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Hossa's hat trick powers Thrashers past Wings

Wednesday, 01.16.2008 / 12:19 AM / Roundup

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Marian Hossa recorded a natural hat trick as the Atlanta Thrashers routed the Red Wings 5-1 for the franchise's first win ever at Joe Louis Arena.
Hossa's hat trick 700K 700K  700K  
Marian Hossa made sure his coach would have a happy homecoming in Detroit.
   
Hossa had a natural hat trick and Kari Lehtonen made 46 saves as the Atlanta Thrashers beat the Red Wings 5-1 on Tuesday night for the franchise’s first win ever at Joe Louis Arena.
   
The win was extra special for Thrashers coach-GM Don Waddell, who was behind the bench in his home town for the first time.
   
''It's a lot of fun. Obviously, I have a lot of family and friends here — about 40 tickets or so. It was well worth it,'' said Waddell, a former assistant GM with the Wings. ''I have to say, I was looking forward to this day, and now that it's here and gone I'm pretty happy about it.”
   
Hossa made sure his coach would leave with a smile on his face by getting his seventh career hat trick and first since Jan. 16, 2007, ending the Thrashers’ 0-2-2 drought in Detroit.
   
''It's great to get three goals and help the team,'' Hossa said. ''But also help with the self-confidence.''
   
Hossa, who has 19 goals, opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 7:33 ( 700K ) when he skated out of the corner to the front of the net and beat Chris Osgood. He scored again at 14:22 ( 700K ) when he stripped the puck from Detroit defenseman Brett Lebda in the Red Wings’ zone and put a shot between Osgood's torso and arm.
   
''They were better than us early,'' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. ''They scored on their opportunities and we didn't.''

Hossa completed the hat trick at 1:14 of the second period ( 700K ) on a wrister from the high slot.
   
''They were some of the greatest goals, too,'' Waddell said. ''His first goal, coming out of the corner; his second goal; and the third goal, a one-timer off the quick pass there. Those are great goals.''
   

Osgood was replaced by Dominik Hasek after Eric Perrin’s power-play goal at 7:28 ( 700K ). It was the first time since he rejoined Detroit in 2006 that Hasek has come in during a game. Detroit is usually hesitant to bring him off the bench cold because of his history of groin injuries.
   
''Mike told me after the third goal to get ready, so I stretched a little bit,'' Hasek said. ''I stretched for about five minutes. I felt comfortable going in.''
   
The rest of the night belonged to Lehtonen, who stopped 35 of 36 shots after Perrin’s goal. Nicklas Kronwall spoiled his shutout bid with 6:18 left in the game ( 700K ). Ex-Wing Slava Kozlov added a goal with 60 seconds left ( 700K ).
   
''They just showed they never give up,'' Lehtonen said of the Wings’ barrage. ''I'm sure some teams would be done after a 4-0 lead, but they kept coming and coming and I was very lucky to be able to keep the score the way it was.''
   
Canadiens 3, Islanders 1 | Video
   
Montreal spoiled the Islanders’ return from a five-game road trip, as Tomas Plekanec scored twice against a tired-looking team.
   
The Isles went 2-1-2 on a trip through the Northwest and Ottawa, but appeared to have little energy — especially in the first period, when they were outshot 9-1.
   
"We tried our best to compensate against the long road trip with shorter shifts," Isles coach Ted Nolan said. "To come off of a trip like this, it was tough to overcome, but I give the guys a lot of credit. It just wasn't good enough."
   
Plekanec slapped a rolling puck behind Rick DiPietro at 13:49 of the first period ( 700K ), then whipped a shorthanded wrist shot from the slot into the net 5:35 into the second ( 700K ).
   
Richard Park jammed in a rebound with 9:04 left in regulation time ( 700K ) to cut the margin to 2-1, but the Isles generated only a few chances before Alex Kovalev’s empty-netter with 27.5 seconds left ( 700K ) put the game away.
   
“We had enough chances, it just took us until the third period to score one," forward Miroslav Satan said.
   
The Canadiens bounced back after a poor showing in a 4-1 road loss to the Rangers on Saturday.
   
"It was tough to take it," said Kovalev, who set up Plekanec’s second goal. "Everyone was anxious to get it right back and show that we're actually still a good team, we just had a bad game. That's why everybody was so hungry and put up a good effort."
   
Montreal goaltender Cristobal Huet bounced back from a sub-par game Saturday, when he was pulled after allowing four goals on 28 shots through two periods. He made 17 stops and looked sharp when tested.
   
“I didn't feel so well Saturday. I felt I let my team down," Huet said after the Canadiens improved to 15-7-3 on the road. "It's nice for the team and that we played well. I didn't have much to do for the win."
   
