ATLANTA 4, ISLANDERS 1
By Jason Lockhart and Adam Metwaly
First-period goals by J.P. Vigier, Marian Hossa and Brad Larsen were all Atlanta needed as they cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Islanders Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum. Starting on consecutive nights, goaltender Johan Hedberg stopped 23 of 24 shots.
Atlanta took a 1-0 lead when Vigier chipped in his second tally of the season over Rick DiPietro following a net-mouth scramble at 2:59 into the game.
It was 2-0 when Niko Kapanen intercepted DiPietro's clearing attempt and threw it in front to Hossa, who deflected it home with 2:42 left in the first period for his team-leading 12th goal of the season.
Larsen made it 3-0 with his second goal of the season, after he deflected Bobby Holik's pass out of mid-air with 1:33 remaining in the first period.
Jason Blake continues his scoring streak by getting the Islanders on the board 5:13 into the second period. Alexei Zhitnik skated around one Thrasher on the left wing side and slid a pass through the slot over to Blake, who beat Hedberg to the blocker side for his eighth goal of the season.
With 1:02 remaining in the second period, Steve McCarthy scored off a rebound on the power play to make it 4-1 Thrashers.
Both teams were held scoreless in the third period. The 4-1 final brought the Islanders three-game winning streak to an end.
Alexei Yashin: "Some games you come out flat, but it's your job as a team to re-focus. Tonight that didn't happen."
Mike Sillinger: "It's one thing to be down 3-0, but we were getting beat to loose pucks all over the ice. When you're playing against a team that played the night before, you need to be ready to go, but we weren't. We can't let that happen in our building."
Sean Hill: "We have to learn from games like this. We're obviously not where we want to be yet, but we'll put this one behind us and get right back out there again Monday."
Stat of the Game: Garnett Exelby led the Thrashers in both hits with 5 and block shots with 3.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Marian Hossa: Game-winning goal and an assist
2. Johan Hedberg: Earned the win stopping 23 of 24 shots
3. Jason Blake: Goals in four consecutive games
4. Bobby Holik: Earned an assist as well as a +1 in a solid defensive effort
5. Brendan Witt: 4 blocked shots and 5 hits
NYI 365 Fan of the Game: Adam Fradkin(10) and his father Ken from Bellmore attended this morning's NYI 365 Saturday Morning Skate and got a chance to meet their favorite player Mike York, who came out into the stands to sign autographs. "It's great to have the players come out during the morning skates," said Ken. "It makes the game more special."
Slapshots: Jason Blake has scored in six out of his last seven games, including the past four¦Alexei Yashin turns 33 tomorrow¦Scott Mellanby left the game with 12:19 remaining in the third with an apparent arm injury¦Tonight's attendance was 12,394
Game Operations: It's starting to get cold out there, so to keep the fans warm, all people in attendance received wool knit hats courtesy of GEICO. During the game, the winners of the Junior Announcers contest held outside in the Plaza on Kids' Opening Night were announced. Brothers Sam, Luke and Adem Sirin from Amityville received jerseys and free tickets to tonight's game for their call on Jason Blake's goal against the Boston Bruins in the home opener. Following the game, fans were treated to fireworks in the parking lot. For those sitting in their car, they turned to K Joy 98.3 for music accompaniment with the fireworks display.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
6 Sean Hill - 77 Alexei Zhitnik
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
8 Bruno Gervais - 3 Tom Poti
17 Shawn Bates - 18 Mike Sillinger - 10 Richard Park
55 Jason Blake - 79 Alexei Yashin - 25 Viktor Kozlov
7 Trent Hunter - 16 Mike York - 81 Miroslav Satan
12 Chris Simon - 11 Andy Hilbert - 45 Arron Asham
1 Johan Hedberg
32 Kari Lehtonen
3 Vitaly Vishnevski - 7 Greg de Vries
25 Andy Sutton - 2 Garnet Exelby
34 Shane Hnidy - 5 Steve McCarthy
17 Ilya Kovalchuk - 20 Steve Rucchin - 14 Jon Sim
13 Slava Kozlov - 39 Niko Kapanen - 18 Marian Hossa
29 Brad Larsen - 16 Bobby Holik - 19 Scott Mellanby
23 Jim Slater - 9 Glen Metropolit - 11 J.P. Vigier