31st December 10:03
Thrashers Get A Much Needed Win In Montreal
We now need a win on Thursday.
A little luck plus Kovalchuk adds up
By JOHN MANASSO
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 2/17/04
Montreal -- It is said that good teams make their own breaks.
As bad as the Thrashers have been for the last six weeks, they also have
That fortune changed Tuesday. Spurred by the dominating play of Ilya
Kovalchuk, the Thrashers rebounded from a humiliating defeat to beat the
Montreal Canadiens 4-1 before 21,273 at the Bell Centre.
After Kovalchuk scored the Thrashers' first goal to the tie the game at
1-1 and assisted on their second to make it 2-1, the Thrashers got some
breathing room on a mistake by Montreal goalie Jose Theodore, whose
recent play has belied his All-Star status.
In the second period, the Thrashers dumped the puck in on the power play
and Theodore went behind his net to play it. But he shot the puck into
his own net and with Thrasher Ronald Petrovicky near him, panicked to get
the puck out a second time.
Theodore passed it right to Patrik Stefan, who put the puck into an empty
net for a 3-1 lead with 7:30 left in the second. Dany Heatley scored his
third goal and second in three games.
With two wins in their last three games, the question now becomes whether
Monday's 7-2 loss at Buffalo -- probably the Thrashers' worst performance
of the season -- was an aberration.
It seemed after Friday's 4-1 win over Vancouver that the Thrashers had
righted themselves after a 10-game winless streak, but they slipped back
into bad habits Monday.
As up-and-down as his team has been, Kovalchuk has been a constant. He
helped the Thrashers to their first lead in setting up Frantisek
Kaberle's third goal. Kovalchuk stick-handled through traffic and set up
in the corner, then sent a crisp centering pass to Kaberle.
The defenseman raced in from the point and roofed a backhander past
Theodore at 3:06 into the second period.
1 2 3 Final
Atlanta 1 2 1 4
Montreal 1 0 0 1
First Period - 1, Montreal, Bulis 13 (Koivu, Zednik), 6:47. 2, Atlanta,
Kovalchuk 31 (Robitaille, Savard), 8:55, (pp). Penalties - Begin, MON
(hooking), 6:54; Quintal, MON (holding), 8:33; Cowan, ATL (holding),
12:20; Nurminen, ATL, served by Kloucek (roughing), 12:20; Sutton, ATL
(slashing), 14:03; McEachern, ATL (interference), 17:36.
Second Period - 3, Atlanta, Kaberle 3 (Kovalchuk, Exelby), 3:06. 4,
Atlanta, Stefan 8, 12:30, (pp). Penalties - Brisebois, MON
(interference), 11:05; Komisarek, MON (cross-checking), 13:01.
Third Period - 5, Atlanta, Heatley 3 (Robitaille, McEachern), 7:41.
Penalty - Bouillon, MON (hooking), 13:19.
Shots On Goal - Atlanta 5-10-10=25. Montreal 14-8-8=30.
Power-Play Conversions - Atlanta 2-5. Montreal 0-4.
Goaltenders - Atlanta, Nurminen (19-21-5)
Goaltenders - Montreal, Theodore (22-22-5)
Attendance - 21,273.
Referees - Brad Meier, Stephane Auger.
Linesmen - Steve Barton, Michel Cormier.