Maple Leafs
Thrashers
3 - 4 Final - OT
  for this game

Kovalchuk, Peverley lead Thrashers to comeback win

Jan 17, 2009 - 5:43 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Captain Ilya Kovalchuk and the newly acquired Rich Peverley are proving to be a formidable combination for the Atlanta Thrashers.

Peverley scored at 3:51 of overtime Friday as the Thrashers rallied from a three-goal deficit to post a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Peverley also set up two goals by Kovalchuk, who returned the favor in the extra session.

Bryan Little netted his team-leading 20th tally and defenseman Ron Hainsey collected a pair of assists for Atlanta, which won for just the third time in 11 games (3-7-1).

"Hopefully, this win can turn the season around," Kovalchuk said. "Tonight was a total team effort."

Lee Stempniak, Dominic Moore and Niklas Hagman scored for the Maple Leafs, who squandered a 4-0 lead at Carolina on Thursday before emerging with a 6-4 win.

"We let the lead slip away," Moore said. "We kind of sat back a little too much and let them come back at us instead of sticking with our game plan. ... We have to learn how to simplify (the game) and stay aggressive."

With the contest tied at 3-3, Peverley dished the puck to Kovalchuk above the left faceoff circle. The All-Star unleashed a slap shot that was stopped by Vesa Toskala, but the rebound went right to Peverley, who deposited it into a vacant net from alone on the right side for his third goal of the season.

"It was a great play by Kovalchuk," Peverley said. "He made a great play to get the puck on net, and the rebound went right to me."

Claimed off waivers from Nashville on Saturday, Peverley immediately was put on Kovalchuk's line upon his arrival. The 26-year-old was kept off the scoresheet in his debut for Atlanta on Wednesday but notched a career-high three points in this one.

"It's tremendous. To be able to contribute was something I wanted to do from the get-go," Peverley said. "To get an overtime winner was great.

"The first game, I think I was just trying to find my pace. I hadn't played in a little while. I had a little bit more confidence tonight. I was handling the puck better. Ilya is a tremendous player, and he creates a lot of opportunities and space."

Thrashers coach John Anderson has been impressed with Peverley for a while.

"I watched him quite a bit in the minors, and he was a killer (against us in Chicago) when he played for Milwaukee," Anderson said. "I'm just hoping that we can convert it and use it up here. He's played really well so far."

It appeared as if it would be another long night at Philips Arena as Toronto struck for three goals in the first period.

Stempniak opened the scoring during a power play with 7:07 remaining in the session. After Johan Hedberg stopped All-Star defenseman Tomas Kaberle's slap shot from the blue line with his left pad, Stempniak buried the rebound from the doorstep for a 1-0 lead.

Moore doubled the advantage with 76 seconds to go in the period, deflecting rookie blue-liner Luke Schenn's shot past Hedberg while standing in front of the net.

Hagman made it 3-0 just 56 seconds later, when he received a backhanded cross-slot pass from Nik Antropov and beat Hedberg from the left faceoff circle for his 13th goal of the campaign.

Frank Sinatra's "That's Life" once again blared from the arena's public address system, signaling what appeared to be another disappointing evening for the home team. The Thrashers' fans, who have become accustomed to watching their team lose game after game here, booed.

But then something strange happened at Philips Arena, where Atlanta went just 2-10-2 over its previous 14 games - Kovalchuk and the Thrashers finally decided to show up.

Kari Lehtonen took over for Hedberg, who stopped just five of eight shots in the opening session, and slammed the door as the offense took over.

"It wasn't the start we wanted," Kovalchuk admitted. "But after the first period, we woke up, and I think we played our two best periods."

The Thrashers cut the deficit to one in the second period while outshooting the Maple Leafs by a 17-3 margin. Toronto failed to register a shot in a span of nearly 16 minutes bridging the second and third sessions.

"Fatigue had nothing to do with it," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "It was a few guys not committed to doing simple plays."

