|ATL||1||2||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|PIT||1||2||1||(0 - 0)||4|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- If Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk was trying to get the attention of the inconsistent Ramzi Abid and Aleksey Morozov by sitting them down, it worked.
Abid scored on a two-on-one break with 3:43 remaining and Pittsburgh rallied twice to beat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-3 on Monday night before the Penguins' smallest home crowd in nearly eight years.
The turnout of 9,576 was the Penguins' worst since 7,170 braved a snowstorm Dec. 19, 1995, to watch them play Calgary.
The Penguins' attendance is down more than 3,000 per game from last season, causing the team to announce owner-player Mario Lemieux had turned down the $5 million raise offered him by the team's board.
Those who didn't show up missed an infrequent Penguins victory, only their third in 13 games.
As Atlanta defenseman Chris Tamer tried to control the puck along the left wing boards, Morozov skated past, grabbed it and found Abid breaking in from the opposite wing for his second goal and first since Oct. 18.
"The credit all goes to Aleksey," Abid said. "He was very unselfish on that. I had an open net and he got it to me."
"I was trying to move the puck and he got his stick on it and got the puck," Tamer said. "It laid there and then there were two guys on it."
Both Abid and Morozov were healthy scratches Saturday night against Carolina. Abid had been benched for five consecutive games and hadn't scored since the fourth game of the season. Morozov had only one point in six games.
Asked if he saw what he wanted from Morozov, Olczyk said, "Absolutely."
Penguins rookie goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped a six-game losing streak that dated to Nov. 1, turning aside 24 of 27 shots and holding Atlanta scoreless for the final 33 minutes. The No. 1 draft pick is 4-8-2.
Atlanta -- 1-14-0-2 in its history against Pittsburgh -- lost its third in eight games. The Thrashers were coming off a 2-1 win Saturday against Tampa Bay that put them back into first place in the Southeast Division.
"We (threw) those two points away," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "We got outworked. It's very simple; we were not ready. Three-quarters of our team has never been a part of the playoffs, so you shouldn't let down. You should be waking up and looking at the standings every morning."
That's not recommended for the Penguins, who went into the game with a league-low 15 points.
The Thrashers led 2-1 and 3-2, but the Penguins rallied to tie it each time against goalie Pasi Nurminen. Dick Tarnstrom scored his fifth of the season off a rebound in the slot to make it 2-all early in the second, 41 seconds after J.P. Vigier's short-handed goal gave Atlanta the lead. Tarnstrom and Abid each had a goal and an assist.
Drake Berehowsky fanned on a shot, allowing Vigier to scoop up the puck and beat Fleury on a breakaway for the league-high ninth short-handed goal against Pittsburgh in 23 games.
Marc Savard later put Atlanta up 3-2 on a power play. Savard returned after sitting out a one-game suspension Saturday for biting the glove of Toronto's Darcy Tucker.
"We never accepted what the score was at any time," Olczyk said. "Every time you turned around, we battled back."
Ryan Malone tied it again for Pittsburgh midway through the second period, tapping in Mike Eastwood's pass -- the game's first even-strength goal since Pittsburgh's Brian Holzinger scored his second in as many games with 121/2 minutes gone.
Ilya Kovalchuk answered that with his third in four games, taking Frantisek Kaberle's pass from the right point to beat Fleury from the high slot for his NHL-leading 18th goal. Kovalchuk has five goals in eight games against Pittsburgh.
|Brian Holzinger (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Marc Bergevin (4), Dick Tarnstrom (8)|
1 - 0 PIT
|PPG - Ilya Kovalchuk (18) Slapshot - ASST: Frantisek Kaberle (14), Marc Savard (10)|
1 - 1 Tie
|SHG - Jean-Pierre Vigier (5) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE|
2 - 1 ATL
|PPG - Dick Tarnstrom (5) Snap shot - ASST: Ramzi Abid (1), Milan Kraft (3)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Marc Savard (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Shawn McEachern (18), Vyacheslav Kozlov (10)|
3 - 2 ATL
|Ryan Malone (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Mike Eastwood (7), Matt Bradley (2)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Ramzi Abid (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Aleksey Morozov (5), Brooks Orpik (4)|
4 - 3 PIT
|Josef Melichar Cross checking against Ronald Petrovicky|
|Shawn Heins Cross checking against Ryan Malone|
|Serge Aubin Hi-sticking against Tomas Surovy|
|Serge Aubin Hi-sticking against Tomas Surovy|
|Tom Kostopoulos Holding against Bill Lindsay|
|Patrick Boileau Slashing against Shawn McEachern|
|Brooks Orpik Cross checking against Marc Savard|
|Jeff Cowan Cross checking against Aleksey Morozov|