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Carolina
Hurricanes
52-22-8
Atlanta
Thrashers
41-33-8

25 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CAR
ATL
game recap

Thrashers 5, Hurricanes 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Thrashers 5, Hurricanes 2
Carolina Hurricanes 2, Atlanta Thrashers 5

ATLANTA (AP) - With five games remaining, Thrashers coach Bob Hartley has Atlanta's season in perspective.

"Right now, I root for any team that plays against Tampa Bay," Hartley said. "I think it is only normal at this point. We need help, and any teams that want to chip in, we really appreciate their help."

Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 51st goal to offset Justin Williams' two-goal effort and keep Atlanta's slim playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

The Thrashers have won two of three, but remain six points behind Tampa Bay and Montreal, tied for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Hartley, who coached the Colorado Avalanche to Stanley Cup title in 2001, knows the Atlanta needs other teams to beat Tampa Bay. The Thrashers, who travel to face the Lightning on Tuesday, dropped to 1-5 against Tampa Bay following a shootout loss on Thursday.

"We have to give credit to Tampa Bay, New Jersey and Montreal," Hartley said of the three teams leading Atlanta. "They have put on some great streaks, but by winning our games, we stay in the race and stand a chance to win."

Carolina, which is tied with Ottawa for first in the East, saw its three-game winning streak end. The Hurricanes were coming off a three-game series against Washington.

"We need some time to rest mentally," Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour said. "I don't think I've ever played this many games in this amount of time. Mentally, it gets to be like Groundhog Day. You try to get up and play with all that intensity, but sometimes it's hard to face it, and we just ran out of it tonight."

Kovalchuk scored his NHL-leading 26th power-play goal to make it 3-0 with 1:58 left in the first period.

Williams closed the gap to 3-1 early in the second period when he took Brind'Amour's pass across the bottom of the slot to beat Atlanta goalie Mike Dunham.

Peter Bondra restored the three-goal advantage with his 19th goal 1:05 later. Scott Mellanby added another goal to make it 5-1 early in the third period before Williams ended the scoring with his 30th goal, a snap wrister from the slot, midway through the third.

"It was a fatigue issue tonight," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "There just wasn't a whole lot of energy. I'm not making excuses, because we had a game on the schedule tonight. It's the last game at the end of a long trip, and we're expected to win that game."

Marc Savard opened the scoring with his 28th goal 3:19 into the first period. Serge Aubin extended the lead 11 seconds after Jim Slater missed a penalty shot.

Dunham, who started for the first time in 29 games, had 23 saves. Kari Lehtonen didn't dress after leaving two nights ago with a sprained ankle.

"Obviously, losing Kari is a tough situation for us, but Dunham stepped into a tough situation the other night, and he has played great," said Mellanby, Atlanta's captain. "He is a very capable goalie."

Martin Gerber made 29 saves for the Hurricanes.

Notes: Bondra now has 496 career goals, which ranks ninth among active players. ... Mellanby scored his 800th career point. ... Eric Staal, Carolina's leading scorer with 44 goals, was frustrated after taking first-period penalties and getting his helmet knocked off with 11 minutes remaining. Atlanta's Andy Sutton was called for hooking on the play, but Staal responded by earning his 52nd assist. ... The Thrashers are 18-7-4 over the last 29 home games. ... Carolina's all-time record against Atlanta is now 17-8-9.

scoring summary
1st Period
03:19
ATL
Marc Savard (28) ASST: Marian Hossa (49), Greg De Vries (26)
1 - 0 ATL
15:21
ATL
Serge Aubin (7) ASST: Brad Larsen (8), Derek MacKenzie (1)
2 - 0 ATL
18:02
ATL
PPG - Ilya Kovalchuk (51) ASST: Marian Hossa (50), Steve McCarthy (7)
3 - 0 ATL
2nd Period
04:36
CAR
PPG - Justin Williams (29) ASST: Rod Brind'Amour (37)
3 - 1 ATL
05:41
ATL
Peter Bondra (19) ASST: Garnet Exelby (8), Greg De Vries (27)
4 - 1 ATL
3rd Period
02:58
ATL
Scott Mellanby (11) ASST: Bobby Holik (17), Niclas Havelid (26)
5 - 1 ATL
09:37
CAR
PPG - Justin Williams (30) ASST: Eric Staal (52)
5 - 2 ATL
penalty summary
1st Period
12:41
CAR
Eric Staal  Slashing against  Marc Savard
17:35
CAR
Eric Staal  Cross checking against  Jim Slater
19:03
ATL
Andy Sutton  Interference
2nd Period
01:19
CAR
Doug Weight  Hi-sticking against  Niclas Havelid
04:29
ATL
Derek MacKenzie  Hooking against  Matt Cullen
09:53
ATL
Garnet Exelby  Roughing against  Josef Vasicek
18:01
ATL
Jaroslav Modry  Hi-sticking
3rd Period
09:00
ATL
Andy Sutton  Hooking
09:00
ATL
Jim Slater  Misconduct (10 min) against  Kevyn Adams
09:00
CAR
Kevyn Adams  Misconduct (10 min) against  Jim Slater
17:44
ATL
Marc Savard  Hooking against  Aaron Ward
17:44
CAR
Aaron Ward  Diving against  Marc Savard
17:44
CAR
Aaron Ward  Unsportsmanlike conduct
goalie stats
Martin Gerber
SA: 34TOI: 60:00
Saves: 29EV: 25 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .853SH: 1 - 1
Mike Dunham
SA: 25TOI: 60:00
Saves: 23EV: 15 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 9
SV%: .920SH: 1 - 1