11th August 16:22
Thrashers rally from two goals down to beat Leafs in OT
TORONTO -- The Atlanta Thrashers won this one for Dan Snyder's family.
Marc Savard and Jeff Cowan scored 24 (22) seconds apart in the third
period, and Savard scored again with 15 seconds left in overtime as the
Thrashers rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on
The win came in front of the family of Snyder, the Thrashers player who
died Oct. 5 from injuries suffered in a car crash six days earlier. He
was from Elmira, Ontario, about 70 miles away.
"We played this game for Dan Snyder and his family," said Ilya Kovalchuk,
who assisted on the winning goal. "It was a difficult game for us but I
think he's happy right now."
The Thrashers, off to their best start at 5-1-2-1, attended the funeral
of Snyder in Elmira three weeks ago. The September car crash also left
All-Star Dany Heatley injured and out indefinitely. Heatley, who was
driving the car, broke his jaw and tore two ligaments in his knee.
The Thrashers rented a private box for Snyder's family, and in the first
period, the Maple Leafs put a message on the scoreboard that read "To the
Snyder family and the Atlanta Thrashers. Over the past few weeks the
Toronto Maple Leafs and the people of Toronto have been thinking about
you." A standing ovation followed and players on both benches tapped
their sticks on the ice.
"It was very touching and very appropriate," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley
said. "Toronto people are classy people and so is the Maple Leaf
Savard spoiled Ed Belfour's shutout bid with 8:03 left by redirecting
Vyacheslav Kozlov's pass from behind the net. Moments later, Cowan skated
from behind the net and scored when his backhand shot went off Belfour's
pads and in.
The Maple Leafs appeared headed for the fourth straight win when Tom
Fitzgerald gave Toronto a 2-0 lead with 10:20 left, but Savard and Cowan
quieted the crowd (with) their goals.
In overtime, Atlanta defenseman Andy Sutton received an elbowing penalty
and a unsportsmanlike penalty for smashing his stick against the glass,
but it didn't cost the Thrashers.
After Toronto's Mats Sundin evened it up by receiving a hooking penalty,
Savard flicked a wrist shot past Belfour for the win.
"We've really come together as a group and a family. We feel like a
family in here because of the stuff we've been through," Savard said.
Belfour twice robbed Kovalchuk, the NHL's leading scorer. He stacked the
pads on a one-timer in the first and made a spectacular glove save on a
point-blank shot in the second.
Fans chanted "Eddie! Eddie!" after the glove save.
"Nothing bothers us. We don't get rattled," Hartley said.
Toronto's Gary Roberts streaked toward the net and converted Fitzgerald's
cross-ice pass, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead at 6:14 of the first.
Fitzgerald gave Toronto a 2-0 lead by scoring on a partial breakaway
after Sutton turned the puck over.
"There is no excuse. That's a game we threw away," Fitzgerald said.
For the second straight week, Kovalchuk has been named the NHL's
offensive player of the week. Kovalchuk joins Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux
(1992-93) as the only players to open the regular season with consecutive
player of the week honors since the award was established in the 1980-81
Atlanta goalie Pasi Nurminen has started all nine games for Atlanta.
Belfour, 38, signed with Toronto after Curtis Joseph departed for Detroit
before last season.
Savard scores overtime winner
By JOHN MANASSO
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
Toronto -- Just call them the comeback kids.
Down 2-0 for the fourth game in a row, the Thrashers managed to win for
the second time in those games for a fifth point.
This time, they trailed the Maple Leafs by two with less than nine
minutes remaining. Unable to get past Toronto goalie Ed Belfour all game,
the Thrashers struck twice in 22 seconds to tie the score.
In overtime, Marc Savard scored for the 3-2 win with a three-on-three at
Air Canada Center.
Savard also scored with 8:03 left in regulation and Jeff Cowan, one of
two Thrashers who grew up in the Toronto area, struck on the following
A streak of points in seven straight games looked as if it were about to
morph into two losses in a row. The Thrashers knew this three-game, five-
day road trip would be a tough one, and it certainly started out that
They gave themselves little margin for error against Belfour, who made
outstanding stops all night.
Toronto struck just 6:14 into the game. With Tom Fitzgerald in the corner
with the puck, Gary Roberts got behind Kamil Piros and banged home
Fitzgerald's pass. Fitzgerald broke free after gaining a long pass during
a Thrashers line change and slid the puck between Pasi Nurminen's pads in
the third period.
One source of problems for the Thrashers that persisted Monday was the
power play. Since going 4-for-15 with the man advantage Oct. 18 against
Chicago, the Thrashers entered Monday's match 2-for-20 over their past
Despite entering the game with the most chances in the league with 60,
the Thrashers ranked 27th in efficiency at 11.7 percent. They failed on
all seven chances.
Ilya Kovalchuk has a league-leading six power-play goals, meaning the
rest of the team has just two combined, and Monday, Belfour was able to
shut him out.
Belfour made a few excellent saves -- and had a little luck -- but for
much of the night his defense yielded little open ice for the Thrashers
to create opportunities. In the first period, with the Thrashers on the
power play, Belfour stacked his pads to make a sliding save across the
crease on Kovalchuk, who took a nice pass from Slava Kozlov.
Less than a minute later, Belfour made a glove save on Yannick Tremblay,
who came in from the point and put on a hard shot.
Later, still in the first, Belfour left his net to play the puck and the
Thrashers worked the puck to Shawn McEachern at the top of the right
circle. McEachern, who remains without a goal, clanged the shot off the
Belfour continued his strong work in the second period. Late in the
period, with Fitzgerald in the penalty box for hooking, Kovalchuk took a
pass in the slot and aimed a shot at the upper right corner, but
Belfour's glove magically appeared to snare it. That stop brought chants
of "Eddie, Eddie" from the crowd.
1 2 3 OT Final
Atlanta 0 0 2 1 3
Toronto 1 0 1 0 2
First Period - 1, Toronto, Roberts 2 (Fitzgerald, Nieuwendyk), 6:14.
Penalties - Berg, TOR (high-sticking), 1:21; Berg, TOR (high-sticking),
8:26; Vigier, ATL (holding stick), 11:12; Aubin, ATL (holding stick),
17:31; Exelby, ATL (roughing), 19:49.
Second Period - No Scoring. Penalties - Roberts, TOR (high-sticking),
3:23; Fitzgerald, TOR (hooking), 16:15.
Third Period - 2, Toronto, Fitzgerald 1 (Sundin, Domi), 9:40. 3,
Atlanta, Savard 4 (Kozlov, Kaberle), 11:57. 4, Atlanta, Cowan 2
(Robitaille, Vigier), 12:19. Penalties - Nieuwendyk, TOR (high-sticking),
2:47; Santala, ATL (interference), 3:49; Tucker, TOR (hooking), 17:28;
Belfour, TOR served by Fitzgerald (roughing) 18:59.
Overtime - 5, Atlanta, Savard 5 (Kovalchuk, Tremblay), 4:45.
Penalties - Sutton, ATL double-minor (elbowing, unsportsmanlike conduct),
1:40; Sundin, TOR (hooking), 4:21.
Shots On Goal - Atlanta 6-8-11-2=27. Toronto 8-10-7-2=27.
Power-Play Conversions - Atlanta 0-7. Toronto 0-6.
Goaltenders - Atlanta, Nurminen (5-2-2)
Goaltenders - Toronto, Belfour (3-3-2)
Attendance - 19,199.
Time - 2:23
Referees - Don Koharski, Eric Furlatt.
Linesmen - Don Henderson, Tim Nowak.