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Thrashers rally, win in OT

Tuesday, 11.20.2007 / 12:50 AM / Roundup

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Thrashers center Todd White celebrates his game winning goal in overtime which gave Atlanta a 4-3 victory over the Lightning on Monday night.
With the firepower the Atlanta Thrashers possess up front, Don Waddell’s team can never be counted out.
       
The Tampa Bay Lightning found that out the hard way.
       
Bryan Little and Ilya Kovalchuk erased a 3-1 deficit by scoring just 2:55 apart late in the third period, and Todd White scored on the power play 2:49 into overtime as the Thrashers won their third straight and got back to the .500 mark with a 4-3 victory over the Lightning at Philips Arena on Monday night.

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Waddell, who took over for Bob Hartley on Oct. 18 after the Thrashers stumbled out of the gate with six straight losses, has pushed all right buttons since going behind the bench. Atlanta improved to 5-0 in overtime and 10-4 under Waddell.
       
White has scored two of those five OT tallies for the surging Thrashers.
       
''I don't know what it is about overtime,'' White said. ''But I told them I was good for one (winner) a year. This makes two. I don't know.''
       
Of course, the Thrashers had to overcome another phenomenal effort from Tampa Bay center Vincent Lecavalier, who notched a goal and an assist to extend his NHL scoring lead to 34 points. Lecavalier has tallied at least two points in eight consecutive games. It’s the longest such streak since Jaromir Jagr accomplished the feat in 10 straight games back in 1996 while with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
       
Tampa Bay held a 3-1 lead when Martin St. Louis potted his eighth goal of the season midway through the third period, but a two-man advantage allowed Little the close the gap with 5:18 left in regulation. Kovalchuk tied the game with 2:23 to play, when he beat Johan Holmqvist on a wrist shot. Holmqvist, who made his eighth straight start for the Lightning, finished with 20 saves.
       
White, skating on a line with Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa, potted the game-winner when he took a pass from Kovalchuk and lifted a shot over Holmqvist to keep the Thrashers perfect in the extra session.
       
''Todd looks like a 60-goal scorer out there,'' Kovalchuk said. ''His first overtime goal was top shelf and this one (went) low.''
       
Waddell was extremely proud of the way his team fought back. The Lightning failed to record a shot on goal in overtime and mustered only four in the third period. Johan Hedberg finished with 17 saves for Atlanta.
       
''We did a great job in the third period,'' Waddell said. ''We only gave them four shots. We shut them down until they got the third goal, but this team never feels they are out of it.''
       
Islanders 2, Rangers 1 | Video
       
Whether it’s at the Nassau Coliseum or Madison Square Garden, the Islanders continue to give their fiercest rival fits.
       
Ruslan Fedotenko and Josef Vasicek scored in the second period, and Rick DiPietro earned his 100th career victory as the Isles improved to 3-0 against the Blueshirts this season in the first meeting between the teams in the Big Apple.
       
''It means I've been in the league a couple of years, I guess,'' DiPietro said of the milestone. ''It's a long way to go and hopefully a lot more wins.''
         
DiPietro – who finished with 18 saves – helped snap the Rangers’ five-game winning streak, and, in the process, gave the Islanders their 500th road victory in franchise history. The Isles are now 8-1-2 in their last 11 games against the Rangers.
       
''It's a big road game,'' DiPietro said. ''It's a division game. We have played well in here the last four or five games.''
        
Fedotenko gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead just eight seconds into the second period on a power play goal. With Michael Rozsival in the penalty box, as he collected a loose puck in the left circle before beating Henrik Lundqvist for his sixth goal of the season.
       
Vasicek, who entered the game as the Isles’ leading scorer, put his team up by a pair less than six minutes later. Leading an odd-man rush, Vasicek elected to shoot from the left circle and beat Lundqvist with a wrist shot to make it 2-0.
       
''We have to give Ricky a lot of credit,'' said Vasicek, who scored the lone goal in Friday night’s 1-0 win at New Jersey. ''He stood tall. He's given us confidence in our game.''
       
Rozsival got his team back in the game with a shorthanded goal at the 6:37 mark of the second. Rozsival, who had a career-high 10 goals last season, notched his seventh tally of the 2007-08 campaign when he took a pass from Brendan Shanahan and fired a shot past DiPietro to make it 2-1. It was Rozsival’s second shorthanded goal in as many games.
       
But the Islanders didn’t fold and kept the pressure on Lundqvist and the Rangers by recording 11 of the final 13 shots on goal in the middle frame. Neither team found the back of the net in the third, as the Rangers out-shot the Isles 6-5 in the final 20 minutes of play.
       
''It's weird. We don't really get it,'' Lundqvist said of the Islanders’ success against the Rangers. ''They've been good. They play smart.''
       
Panthers 4, Capitals 3 | Video
       
Brooks Laich of the Washington Capitals is hit into the boards by the Florida Panthers' Jay Bouwmeester.
Things certainly aren’t getting any better in Washington, where the struggling Capitals lost their fourth straight and dropped to 2-6 on home ice this season.
       
Olli Jokinen scored twice for Florida, which entered the contest with a record of 2-8-1 on the road and had dropped its last four games away from the BankAtlantic Center. The Panthers nearly let another third period get out of control, as they gave up two goals late to allow the Caps to get back into the game. Florida allowed three goals in the third period on Nov. 9 against Atlanta, and allowed the Thrashers to tie a game with three seconds left four days later. They went on to lose that contest in overtime.
       
