for this game

Staal nets hat trick to rally Hurricanes past Thrashers

Dec 27, 2008 - 4:07 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Bryan Little recorded his first career NHL hat trick for the hapless Atlanta Thrashers. But unfortunately for the Atlanta center, Eric Staal had one too.

Staal notched his sixth career hat trick, tallying all three goals in the third period to rally the Carolina Hurricanes from a one-goal deficit to defeat the Thrashers, 5-4, in a wild one at Philips Arena on Friday.

Patrick Eaves notched his first goal of the season and Chad LaRose found the net for Carolina, which finished its four-game road trip at 2-2-0.

"Hat tricks are fun," said Staal, who has two three-goal games this season. "Any way to help out offensively and contribute, especially with the winner against a division opponent."

Little had three goals and Vyacheslav Kozlov notched four assists in one game for the second time in his NHL career for the Thrashers, who have just one win in their last 10 games here.

"I can't even describe how frustrating it is," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "I thought we played a decent game. It's like we make a mistake and it ends up in our net. It's just the way it's gone for us this year."

Things were looking good for the home team as Little deflected defenseman Niclas Havelid's shot from the blue line past goaltender Cam Ward. Dozens of hats were tossed onto the ice as the Thrashers took a 4-3 at 9:52 of the third period.

Atlanta, for once, had a late lead in "Blueland."

Not so fast. Thanks to Staal, Atlanta's lead was gone in 50 seconds.

"It seemed like whenever we had a lead, we would let up," Little said. "They would take advantage of it."

A two-time All-Star, Staal stymied the celebration by beating netminder Johan Hedberg with a wide-angled shot from below the right faceoff circle to tie the game at 4-4.

Just over a minute later, he netted the game winner.

The 24-year-old roared down the ice, made a strong move on rookie blue-liner Nathan Oystrick to break free down in the Atlanta zone and beat Hedberg with a wrister from the right faceoff circle for the hat trick at 11:58 of the final period.

"I took it to the net hard," Staal said of the final goal. "You want to get as many (hat tricks) as you can. It's fun to get them."

But there were no hats on the ice this time.

The tally ended a sensational session for Staal, who scored with a backhander at the 7:27 mark of the final period.

"The big fella (Staal) turns it on in the third period, and off we go," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "We think he is one of the great players in the game."

Little deserved a better fate.

The second-year center has been one of the lone bright spots for the morose Thrashers, who have struggled mightily this season. Friday was no exception.

Little recorded a pair of power-play tallies in the second period to give the Thrashers a 3-2 lead going into the final period before securing the hat trick in the final period. He leads the Thrashers with 17 goals on this season.

"Everything was bouncing my way tonight," Little said. "But it still doesn't feel great because we lost."

"(Little) has been playing wonderful all year," Anderson said. "Hopefully, it will continue for him because we need scoring."

Atlanta, which allowed at least one goal after the first three opponent's shot in their last four games here, actually held early as Todd White posted Atlanta to a 1-0 lead, banging in a rebound on the power play 9:02 into the contest.

But LaRose tied the contest, somehow grabbing a rebound while sandwiched between a pair of Atlanta defenders in the slot and beating Hedberg with a wrister with 64 seconds remaining in the first.

Eaves put Carolina ahead with a goal on a 2-on-1 break. Ray Whitney fed the Carolina right wing with a backhanded pass in the slot and Eaves buried it past Hedberg, giving Carolina a 2-1 lead at 5:58 of the middle period.

"It was finally good to get one," said Eaves, who last found the net on March 16 against the Ottawa Senators. "It's been a long time coming."

Hedberg set aside 32 for the Thrashers, who was outshot, 15-5 in the final period. But the popular Atlanta backup goaltender would not blame his defense for the loss.

"That third period was the worst I have played all year," Hedberg said. "(It happened) at a very bad time and it cost us the game. ... We played hard and deserved to win. It is disappointing."

Ward set aside 27 shots for the Hurricanes, who defeated the Thrashers for the first time this season.






  • 10
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Hurricanes 5, Thrashers 4  FinalDec 27 7:24 AM
  • 5
    roots
    Silversword55 Added 5 roots

    Hurricanes 5, Thrashers 4  FinalDec 27 12:09 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 1 1 3 5
    ATLANTA 1 2 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) TODD WHITE 12 (RON HAINSEY, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    10:58
    CAR - CHAD LAROSE 8 (FRANTISEK KABERLE, RAY WHITNEY) 18:56
    2ND PRD: CAR - PATRICK EAVES 1 (RAY WHITNEY, BRANDON SUTTER) 5:58
    ATL - (PP) BRYAN LITTLE 15

    Dec 26 9:59 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 5
    ATLANTA 4
    3RD PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 17 (UNASSISTED) 11:58

    Hurricanes 5, Thrashers 4  3rd - 8:02Dec 26 9:46 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 4
    ATLANTA 4
    3RD PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 16 (UNASSISTED) 10:42

    Hurricanes 4, Thrashers 4  3rd - 9:18Dec 26 9:42 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 3
    ATLANTA 4
    3RD PRD: ATL - BRYAN LITTLE 17 (NICLAS HAVELID, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    9:52

    Hurricanes 3, Thrashers 4  3rd - 10:08Dec 26 9:40 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 3
    ATLANTA 3
    3RD PRD: CAR - (PP) ERIC STAAL 15 (RAY WHITNEY, JOE CORVO) 7:27

    Hurricanes 3, Thrashers 3  3rd - 12:33Dec 26 9:36 PM


  • ------------------------------
    Carolina
    1 1 --2
    Atlanta 1 2 --3
    ------------------------------

    Shots on goal:
    ----------------------------------
    Carolina 14 10 --24
    Atlanta 9 17 --26
    ----------------------------------

    Goalies : Carolina, Cam Ward (26 shots, 23 saves). Atlanta, Johan
    Hedberg (24 shots, 22 saves). Referees: Dan O'Rourke, Tom

    Dec 26 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 2
    ATLANTA 3
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) BRYAN LITTLE 16 (VYACHESLAV KOZLOV, TODD WHITE)
    19:57

    Hurricanes 2, Thrashers 3  2nd - 0:03Dec 26 9:04 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 2
    ATLANTA 2
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) BRYAN LITTLE 15 (RON HAINSEY, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    18:14

    Hurricanes 2, Thrashers 2  2nd - 1:46Dec 26 9:00 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 2
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: CAR - PATRICK EAVES 1 (RAY WHITNEY, BRANDON SUTTER) 5:58

    Hurricanes 2, Thrashers 1  2nd - 14:02Dec 26 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 1 1
    ATLANTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) TODD WHITE 12 (RON HAINSEY, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    10:58
    CAR - CHAD LAROSE 8 (FRANTISEK KABERLE, RAY WHITNEY) 18:56
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAR 14

    Dec 26 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 1
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: CAR - CHAD LAROSE 8 (FRANTISEK KABERLE, RAY WHITNEY) 18:56

    Hurricanes 1, Thrashers 1  1st - 1:04Dec 26 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 0
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) TODD WHITE 12 (RON HAINSEY, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    10:58

    Hurricanes 0, Thrashers 1  1st - 9:02Dec 26 7:57 PM