ATLANTA (AP) -- The up-and-down Atlanta Thrashers are in another upswing,
thanks mostly to Ronald Petrovicky.
Petrovicky scored twice -- running his total to three in the past two games --
and Byron Dafoe made 25 saves to help the Atlanta Thrashers beat the
Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 Sunday night.
Ilya Kovalchuk added his NHL-leading 21st goal and Slava Kozlov also scored
for the Thrashers, who won their second straight after a three-game losing
streak, during which they were shut out in each. They increased their lead in
the Southeast Division to five points over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"We've had a good first half of the season, but we can't hang our hat on
that," Dafoe said. "Points are harder to get in the second half."
John LeClair had a power-play goal for the Flyers, who fell behind 1-0 for
the 13th straight game when Petrovicky scored only 1:29 after the faceoff.
Philadelphia has won just once in seven games (1-2-2-2), but stayed tied with
Toronto for the points lead in the NHL.
"I think the problem is you can't expect to win hockey games if you don't
have everybody competing," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We did not have
enough guys willing to pay the price."
During the losing streak, Atlanta went 182 minutes, 32 seconds without a
goal, but Petrovicky broke that drought eight seconds into Saturday's victory
over Pittsburgh. He got the Thrashers off to another fast start -- although not
quite so quickly -- by stealing a pass from goaltender Jeff Hackett.
Hackett wandered behind the net to play the puck, then tried to get it to
defenseman Jim Vandermeer. But the pass was weak, and Petrovicky skated in and
snared it, then easily put the puck in the open net for a 1-0 lead.
"That's the nature of the game, just a little mistake by Hackett,"
Petrovicky said. "He and the defenseman just miscommunicated, and I was in the
right spot at the right time.
"It's good to get a lucky bounce."
The Flyers, with the best power play in the league, tied it during the man
advantage early in the second period. Tony Amonte passed from the blue line to
Michal Handzus in the corner, who then fed LeClair right in front.
He stuffed the puck passed Dafoe to make it 1-1.
Petrovicky scored the go-ahead goal after a brilliant pass from Kovalchuk
midway through the second period. Kovalchuk fought his way past defenseman Kim
Johnsson and chased down the puck in the corner, then patiently waited for
Petrovicky to skate toward the crease.
The pass went cleanly to Petrovicky, who beat Hackett for a 2-1 lead.
Kozlov made it a two-goal lead during a power play about 31/2 minutes later,
skating with the puck from his own zone and using a screen by Marc Savard to
slip a shot through Hackett's legs.
That goal came with just two seconds left with the man advantage.
"They have very young players, and in the second period, they were a team
on a mission," Hackett said. "They played with a lot of energy. They have a
lot going for them."