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Atlanta at Carolina

Thrashers halt five-game slide with shootout win over Hurricanes

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

RALEIGH, N.C. -- After five straight losses, the Atlanta Thrashers just wanted a win. That it came against the Carolina Hurricanes, the team chasing them in the Southeast Division, was a bonus.

The Thrashers ended a five-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout win over the host Hurricanes on Saturday, giving them a little more breathing room -- a five-point lead -- in the division and a confidence boost.

"We know where they're at," Atlanta forward Scott Mellanby said. "We can feel them."

Vyacheslav and Marian Hossa both scored in the shootout while Atlanta goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped Ray Whitney and Justin Williams for the Thrashers' fifth shootout win this season. Lehtonen finished with 24 saves.

"On our side, we could have left two points here and kept our losing streak going, this was huge," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "This wasn't a good road trip for us, but we finished on a positive note."

The shootout loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Hurricanes, who had also won the first three meetings against Atlanta this season. The defending Stanley Cup champions had been pointing to this game, with the Thrashers playing for the second time in as many days, as way to make up ground.

"It's a tough loss but it could have went our way so we just have to move on," Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour said.

The Thrashers led 1-0 and 2-1 in the first period, but fell behind 3-2 on Dennis Seidenberg's goal 27 seconds into third period. Bobby Holik's long goal at 10:27 in the third tied the score at 3-3 and forced the overtime. Holik ripped a slapshot from the blueline that caught Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward off guard.

"It cost us the game," Ward said. "It was my fault."

Holik said he was just trying to get a hard shot on goal and create an opportunity for his slumping team. The Thrashers have actually held a lead going into the third period in the past four losses.

"That was our problem that last few games where we stopped playing," Holik said.

Atlanta started strong with Mellanby's goal at 2:54 in the first. The Hurricanes tied the score at 1 on Williams' goal at 5:38. Williams wristed a short from the right circle over Atlanta goalie Lehtonen's left shoulder. Carolina's Erik Cole took two straight penalties at the end of the first period.

Atlanta didn't convert on the first power-play opportunity but did on the second, with five seconds to spare. Atlanta defenseman Greg De Vries fed a cross-ice pass to Glen Metropolit at the left post for a 2-1 lead with 62 seconds left in the first period.

The Hurricanes tied the score with Whitney's goal, on Cole's first of two assists, 9:29 into the second period.

Seidenberg, a defenseman acquired from Phoenix on Jan. 8, gave the Hurricanes their only lead on a shot from the right circle. The puck bounced off Lehtonen and in front of a diving Garnet Exelby.

Given Atlanta's recent third-period problems, Hartley wasn't worried about trailing so late.

"We've been there before," Hartley said. "We know how play in those situations. We kept battling. Then Bobby gave us the tying goal and then it was a matter of who would get the last chance."

Actually, the Thrashers got three chances, all by Ilya Kovalchuk in overtime, but Ward came up with his three best saves of the game. Once in the shootout, Ward couldn't stop the Thrashers.

"If we're going to get an extra point against any team, obviously it would be this one," Mellanby said.

Notes

  • The Hurricanes, who went 8-2 in shootouts last season, fell to 0-3.
  • Carolina forwards Justin Williams and Eric Staal were added to the Eastern Conference roster for the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 24 in Dallas.
  • Atlanta recalled defenseman Mark Popovic from Chicago before the game. He played 8:28 against Carolina.
  • Whitney's goal, his 18th of the season, gave him six points in the past four games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Brad Larsen gives Bobby Holik all the credit due for the tying goal scored in the third period. (AP)
Brad Larsen gives Bobby Holik all the credit due for the tying goal scored in the third period. (AP)
Scoreboard
Atlanta  (25-14-8) «20101 (2)4
Carolina (24-18-5)11100 (0)3
Three Stars
M. Hossa
ATL


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
B. Holik
ATL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
G. Exelby
ATL


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:54Scott Mellanby (9), Backhand Shot - Assists: Garnet Exelby, Jon Sim
05:38Justin Williams (22), Wrist Shot - Assists: Anton Babchuk, Eric Staal
18:58Power Play - Glen Metropolit (9), Wrist Shot - Assists: Greg de Vries, Steve Rucchin
2ND PERIOD
09:29Ray Whitney (18), Tip-In - Assists: Erik Cole, David Tanabe
3RD PERIOD
00:27Dennis Seidenberg (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Erik Cole, Eric Staal
10:27Bobby Holik (9), Slap Shot - Assist: Garnet Exelby
OT
None
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:31Kovalchuk: Interference - 2 min.
14:22Cole: Holding - 2 min.
17:03Cole: Holding - 2 min.
2ND PERIOD
01:12Vishnevski: Holding - 2 min.
05:19Sim: Interference - 2 min.
18:28de Vries: Holding - 2 min.
19:14Stillman: Holding - 2 min.
3RD PERIOD
07:32Commodore: Tripping - 2 min.
13:28Whitney: Hooking - 2 min.
14:14Ladd: Too Many Men on the Ice(bench) - 2 min.
17:37Kozlov: Tripping - 2 min.
OT
04:35Wallin: Hooking - 2 min.
04:35Cole: Game Misconduct - 10 min.
2OT
None
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123OTT
Atlanta1039426
Carolina5136327
 
Other Games
LA 5 Final
StL 6
Mon 3 Final
Ott 8
Bos 1 Final
NYR 3
Pitt 5 Final
Phi 3
TB 3 Final
Buf 2
Van 6 Final
Tor 1
Nash 4 Final
Colu 1
Chi 3 Final
Det 6
NJ 2 Final
OT
NYI 1
Wash 3 Final
Fla 7
SJ 4 Final
Pho 1
Colo 3 Final
Ana 2
Edm 1 Final
Cal 3