The Isles won in Ottawa on Sunday, but bad weather forced them to stay in the Canadian capital until Monday, and Montreal took advantage of its road-weary opponent.
   
"It wasn't what we were looking for, but there are no excuses," Islanders captain Bill Guerin said. "We had a bad first period."
   
Maple Leafs 5, Hurricanes 4 | Video
   

Toronto Maple Leafs ended a five-game losing streak and won for the first time in regulation in 14 games by beating the struggling Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 on Tuesday night.

The Leafs also came home from a Western trip — they went 0-3-0 in California — but ended a five-game losing streak and won for the first time in regulation in 14 games by beating the struggling Hurricanes.
   
''We've been struggling and it was nice to see a couple of bounces finally go our way,'' said Ian White, whose third-period goal gave Toronto a 5-3 lead. ''We expected a couple of wins a lot sooner than this, but we've been working hard the last couple of games and we worked hard for this one and got the result we wanted.''
   
Tomas Kaberle ( 700K ), Chad Kilger ( 700K ), Matt Stajan ( 700K ) and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored for struggling Toronto, which blew three leads before going ahead to stay on Ponikarovsky’s goal at 5:06 of the third period.
   
''It's a win and we're taking it,'' a relieved coach Paul Maurice said. ''With all that was going on ... getting back to just playing hockey ... in some ways, it becomes easier.''
   
Sergei Samsonov, Erik Cole, Andrew Ladd and Rob Brind'Amour scored for the Hurricanes, who lost their third in a row and fourth in five games.
   
''They were a desperate team, (but) so are we,'' Carolina defenseman Mike Commodore said after his team fell into a first-place tie with Atlanta in the Southeast Division. ''We haven't had the best record as of late and this was a game we needed to win.''
   
After a scoreless first period, the Leafs scored three times in the second period to take a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes. Ladd tied it 1:54 into the third period ( 700K ).
   
''We got better as the game went on, but it's unacceptable,'' Carolina's Cory Stillman said. ''In the second period, we gave up three goals and you can't afford to do that at this level.''
   
Ponikarovsky broke the final tie when he swung at a bouncing puck in front of Cam Ward and it trickled past the goalie at 5:06 ( 700K ). It was his first point in 13 games, and first goal in 14.
   
''I think it was the longest streak for me with no scoring,'' Ponikarovsky said. ''I've been working hard and, eventually, you get one.''
   
White's low blue-line shot went through traffic and Ward's legs at 8:20 ( 700K ).
   
''I think it went off somebody,'' White said. ''There wasn't a whole lot on it so he couldn't have seen it.''
   
Blue Jackets 3, Canucks 2 | Video
   
Columbus continues to play well at home. Jason Chimera broke a 2-2 tie with 3:17 left in the second period ( 700K ) as the Blue Jackets improved to 16-6-4 at home by winning their team-record sixth in a row at Nationwide Arena.
   
The Jackets blew a 2-0 first-period lead, but went ahead to stay when Dan Fritsche wristed a pass to Chimera, who redirected it for his seventh goal — and second in three games after a 25-game goal drought.
   
In the last minute, Pascal Leclaire stopped Ryan Kesler's point-blank shot from the slot ( 700K ). Kesler snapped his stick in half over knee in frustration. With less than four seconds left, Leclaire helped avert another threat when he gloved a pass through the crease.
   
''When their goalie's out, everybody throws the puck at the net,'' Leclaire said. ''They did that often tonight, too, from the corners, just trying to create some confusion in front and trying to get that ugly goal on a rebound. When the clock is running down, you just throw it in front and see what happens and hopefully it hits something.''
   
Columbus jumped to a quick 2-0 lead on power-play goals by Ron Hainsey ( 700K ) and Nikolai Zherdev ( 700K ). Vancouver got one back late in the opening period when ex-Jacket Kris Beech ( 700K ) scored, then tied it at 13:18 of the second period when Daniel Sedin put the puck into an empty net after a perfect pass from his brother Henrik ( 700K ).
   
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault remains mystified why his team is 0-14-1 when trailing after two periods.
   
''We haven't had one comeback all year. We weren't able to muster one tonight,'' he said. ''We are very good when we have the lead, but mental toughness is being able to push through and make a push in the third. I think we have that, but we haven't shown it this year this, not once. And I have no reason why.''
   
Now comes the hard part for Columbus — winning on the road, where it is 6-12-2. The Jackets play their next five games away from home.
   
'We have to prove we can win on the road,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “There's no better feeling than winning on the road. We've pretty much done our job at home, but we're going to have to play at a higher level to win on the road.''

Avalanche 3, Lightning 0 | Video
    

Colorado goaltender Jose Theodore stopped all 32 saves he faced as the Avalanche blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0.