This, time, though, there was just enough gas left in the tank to come away with the two points.
''I think when you look at the third-period fade, we won the hockey game,'' Florida coach Jacques Martin said. ''I think it's a matter of going through those experiences, and hopefully learning from them and being better.''
        
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead when David Booth redirected Ruslan Salei’s shot past Olaf Kolzig 3:33 into the game. Washington, however, tied it less than two minutes later when Brooks Laich beat Tomas Vokoun for a shorthanded goal to make it 1-1.
       
Vokoun, who has started 19 of 22 games this season, made 27 saves for the Panthers.
       
Kamil Kreps scored what proved to be the game winner at the 19:09 mark of the first period. Jokinen made it a two-goal game with his 10th tally of the season at the 13:45 mark of the second. He made it a 4-1 contest 6:54 into the third, but the Panthers were far from winning for the ninth time in their last 11 meetings in Washington.
       
''I don't know why we relaxed,'' Jokinen said. ''If you give those guys room, they're going to find a way to score. They were definitely cheating a little bit and going for offense for the last 10 minutes. (It's) good for us they didn't get that third one.''
       
They didn’t, but the Capitals did fight back, as Alexander Semin cut the deficit in half with his first goal of the season at the 8:14 mark of the third. Chris Clark made it a one-goal game when he beat Vokoun with 6:25 to play in regulation. But Washington failed to notch the equalizer and suffered yet another tough loss.
       
''It's not a lot of fun right now,'' Kolzig said. ''Guys were just being a little too tight. We just need to relax and (coach) Glen (Hanlon) stressed that after the second period. Guys need to lighten up, loosen up -- it's a hockey game -- and when we did that you saw how we played in the third.''
       
Blues 2, Predators 1 | Video
       
Paul Kariya had a goal and an assist against his former team, and Manny Legace made 24 saves to give St. Louis its fourth straight win.
       
Brad Boyes also continued his impressive start to the season, as the forward potted his 12th goal of the campaign when he redirected Kariya’s shot past Nashville goalie Chris Mason 6:40 into the third period. The tally gave the Blues a 2-0 lead.
       
''He's opportunistic, deserving,'' Blues coach Andy Murray said of Boyes. ''He's around the net. I thought that line was very poor in the first period -- Boyes, Kariya and (Keith) Tkachuk. I thought they elevated their game as it went along.''
       
The Predators attempted a comeback when Radek Bonk found the back of the net with 1:03 to play. But it was simply a case of too little, too late for Nashville, which dropped to 10-8-2 on the season.
       
Predators coach Barry Trotz was disappointed, especially following Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Blues at the Sommet Center. Monday was Nashville’s first regulation loss in November (6-1-2).
       
''The other night we probably deserved a little better fate and they sort of stole one from us,'' Trotz said. ''Tonight, it was a pretty even hockey game. If we score on our chances ... we had three breakaways. We had a couple up the middle. They just didn't go in.''
       
Kariya – who played for the Predators the past two seasons – gave the Blues a 1-0 lead with a power play goal 9:32 into the second period. With Greg Zanon in the box, Kariya was able to redirect Erik Johnson’s blast from the point past Mason for his fifth goal of the season.
       
''It was a lucky play,'' Kariya said. ''The puck just happened to hit my stick. (Johnson's) got such a bomb, he can put those in himself.''
       
Stars 3, Kings 0 | Video
       
The Dallas Stars defeated the Los Angeles Kings in the Lone Star State for the 10th consecutive time.
It’s pretty much safe to say at this point that if Los Angeles had a choice, it would prefer not to play in Dallas.
       
Mike Smith stopped all 22 shots he faced for his fourth career shutout, as the Stars beat the Kings in the Lone Star State for the 10th straight time. It was a nice turn of events for Dallas, which surrendered a four-goal lead in the third period and dropped a 6-5 overtime decision to the Kings on Nov. 10.
       
Smith made his second straight start after watching the Stars’ previous five games. Clearly, he’s intent on making the most of any opportunity he receives from coach Dave Tippett.
       
''I'm going to enjoy this while I have it,'' Smith said. ''I'm just going with the flow right now. The coach wants to keep (who starts) a secret as much as he can.''
       
Steve Ott broke a scoreless tie in the second period with his 12th goal in 214 career games. The checking forward was happy to see his team rebound from that Nov. 10 loss against L.A. – one that sparked a shakeup in the front office.
       
''It didn't even need to be mentioned,'' Ott said. ''It was still in the back of all of our minds. We remembered it and wanted to have a big game against them.''
       
Niklas Hagman gave Dallas a 2-0 lead when he scored on a breakaway with 6:50 to play in the third period. Jere Lehtinen potted his sixth goal of the season via the power play just 2:14 later to put the game out of reach.
       
''It was good to play the way we did in the third, especially remembering what happened last game against these guys,'' Hagman said.
       
Meanwhile, the Kings are in the midst of a slump. The loss dropped Los Angeles to 0-3-1 in its last four games. Jason LaBarbera received little help from his offense in a 23-save effort. While the Kings have been known for third-period rallies, Kings forward Anze Kopitar knows his team needs to get off to better starts.
       
“We can't rely on that all the time,'' Kopitar said. ''It was a one-goal game, so we were back in it with one shot. But we can't give up two more goals like that and expect to win.''

Material from wire services was used in this report.
Quote of the Day

We've got a team filled with captains, that's what I think. With these first two games we got in, we're really dominating and moving the puck really fast, and it's worked out really good.

— U.S. goalie Brandon Halverson after a 6-0 win against Germany in the World Junior Championship on Sunday