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
"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
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