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Carolina at Atlanta

Thrashers 5, Hurricanes 3

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Carolina goaltender Cam Ward couldn't believe the Hurricanes failed to hold a two-goal lead in the third period.

After all, they were playing the NHL's worst home team.

"They kept coming," Ward said. "They didn't have as much to lose as we did. They looked more like a team playing for a playoff spot than we did. There are teams to be caught."

Rich Peverley scored two of Atlanta's four third-period goals, and Ilya Kovalchuk had two goals and three assists in the Thrashers' 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday.

Carolina, which had won seven of nine, remained tied with Buffalo for the eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Thrashers, who have an NHL-low 24 points at home, won at Philips Arena for just the sixth time in 22 games.

Peverley pulled the Thrashers within one at 10:25 of the third period, Todd White tied it with 6:03 left, and Peverley put Atlanta in front on a power play with 1:28 remaining. Kovalchuk added an empty-netter for his 34th goal.

"Tonight is a good confidence boost," Peverley said. "In our last (19) games, we want to play well and consistent."

Tuomo Ruutu and Sergei Samsonov each scored in the first to put Carolina ahead 2-0, and Anton Babchuk added a power-play goal early in the third.

Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves to improve to 13-19-3.

"We never gave up," Lehtonen said. "In the third period, we started playing better. We got lots of shots. It was looking like the game would be tough to come back (in), but we got some nice goals at the end."

Kovalchuk allowed Peverley to control the puck along the left boards and beat defenseman Joe Corvo in the left circle. Once he had Corvo behind him, Peverley skated into the slot and lifted the puck over Ward's right shoulder to make it 4-3.

Now if the Thrashers could just manage to play an entire three periods as fiercely as they went against Carolina in the third.

"It seems all season long we have been great in the third, but sometimes we give up too much in the first two and we can't catch them," Kovalchuk said. "If we can play like that all game, we will win a lot."

Atlanta coach John Anderson knows the franchise was right to name Kovalchuk's the NHL's most prolific scorer since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2001, as team captain Jan. 11.

"I think he's just playing harder," Anderson said. "He wants it. You can see it in his eyes. That's when you know he's going to play a good game. In the last period, he took over, and every time he touches the puck you see that spark in his eyes, and you know the other team better watch out."

Ward made his 11th straight start, but lost for the first time in his last four against the Thrashers after stopping 27 of 31 shots.

"I was disappointed in the third period," said Ward, whose record dropped to 26-21-3. "That was the worst one we've had this year. Maybe we ran out of gas."

Babchuk's eighth goal came on a power play early in the third to give the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead, but little went right for Carolina in the final 18:19.

"We had some defensive breakdowns," coach Paul Maurice said. "We were running thin at the end. We're leaving this one here."

Notes

The Thrashers improved to 17-29-10 against Carolina, 7-15-6 at Philips Arena. ... In 44 games against Carolina, Kovalchuk has 29 goals and 25 assists. ... The Hurricanes are 11-7-0 since their five-game losing streak ended Jan. 17. ... Eric Staal had two assists, giving him 11 points in the last nine 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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Scoreboard
Carolina (32-27-5)2013
Atlanta  (23-34-6) «0145
Three Stars
I. Kovalchuk
ATL


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 3
R. Peverley
ATL


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
T. White
ATL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
13:54Tuomo Ruutu (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Staal
15:35Sergei Samsonov (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Jokinen, Eaves
2ND PERIOD
19:26Ilya Kovalchuk (33), Wrist Shot. Assist: White
3RD PERIOD
01:41Power Play - Anton Babchuk (7), Slap Shot. Assist: Ruutu, Staal
10:25Rich Peverley (9), Wrist Shot. Assist: Reasoner, Kovalchuk
13:57Todd White (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kovalchuk, Little
18:32Power Play - Rich Peverley (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kovalchuk, Kozlov
19:57Ilya Kovalchuk (34), Empty Net. Assist: Hainsey
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:45Peverley, 2 min, Holding the Stick
10:58Samsonov, 2 min, Tripping
16:53Christensen, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
2ND PERIOD
06:28Kozlov, 2 min, Roughing
09:42Gleason, 2 min, Cross-Checking
3RD PERIOD
01:03Valabik, 2 min, Holding
17:09Gleason, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
 123T
Carolina12111235
Atlanta6111532
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Cam Ward58:44274
Kari Lehtonen59:56323
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Carolina1-for-4
Atlanta1-for-3
Game Information
Attendance - 17796
Referees - Steve Kozari, Chris Rooney
Linesmen - Pierre Racicot, Andy McElman
 
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SJ 2 Final
Mon 3
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NYR 6
Min 2 Final
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OT
Bos 3
Tor 4 Final
OT
Ott 3
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