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game recap

Thrashers 4, Penguins 3, SO

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Thrashers 4, Penguins 3, SO
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Atlanta Thrashers 4

ATLANTA (AP) -Slava Kozlov doesn't mind shootouts. He just wishes Atlanta coach Bob Hartley would use one of his teammates first.

"I feel pretty good in the shootout," Kozlov said. "It's tough to go first, for I like to see how the goalie plays you."

Kozlov and Marian Hossa scored in a shootout for the second straight game to give the Atlanta Thrashers a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Sidney Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer, forced overtime with 15.3 seconds remaining with a tap-in from the near right side. In the shootout, Atlanta goaltender Kari Lehtonen first stopped Erik Christensen before holding off Crosby's attempt to beat him on the stick side.

The loss was an appropriate end to a difficult day for the Penguins that began with owner Mario Lemieux's announcement that the franchise will attempt to relocate after an arena deal fell through.

"I think Pittsburgh is a great hockey town," Penguins goaltender Jocelyn Thibault said. "It'd be a shame for this team to leave."

Crosby, the franchise cornerstone, extended his scoring streak to 10 games with his 17th goal. The second-year star, a No. 1 overall draft pick, has seven goals and 15 assists during the streak.

"It's good we came back," said Crosby, whose team has followed a four-game winning streak with three consecutive losses. "We've been struggling. Even though we lost in the shootout, we showed lots of character."

Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists for Atlanta, which has won two straight after a five-game losing skid.

Kovalchuk's 19th goal, his ninth on the power play, came at the 6:32 mark of the second period to give the Thrashers a 2-0 lead.

Kozlov's 12th goal, which gave the Thrashers a 3-1 lead 18:03 into the second period, came 1:27 after rookie Jordan Staal scored his NHL-leading fifth shorthanded goal for the Penguins.

"The third goal was a tough one for us to give up," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "At those times, you just need to regroup."

In the shootout, Kozlov scored on wrister that sailed over Thibault's left shoulder. The 15-year veteran to 5-for-6 this season and 10-for-13 in his career.

"I try to do something different every time," Kozlov said. "So far, it has worked."

Staal's unassisted goal came after he stole Braydon Coburn's pass from Atlanta's right circle. He easily beat Lehtonen, who had no chance to move to his right and stop the puck.

Lehtonen stopped 36 shots, including 19 in the third, to improve to 15-7-6. Thibault had 29 saves and fell to 1-5-1 for the Penguins.

Each goalie faced two skaters in the shootout.

"We almost blew it with a two-goal lead," Lehtonen said. "We had too many penalties. I wasn't happy with the way the third period went."

Niko Kapanen's fourth goal opened the scoring at the 1:36 mark of the first.

Notes: Atlanta captain Scott Mellanby missed the game with a neck stinger he sustained at New Jersey. He is listed as day-to-day. ... The Thrashers improved to 13-0-2 when leading after two periods, 11-2-6 when opponents outshoot them. ... Pittsburgh dropped to 3-13-1 when trailing after two periods, 8-5-1 when outshooting opponents.

scoring summary
1st Period
01:36
ATL
Niko Kapanen (4) ASST: Braydon Coburn (1), Ilya Kovalchuk (20)
1 - 0 ATL
2nd Period
06:32
ATL
PPG - Ilya Kovalchuk (19) ASST: Marian Hossa (21), Vyacheslav Kozlov (27)
2 - 0 ATL
16:36
PIT
SHG - Jordan Staal (10) ASST: NONE
2 - 1 ATL
18:03
ATL
PPG - Vyacheslav Kozlov (12) ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (21), Marian Hossa (22)
3 - 1 ATL
3rd Period
04:08
PIT
Ryan Malone (5) ASST: Brooks Orpik (2), Sidney Crosby (38)
3 - 2 ATL
19:44
PIT
Sidney Crosby (17) ASST: Erik Christensen (4), Mark Recchi (21)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
NONE
Shootout
RNDATLPITTOTAL
1V. Kozlov
E. Christensen
1 - 0
2M. Hossa
S. Crosby
2 - 0
penalty summary
1st Period
11:01
PIT
Ronald Petrovicky  Hi-sticking against  Niclas Havelid
11:11
ATL
Jason Krog  Interference against  Maxime Talbot
13:39
ATL
Jason Krog  Diving against  Brooks Orpik
13:39
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Tripping against  Jason Krog
14:13
PIT
Mark Recchi  Hooking against  Ilya Kovalchuk
14:13
PIT
Mark Recchi  Unsportsmanlike conduct
17:28
ATL
Glen Metropolit  Too many men/ice - bench
2nd Period
02:30
ATL
Braydon Coburn  Hooking against  Jarkko Ruutu
05:31
PIT
Jarkko Ruutu  Hooking against  Niclas Havelid
07:39
ATL
Niclas Havelid  Hooking against  Sidney Crosby
14:06
PIT
Ryan Whitney  Interference against  Ilya Kovalchuk
16:20
PIT
Rob Scuderi  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
19:12
ATL
Bobby Holik  Elbowing against  Dominic Moore
3rd Period
12:55
ATL
Jean-Pierre Vigier  Holding against  Erik Christensen
14:54
ATL
Jim Slater  Hooking against  Erik Christensen
16:32
PIT
Jordan Staal  Tripping against  Vyacheslav Kozlov
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
Jocelyn Thibault
SA: 32TOI: 64:14
Saves: 29EV: 21 - 22
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 8
SV%: .906SH: 2 - 2
Kari Lehtonen
Kari Lehtonen
SA: 39TOI: 65:00
Saves: 36EV: 29 - 31
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .923SH: 2 - 3