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1 17th December 12:24
larry
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Default Nurminen shuts down Coyotes 1-0


There are some contradictions in various reports as to whether Savard's
goal happened on the power play or even strength. The power play ended at
8:26 but the time of the goal has been either 8:24, 8:25 or 8:26.


ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Marc Savard picked the right time to return from
injured reserve.

Activated prior to the game after missing three weeks with an ankle
injury, Savard scored a goal in the second period, lifting the Atlanta
Thrashers to a 1-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Just after a power play expired 8:26 into the second, Randy Robitaille
fired the puck toward the net from the right faceoff circle. Savard
deflected it through traffic and past Brian Boucher for the game's only
goal.

"It just came right up into my chest and I just spun around and brought
it right in the net," Savard said.

After tearing ligaments in his ankle, Savard was expected to miss eight
to 10 weeks, but he returned well ahead of schedule.

"That's quite the story," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said.

"You can't call it a miracle, but that has to be close. Savvy told me a
week ago that he felt he could skate."

Pasi Nurminen made 21 saves for his second shutout of the season as
Atlanta won its fourth straight game.

"We had a little breakdown before these four games," said Nurminen, who
improved to 11-5-3. "All good teams are always bouncing back. It's a
great thing that we can learn from our mistakes and come back stronger."

Boucher made 27 saves, but it was not enough to keep the Coyotes' road
winless streak from reaching nine games (0-4-4-1).

"Obviously, when you don't score, you have to find ways to do it,"
Coyotes center Shane Doan said. "We need to generate some offense and get
some things going."

The Coyotes went 0-for-3 on the power play and were outshot 15-6 in the
decisive second period.

After not being shut out in their first 18 games, the Coyotes have failed
to score in each of their last two.

--------------------

Thrashers' Savard scores lone goal in first game back
SportsLine.com wire reports

ATLANTA -- After being bailed out by his offense the past three games,
Pasi Nurminen returned the favor.

Nurminen made 21 saves for his fourth career shutout Sunday, leading the
Atlanta Thrashers past the Phoenix Coyotes 1-0.

Marc Savard scored the only goal in his return from a nine-game absence.
The Thrashers set a franchise record with their fourth consecutive win.

Unlike the previous three, however, when a shaky Nurminen was backed by
16 goals, this one came down to the goaltender.

"Sometimes a goaltender can steal a game," Phoenix coach Bobby Francis
said. "Nurminen made some outstanding saves, particularly early.
Sometimes the most important saves are the ones made early."

Still, it was a third-period save on Ladislav Nagy that preserved the
victory. Nagy waited out Nurminen from close range, and when Nurminen
dived headfirst, Nagy went for the exposed top corner. Nurminen managed
to reach up and swat the puck with his glove.

"The team helped me out really well again," Nurminen said. "The last
three games, and again tonight, they've been playing great. We didn't
score many goals tonight, but I think we played a bit of a tired team."

Of Nurminen's four career shutouts, three have been by a 1-0 score and
the fourth was a 0-0 tie at the New York Rangers on Oct. 16. Of the 11
shutouts in Thrashers history, eight have been 1-0 or 0-0 and the other
three were 2-0.

Atlanta (11-7-3-1), which entered the game one point behind Tampa Bay in
the Southeast Division, also beat Phoenix for the first time in eight
meetings and is four games over .500 for the first time in team history.

Phoenix (6-8-5-1) tied its season low with 21 shots and was shut out for
the second consecutive game.

The Thrashers got a big lift from Savard, who was back three weeks after
tearing ligaments in his left ankle. He was expected to miss eight to 10
weeks, but was able to return after two screws were inserted in his
ankle. The Thrashers were 5-4 in Savard's absence and missed his
leadership on the power play.

He opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 8:25 of the second
period. Savard went hard to the net and redirected Randy Robitaille's
long wrist shot past Brian Boucher for his sixth goal of the season.
Phoenix contended there was goalie interference.

"I don't think there was any contact," Boucher said. "The guy was in the
crease when it went off my mitt. He was right behind me at the time."

Savard said it's all about location.

"It just hit my body and I turned with it," said Savard, who said he felt
no pain in his ankle.

"Coach Hartley played me the way I should have been played," he added.
"He put me in slow and I felt great coming into the third period."

Hartley marveled that Savard was able to get back on the ice, let alone
contribute the way he did.

"You can't call it a miracle ... but that has to be close," he said.
"Savvy told me about a week ago that he felt he could skate. I thought,
knowing Savvy, that he just didn't want to go to the gym."

Notes
The Coyotes are 0-4-4-1 on the road since winning their first two away
from home. They play 10 of their next 14 on the road.
Phoenix scored nine goals in two victories over Atlanta last year.
Atlanta is 6-0-1-1 when outshooting its opponent.
Atlanta has outscored opponents 45-33 in the second and third periods.
Atlanta leads the Eastern Conference with 65 goals.


1 2 3 Final
Phoenix 0 0 0 0
Atlanta 0 1 0 1

First Period - No Scoring. Penalties - Kovalchuk, ATL (hooking), 6:22;
Nash, PHO (tripping), 8:51; Tamer, ATL (roughing), 11:32.

Second Period - 1, Atlanta, Savard 6 (Robitaille), 8:26. Penalties
- Nash, PHO (charging), 5:54; Vaananen, PHO (slashing), 6:26; Nash, PHO
(roughing), 13:08; Lindsay, ATL (roughing), 13:08; Nurminen, ATL, served
by Cowan (tripping), 16:13.

Third Period - No Scoring. Penalties - Vaananen, PHO (slashing), 4:56;
Majesky, ATL (roughing), 4:56.

Shots On Goal - Phoenix 7-6-8=21. Atlanta 5-15-8=28.

Power-Play Conversions - Phoenix 0-3. Atlanta 0-3.

Goaltenders - Phoenix, Boucher (0-2-1)
Goaltenders - Atlanta, Nurminen (11-5-3)
Attendance - 14,412.
Referees - Kerry Fraser, Don Van Massenhoven.
Linesmen - Pat Dupozzo, Brad Kovachik.
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