Kovalchuk, who was named the seventh captain in franchise history on Monday, began the comeback, beating Toskala with a shot from the left circle 70 seconds into the period. With 4:22 to go, Little surprised the Finnish goalie by backhanding a loose puck under his pads, drawing Atlanta within 3-2.

Peverley was instrumental in knotting the contest, as he carried the puck down the right wing and drew Toskala out of the crease while skating below the end line. He then dished it to Kovalchuk, who deposited the puck into a vacant net with 4:52 remaining to forge a tie and cause the crowd of 15,619 to erupt.

"We need to find a way to play the full 60 minutes of the game," said the 19-year-old Schenn, who was selected fifth overall in last June's draft. "We need to stay focused and push through the whole game when we have the lead."

Toskala turned aside 34 shots for Toronto, which lost for the fifth time in six games and finished the season series against Atlanta with a 2-1-1 record.

Lehtonen stopped all nine shots he faced.








  • NHL
    FINAL IN OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 3 0 0 0 3
    ATLANTA 0 2 1 1 4 FINAL IN OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) LEE STEMPNIAK 7 (TOMAS KABERLE, PAVEL KUBINA)
    12:53
    TOR - DOMINIC MOORE 9 (LUKE SCHENN, JIRI TLUSTY) 18:44
    TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 13 (NIK ANTROPOV, MIKHAIL GRABOVSK

    Jan 16 10:10 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    ATLANTA 4
    OT: ATL - RICH PEVERLEY 3 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, RON HAINSEY) 3:51

    Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 4  End of OTJan 16 10:09 PM
  • 139
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 27 roots (Overtime)

    Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 3  OT - 4:55Jan 16 10:01 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 3 0 0 3
    ATLANTA 0 2 1 3 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) LEE STEMPNIAK 7 (TOMAS KABERLE, PAVEL KUBINA)
    12:53
    TOR - DOMINIC MOORE 9 (LUKE SCHENN, JIRI TLUSTY) 18:44
    TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 13 (NIK ANTROPOV, MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI)
    19:40
    2ND PRD: ATL - ILYA

    Jan 16 10:00 PM
  • 112
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 40 roots (Overtime)

    Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 3  End of Reg.Jan 16 10:00 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    ATLANTA 3
    3RD PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 18 (RICH PEVERLEY, RON HAINSEY) 15:08

    Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 3  3rd - 4:52Jan 16 9:48 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 3  3rd - 4:52Jan 16 9:48 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 3 0 3
    ATLANTA 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) LEE STEMPNIAK 7 (TOMAS KABERLE, PAVEL KUBINA)
    12:53
    TOR - DOMINIC MOORE 9 (LUKE SCHENN, JIRI TLUSTY) 18:44
    TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 13 (NIK ANTROPOV, MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI)
    19:40
    2ND PRD: ATL - ILYA K

    Jan 16 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    ATLANTA 2
    2ND PRD: ATL - BRYAN LITTLE 20 (TODD WHITE, MATHIEU SCHNEIDER) 15:38

    Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 2  2nd - 4:22Jan 16 8:59 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 17 (RICH PEVERLEY, COLBY ARMSTRONG) 1:10

    Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 1  2nd - 18:50Jan 16 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 3 3
    ATLANTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) LEE STEMPNIAK 7 (TOMAS KABERLE, PAVEL KUBINA)
    12:53
    TOR - DOMINIC MOORE 9 (LUKE SCHENN, JIRI TLUSTY) 18:44
    TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 13 (NIK ANTROPOV, MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI)
    19:40
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Jan 16 8:14 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 13 (NIK ANTROPOV, MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI)
    19:40

    Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 0  1st - 0:20Jan 16 8:13 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: TOR - DOMINIC MOORE 9 (LUKE SCHENN, JIRI TLUSTY) 18:44

    Maple Leafs 2, Thrashers 0  1st - 1:16Jan 16 8:11 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) LEE STEMPNIAK 7 (TOMAS KABERLE, PAVEL KUBINA)
    12:53

    Maple Leafs 1, Thrashers 0  1st - 7:07Jan 16 8:01 PM