35 remaining in the first period, Slater fired a slap shot past Fleury.

Kozlov leveled the game 71 seconds into the third period with a power-play goal.

The talented Russian scored his 15th goal of the season after accepting a feed from Armstrong and slamming the puck between Fleury's legs to tie the game at 2-2.

"I think we were pretty fortunate to get the two points," Malone said. "I don't think we're going to be to happy with (our effort), but right now, the points are so huge. We found a way to manage to get the two points, which is good, but we've got to work on that full 60 minutes."






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    Thrashers 2, Penguins 3  Final - 2OTMar 2 9:27 PM
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    Thrashers 2, Penguins 2  End of OTMar 2 5:45 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 0 (0) 2
    PITTSBURGH 2 0 0 0 (1) 3 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 23 (SERGEI GONCHAR, EVGENI MALKIN) 0:50
    PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 9 (JARKKO RUUTU, ALEX GOLIGOSKI) 2:09
    ATL - JIM SLATER 4 (ERIC BOULTON, JOEL KWIATKOWSKI) 14:

    Thrashers 2, Penguins 3  Final - 2OTMar 2 5:44 PM


  • NHL
    END OF OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 0 2
    PITTSBURGH 2 0 0 0 2 END OF OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 23 (SERGEI GONCHAR, EVGENI MALKIN) 0:50
    PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 9 (JARKKO RUUTU, ALEX GOLIGOSKI) 2:09
    ATL - JIM SLATER 4 (ERIC BOULTON, JOEL KWIATKOWSKI) 14:25
    2ND

    Mar 2 5:38 PM
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    Thrashers 2, Penguins 2  OT - 4:31Mar 2 5:29 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 2
    PITTSBURGH 2 0 0 2 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 23 (SERGEI GONCHAR, EVGENI MALKIN) 0:50
    PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 9 (JARKKO RUUTU, ALEX GOLIGOSKI) 2:09
    ATL - JIM SLATER 4 (ERIC BOULTON, JOEL KWIATKOWSKI) 14:25
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: ATL -

    Mar 2 5:27 PM
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    Thrashers 2, Penguins 2  3rd - 3:38Mar 2 5:20 PM
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    Thrashers 2, Penguins 2  3rd - 6:30Mar 2 5:13 PM
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    Thrashers 2, Penguins 2  3rd - 8:57Mar 2 5:12 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    PITTSBURGH 2
    3RD PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 15 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, JOEL
    KWIATKOWSKI) 1:11

    Thrashers 2, Penguins 2  3rd - 18:49Mar 2 4:54 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1
    PITTSBURGH 2 0 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 23 (SERGEI GONCHAR, EVGENI MALKIN) 0:50
    PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 9 (JARKKO RUUTU, ALEX GOLIGOSKI) 2:09
    ATL - JIM SLATER 4 (ERIC BOULTON, JOEL KWIATKOWSKI) 14:25
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Mar 2 4:34 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1
    PITTSBURGH 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 23 (SERGEI GONCHAR, EVGENI MALKIN) 0:50
    PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 9 (JARKKO RUUTU, ALEX GOLIGOSKI) 2:09
    ATL - JIM SLATER 4 (ERIC BOULTON, JOEL KWIATKOWSKI) 14:25
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND

    Mar 2 3:42 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    PITTSBURGH 2
    1ST PRD: ATL - JIM SLATER 4 (ERIC BOULTON, JOEL KWIATKOWSKI) 14:25

    Thrashers 1, Penguins 2  1st - 5:35Mar 2 3:34 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    PITTSBURGH 2
    1ST PRD: PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 9 (JARKKO RUUTU, ALEX GOLIGOSKI) 2:09

    Thrashers 0, Penguins 2  1st - 17:51Mar 2 3:13 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 23 (SERGEI GONCHAR, EVGENI MALKIN) 0:50

    Thrashers 0, Penguins 1  1st - 19:10Mar 2 3:10 PM
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