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Pittsburgh
Penguins
23-47-8-4
Atlanta
Thrashers
33-37-8-4

24 SOG
33 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
PIT
ATL
game recap

Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Atlanta Thrashers 2 FINAL

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:54 AM

Associated Press

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Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Atlanta Thrashers 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Atlanta Thrashers 2

ATLANTA (AP) _ While the Atlanta Thrashers tried to get set up Ilya Kovalchuk, the Pittsburgh Penguins took advantage.

Kovalchuk, in the race for the NHL lead in goals and points, was denied on his first 13 shots before he finally scored with 5.6 seconds left. By that time, the Penguins had secured a victory, 3-2 Friday night.

The young Thrashers forward took a team-record 14 shots, breaking his own mark of 10, and netted his 40th goal, tying him for the NHL lead.

``They were going out of they way trying to set up Kovalchuk,'' Pittsburgh coach Eddie Olczyk said. ``When you start doing that, players on the opposing team will play off of that. He had a bunch of shots, but they were looking for him.

``They had a lot of times when they passed up scoring opportunities.''

Kovalchuk pulled him even with Columbus' Rick Nash and Calgary's Jarome Iginla atop the goal list. He is third in the league in points.

The Thrashers, playing their final home game, made no attempt to disguise their plan.

``We had two objectives,'' Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. ``One was to win the game and No. 2 was to try to get Kovalchuk as many goals as we possibly could.''

Kovalchuk, who was denied on six first-period shots by Jean-Sebastien Aubin, hadn't scored in five games.

``This is my first 40-goal season and I appreciate all the guys looking for me all game long,'' Kovalchuk said. ``I hadn't scored in five games. I was so close so many times.''

Aubin, who stopped 31 shots, was making his last start of the season for the Penguins. Pittsburgh will close its season Sunday at home against Washington.

Pittsburgh has the worst record in the NHL but is 9-4-3 in March and April, matching its win total for the first three months of the season.

Kelly Buchberger scored his first goal of the season for the Penguins, who were outshot 12-7 in the first period and 33-24 overall.

The Penguins took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Lasse Pirjeta with 1:12 left.

Just 1:36 into the second period, Thrashers goaltender Pasi Nurminen attempted to clear the puck but instead directed it straight to Buchberger in the left circle. Buchberger sent the puck right back past Nurminen to make it 2-0.

``Usually when I make a mistake that bad, it shows up on the scoreboard right away,'' Nurminen said.

Dany Heatley's 13th goal 9:26 into the second period cut Pittsburgh's lead to 2-1. Randy Robitaille was credited with the assist on the even-strength goal that was scored from the left circle.

Aleksey Morozov, who also assisted on Pirjeta's goal, scored into an empty net with 47 seconds remaining.

scoring summary
1st Period
18:48
PIT
Lasse Pirjeta (6) Slapshot - ASST: Aleksey Morozov (32), Josef Melichar (5)
1 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
01:36
PIT
Kelly Buchberger (1) Slapshot - ASST: NONE
2 - 0 PIT
09:26
ATL
Dany Heatley (13) Wrist shot - ASST: Randy Robitaille (25)
2 - 1 PIT
3rd Period
19:12
PIT
EN - Aleksey Morozov (16) Wrist shot - ASST: Brooks Orpik (9), Lasse Pirjeta (14)
3 - 1 PIT
19:54
ATL
Ilya Kovalchuk (40) Snap shot - ASST: Vyacheslav Kozlov (32), Randy Robitaille (26)
3 - 2 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
06:05
PIT
Jon Sim  Too many men/ice - bench
2nd Period
02:22
ATL
Francis Lessard  Charging against  Dan Focht
02:22
ATL
Francis Lessard  Roughing against  Dan Focht
02:22
PIT
Dan Focht  Roughing against  Francis Lessard
04:14
PIT
Ryan Malone  Fighting (maj) against  Ivan Majesky
04:14
ATL
Ivan Majesky  Fighting (maj) against  Ryan Malone
11:58
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Slashing against  Patrik Stefan
3rd Period
02:35
PIT
Dick Tarnstrom  Holding against  Ilya Kovalchuk
10:23
PIT
Jon Sim  Holding against  Andy Sutton
10:54
ATL
Vyacheslav Kozlov  Holding against  Ryan Malone
14:02
ATL
Daniel Tjarnqvist  Cross checking against  Kelly Buchberger
goalie stats
Jean-Sebastien Aubin
SA: 33TOI: 60:00
Saves: 31EV: 27 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .939SH: 0 - 0
Pasi Nurminen
SA: 23TOI: 58:45
Saves: 21EV: 16 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .913SH: 1 - 1