It was a night Jose Theodore will want to remember — and Lightning coach John Tortorella won’t let his team forget. Theodore stopped 32 shots for his first shutout in nearly five years as the Avalanche won at Tampa Bay, triggering a postgame blast from Tortorella at his team after the Lightning managed just 10 shots through two periods.
  
 “It's probably the most embarrassed and disappointed I've been since I've been here," Tortorella said. "I've never been more embarrassed."
    
The Bolts fired 22 shots at Theodore in the third period, but he stopped them all for his 24th career shutout and first since Feb. 28, 2004.
    
"It feels like it's been a while, obviously," said Theodore, who had gone 109 games without a shutout. "Every time you enter a game, you always think about the shutout. You want to win, but when you look back, it's always a bonus. A shutout is really a team effort."
    
Jeff Finger ( 700K ) and Paul Stastny ( 700K ) had power-play goals for the Avalanche, who have won three games in a row. Milan Hejduk added an empty-net goal with 1:34 left ( 700K ).
    
"It was one of those games where special teams got us the win in the end," Stastny said.
    
Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier was held without a point for the third straight game, his longest drought this season.
  
Tampa Bay had 10 of the first 12 shots during the opening six minutes of the third, but Theodore turned aside a close-in shot by Martin St. Louis.
    
"I thought he was rock solid," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said of his goaltender. "He looks real sharp in this last stretch of games, and tonight was as good as we've seen him."
    
The Lightning, losers of 12 of their last 15 games, are looking for answers to a slump that has dropped them to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
    
“I don't know why, but we didn't realize we were in a game until the third period," center Brad Richards said. "We didn't get a power play until the third because we didn't have the puck and didn't want the puck. We didn't try to get the puck. We were down 2-0 because we didn't come to play."

Coyotes 5, Sharks 3 | Video

Phoenix is finally figuring out how to win at home — and how to beat the Sharks. Shane Doan had two goals and an assist and rookie Peter Mueller had three assists as the Coyotes won their fourth straight game at Jobing.com Arena.
    
The Coyotes lost their first four games to San Jose by a combined score of 16-1 before winning 3-2 in a shootout last month.
    
''Confidence-wise, we're a much more confident group right now,'' Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. ''They believe in each other. They believe in the system that we're playing. Early in the year, it was a new system for a lot of people.''
    
Joel Perrault broke a 3-3 tie 49 seconds into the third period ( 700K ) when he scooped up a rebound of Ed Jovanovski's shot at the right circle and fired it through a swarm of Sharks and past goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Doan added an insurance goal when he scored off a scramble in front of the net at 6:48 ( 700K ).
    
''I don't know if it's sending a message, but it's definitely one that we knew that we had to win,'' said Doan, who has an eight-game point streak. ''We didn't want to give them the idea that it was going to be easy every night against us, because they've had it easy. This was big for us to find a way to win tonight.''
    
The Pacific Division-leading Sharks, who are second in the Western Conference, dropped back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game skid from Dec. 18-22.
    
''They played well,'' said center Joe Thornton, who had a goal and an assist. ''They're getting better. Maybe we just thought we could throw our hat in the ring and win, but it's not the case anymore.''
    
Phoenix is home through the All-Star break, and Gretzky said his team has to dominate at home to be a serious playoff contender. The Coyotes are 9-10-1 at home, but 15-10-0 on the road.
    
''We talked about it before the game,'' Gretzky said. ''This is a huge homestand for us. We have five games in a row here before the All-Star break. It's an opportunity for us to really get ourselves in the middle of this race".

Predators 3, Flames 0 | Video
    

Predators goaltender Chris Mason made 22 saves as Nashville cooled off Calgary's offense in a 3-0 win over the Flames.

Nashville cooled off Calgary’s offense after allowing 12 goals in a pair of losses to the Flames. Chris Mason stopped 22 shots and J.P. Dumont had a goal and an assist as the Predators handed Calgary its fourth straight loss.
    
''When we played Calgary before, we were still trying to find our identity as a team,'' Mason said. ''I don't think we were playing our best hockey the last two times we met Calgary.''
    
The Flames had beaten Nashville 7-4 and 5-1 earlier in the season.
    
''This time out was probably one of our better games of the year,'' Mason said. ''We were strong in all areas. We stayed disciplined. Our forwards were unbelievable. Our defensemen were magnificent. We didn’t have any weakness in our game.''
    
Martin Erat opened the scoring at 11:34 of the second period ( 700K ), beating Miikka Kiprusoff with a one-timer from the top of the slot. Dumont scored on a wraparound at 15:03 ( 700K ), extending his point streak to nine games, and set up Ville Koistinen’s power-play goal 49 seconds into the third period ( 700K ).
    
