ATLANTA (AP) _ With slim playoff hopes still alive, the Atlanta Thrashers
got some help from a goal post.
Seconds after Brendan Witt's shot hit the post behind Atlanta's Pasi
Nurminen, Shawn McEachern scored to spark a three-goal spurt in the Thrashers'
5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
Vyacheslav Kozlov scored his 20th goal as the Thrashers scored three times
in the final 6:08. Atlanta is 11th in the Eastern Conference and trails the
eighth-place New York Islanders by nine points with 13 games to play.
``It's nice to have 20 goals, but it's most important that we win,'' Kozlov
said. ``We have to win every game ... It's Game 7 of the playoffs right now.''
Randy Robitaille and Andy Sutton also scored for Atlanta, which tied its
franchise record with 15 home wins and broke a four-game winless streak.
Washington dropped its fourth straight.
``It's all about timing,'' Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. ``It's a matter
of taking advantage of your scoring chances.''
Kozlov also had two assists for the Thrashers, who squandered a 2-0 lead
before finishing with a flourish.
Brian Willsie had a goal and assist for the Capitals, outshot 28-21.
``It was frustrating, getting ourselves back in the game and then losing
like that,'' Willsie said. ``We are doing a good job at getting ourselves back
into it, but we can't get over the hump and put the games away.''
Atlanta took a 1-0 lead when Robitaille scored at 13:56 of the first period.
For the 11th time in 14 games, the Thrashers notched a power-play goal when
Sutton scored from between the circles 9:20 into the second.
Earlier in the period, Atlanta had an apparent goal by Ronald Petrovicky
disallowed because the Thrashers had too many men on the ice. Ilya Kovalchuk
was knocked to the ice on a cross-check and was slow getting off on the line
``It was the correct call,'' Hartley said, ``but I would like to have seen a
penalty on the cross-check.''
Capitals goalie Sebastien Charpentier fell to 0-6. Nurminen (24-26-6) turned
away 19 shots.
``We took some really important points if we want to stay on a playoff
run,'' Nurminen said. ``We've got to believe. We all did our job. If we can win
most or all of our games, we are going to be close.''
Washington cut the deficit to 2-1 with six minutes left in the second, when
Alexander Semin scored past Pasi Nurminen. Willsie tied it after taking a feed
off the boards from Todd Rohloff.