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Atlanta at St. Louis

Back from Sweden, Blues look listless in home loss to Thrashers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Returning from a triumphant season-opening Sweden trip, the St. Louis Blues had a dud of a home opener. The Atlanta Thrashers had a lot to do with that.

Ilya Kovalchuk made it a pair of two-goal games to open the season, scoring the go-ahead tally in the first period and adding an empty-netter in the Thrashers' 4-2 victory on Thursday. Kovalchuk scored his 300th and 301st career NHL goals and had a team-high five shots.

"He's big every night," goalie Ondrej Pavelec said. "He's unbelievable. Two games and four goals, that's a lot."

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Keith Tkachuk had a goal and an assist and topped 400 points with the Blues, perhaps suffering from jet lag after a pair of come-from-behind victories against the Red Wings in Stockholm last weekend. St. Louis, which unveiled a statue honoring Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis before the game, hasn't had a 3-0 start since 1993-94.

Andy Murray listed the reasons why it didn't happen this time.

"We had a passive penalty kill, which is not our nature, that they scored on," Murray said. "We had a guy get beat off the wall for the first goal, which isn't our game.

"And we got caught in a terrible change because a couple guys tried to stay a little too long in the offensive side and we gave up a 3-on-2 and they capitalized."

Team president John Davidson had a blunt assessment: "We got what we deserved."

Atlanta has opened with a pair of strong efforts after going 35-41-6 last season, also beating the Lightning 6-3 at home on Saturday. The Thrashers prevailed despite getting outshot 31-22.

"The most important thing is we got a win," Kovalchuk said. "I think we played a really good defensive game, especially in the third period."

The Blues have trailed by two goals in all three games. This time they paid for it.

"It's going to bite you," Tkachuk said. "You've got to get yourself ready to play and find a way to motivate yourself to go out and play within the system that we've played in the second half of both games in Sweden."

Roman Polak beat Pavelec with a slap shot from the point with 2:44 to go, cutting the Thrashers' lead to a goal. But the Blues had no chances after pulling goalie Chris Mason with 1:10 to go. Kovalchuk's fourth goal of the season ended the comeback bid.

"I don't think any of us were happy with how we played," Mason said. "That's not our style."

The Thrashers scored on two of their first three shots, wiping out Tkachuk's goal from the slot just past the five-minute mark on a 2-on-1 break. Eric Boulton scored his first goal off Chris Thorburn's feed from behind the net less than three minutes later, and Kovalchuk netted the go-ahead score after a nifty move in the slot on a power play at 8:51.

Rookie Evander Kane, the fourth overall pick of this year's NHL Draft, made it a two-goal cushion. He scored his first goal of the season in the second period for Atlanta, which had been 1-3 in four previous games in St. Louis.

The Blues had won their three previous home openers and have their strongest team in several seasons after ending a five-year playoff drought last season.

Notes

  • The Blues were 0 for 3 on the power play after going 4 for 9 the first two games.
  • The 18-year-old Kane has points in both games, earning an assist in the opener.
  • Rich Peverley had an assist for Atlanta and has two goals and two assists the first two games. He totaled 35 points last season.
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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Ilya Kovalchuk scores two goals on five shots and tops the 300-goal mark for his career. (Getty Images)
Ilya Kovalchuk scores two goals on five shots and tops the 300-goal mark for his career. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Atlanta  (2-0-0) «2114
St. Louis (2-1-0)1012
Three Stars
I. Kovalchuk
ATL


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
O. Pavelec
ATL


Saves: 29
Save Pct.: .935
E. Johnson
STL


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:01Keith Tkachuk (3), Snap Shot. Assist: Boyes, Jackman
07:49Eric Boulton (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Thorburn, Salmela
10:18Power Play - Ilya Kovalchuk (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Little, Enstrom
2ND PERIOD
17:43Evander Kane (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Peverley, Armstrong
3RD PERIOD
17:16Roman Polak (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Tkachuk, Johnson
19:29Ilya Kovalchuk (4), Empty Net. Assist: Reasoner, Kubina
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
08:51Polak, 2 min, Interference
15:39Kovalchuk, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
01:03Bogosian, 2 min, Cross-Checking
03:06Reasoner, 2 min, Hooking
07:14Colaiacovo, 2 min, Interference
3RD PERIOD
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
Atlanta561122
St. Louis5141231
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Ondrej Pavelec60:00292
Chris Mason59:23183
Game Information
Attendance - 19150
Referees - Tim Peel, Frederick L'Ecuyer
Linesmen - Brian Mach, Andy McElman
 
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