After Koistinen's goal, Kiprusoff was replaced by Curtis McElhinney.
''I'm concerned about the effort,'' Calgary coach Mike Keenan said. ''The work ethic is the biggest concern. If you were really fair in evaluating us, Nashville outworked us for most of the game and that has nothing to do with X's and O's. It has to do with effort.''

The Predators outshot Calgary, 38-22.

''We were in the box a lot and that gave Nashville a lot of shots and momentum,'' Calgary captain Jarome Iginla said. 'They kept us from doing what we like to do and kept us out of their zone. We have to play better.''

Kings 3, Oilers 1 | Video
    
Los Angeles wouldn’t let the Oilers get over the .500 mark, winning at Edmonton behind a 25-save effort by Jason LaBarbera and a goal and an assist by Patrick O’Sullivan.
    
Dustin Penner had the lone goal for Edmonton, which had its four-game winning streak stopped. The Oilers, now 21-22-4, also failed to go over the .500 mark for the first time since their fourth game of the season and missed the chance to sweep a five-game homestand.

O’Sullivan put the Kings ahead 5:45 into the game ( 700K ) when he fired a pass from Anze Kopitar past Mathieu Garon. O’Sullivan intercepted Robert Nilsson’s pass early in the second period and set up Dustin Brown’s goal at 3:54 ( 700K ). The Kings outshot Edmonton 13-3 in the opening frame.
    
“We took too long to get going,” said Penner. “We let them take the play to us in the first period.”

Lubomir Visnovsky’s power-play goal at 6:30 of the third period made it 3-0 ( 700K ) before Penner’s goal at 10:49 spoiled LaBarbera’s shutout ( 700K ).
    
The Kings have won three in a row and six of eight after an eight-game losing streak.
    
“Tonight was a very strong game for us," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "We did a great job, I thought, of hanging on to the puck and really challenging an Oiler ‘D’ that's playing with a lot of confidence right now. I thought we backchecked really well."
    
Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish he isn't quite sure why his team can't seem to get over the .500 mark.
    
"I'm not of the belief that it is something psychological, that it's some kind of burden we can't overcome,” he said. “We can overcome it. It's not the way we wanted to go on the road. But we did a lot of things right on this homestand and we'll have to remember this lesson of why we lost the hockey game."

Ducks 4, Stars 2 | Video
   

The defending champs moved into second place in the Pacific Division with a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. 

The defending champion Ducks continue to surge following the return of Scott Niedermayer. Last spring’s Conn Smythe winner had a goal and two assists as the Ducks knocked off Dallas to climb over the Stars and into second place in the Pacific Division with their fourth straight victory.
    
Niedermayer’s goal at 4:41 of the opening period tied the game less than a minute after Niklas Hagman had put the Stars ahead. He also assisted on second-period goals by Todd Marchant and Ryan Getzlaf as the Ducks improved to 10-2-2 since his return.
    
"We had a dominating second period and then we seemed to build on that," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "Our power play got us some big goals tonight. We were able to shut down their power play. In the games that we previously lost to them, we lost the specialty teams battles. It’s amazing how much of a factor that can be in your success."
    
The return of Niedermayer has turned the Ducks from a team scrapping for a playoff berth to one that’s eager to defend its title. They are one point behind San Jose in the Pacific Division.
    
“We had gotten kind of stale,” said center Todd Marchant, whose goal midway through the second period put the Ducks ahead to stay. “Adding Scott and Doug Weight brought a new dynamic.”
    
Dallas’ Loui Eriksson scored with 23 seconds left in the second period, but Todd Bertuzzi’s power-play goal 8:37 into the third period gave Anaheim some insurance as
the Ducks beat Dallas for the first time in four tries this season and won their seventh straight game at Honda Center.
  
 "The guys have been working hard trying to play the way we need to as a team," Niedermayer said. "We’re just trying to build something here. It’s tough. The standings are tight. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing."
    
Dallas lost its third in a row and is 2-6-1 in its last nine games.    
  
 "We knew the kind of game we were going to get tonight," said goalie Marty Turco, whose 32 saves included one on Chris Kunitz’s third-period penalty shot. "That's a good team over there that is playing great. But it's more about us and what we can do better as a team. We've been in a lull lately, not playing as well as we can, and we need to recognize where we are and what we can do. We have to start making each other better and doing the little things that win hockey games."
    
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media were used in this report.

Quote of the Day

The old saying in hockey is 'weather the storm.' I put the notion in their heads that we don't want to weather the storm, we want to push just as hard and matched their work ethic. I thought our guys exceeded that in the first period.

— Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins after their loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday
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