Five different Thrashers scored, as Atlanta defeated the New York Islanders, 5-1, Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum.
Despite the final score, Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon felt that his team outplayed the Thrashers for much of the game.
"We had some pretty good energy," Gordon said. "We spent almost the entire game in their zone. They had one forecheck in the beginning of the period, and our guys from my standpoint played with a lot of effort."
Bill Guerin put the Islanders on the board quickly, scoring a powerplay goal just 51 seconds into the first period for a 1-0 lead. Guerin took a cross-ice pass from Mark Streit and one-timed the puck past Atlan goaltender Johan Hedberg for his 10th goal of the season.
Doug Weight received a secondary assist on Guerin's goal, his 993rd career point. Weight is now just 7 points away from 1,000 career points.
The first period was not without its share of physical play, as Tim Jackman and Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves deep in the Atlanta zone.
Bryan Little tied the game up for Atlanta at 17:44 of the first period. After taking a centering pass from Garnet Exelby, Little put the puck between Islanders goaltender Joey MacDonald's legs to tie the game up 1-1.
Ilya Kovalchuk gave Atlanta the lead at 10:04 of the second period with his ninth goal of the year. Kovalchuk snuck behind the Islanders defense after taking a pass from Marty Reasoner, and lifted the shot over Islanders goaltender Joey MacDonald's left shoulder for the 2-1 Atlanta lead.
The Islanders best chance came shorthanded with Richard Park leading a 3-on-1 rush into the Atlanta zone. Park dropped the puck off to a trailing Tim Jackman, who was stopped by Atlanta goaltender Johan Hedberg on a one-timer. Jackman followed the puck with Herdberg out of position, and immediately center the puck to a waiting Park, who shot the puck wide of the net.
Blake Comeau, who was re-called to the Islanders on Saturday afternoon, thought the dynamic of the game would have changed if the Islanders could have converted some of their chances.
"I think we had a few unlucky bounces and a few unlucky breaks," Comeau said. "A couple of those goals go in for us it's definitely a different hockey game."
A few minutes later, Atlanta extended its lead to 3-1 on Eric Boulton's second goal of the year at 15:23 of the second period. Boulton took advantage of an Islanders blocked shot, and caught MacDonald out of position for the goal.
"In the second period, they had three scoring chances and they scored on two of them," Gordon said. "So from my standpoint, we outshot them, 22-12 after two periods, I don't think anything changed except we didn't score on our opportunities."
Atlanta extended their lead to 4-1 at 7:19 of the third period on an Eric Perrin powerplay goal. Perrin deflected a Jason Williams pass past MacDonald for his second goal of the season.
Thorburn padded Atlanta's lead to 5-1, scoring his third goal of the season at 11:03 of the third period.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Tobias Enstrom: +3, 21:29 of ice time in a strong defensive effort 2. Johan Hedberg: Stopped 28 of 29 shots 3. Ilya Kovalchuk: Goal and 2 assists
Slapshots: The Islanders outshot Atlanta 29-17...Every Islander registered a hit except for Mike Sillinger and Mark Streit...Brendan Witt led all Islanders with 8 hits...Both teams combined for 84 penalty minutes... Prior to the game, SHARP named Joey MacDonald as the Islanders Player of the Month for November and will donate $500 to a charity of MacDonald's choice... Saturday night's Modell's Amateur Hockey Award Winner was Ed Fisher Sr.