Bogosian, Kovalchuk help Thrashers crush Predators

By Jim Diamond
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) — Clearly in rebuilding mode, the
Atlanta Thrashers used one of their building blocks to post
their first winning streak in over two months.

Rookie defenseman Zach Bogosian and captain Ilya Kovalchuk each
scored a goal and set up another as the Thrashers cruised to a
7-2 rout of the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Jim Slater netted a shorthanded goal, former Predator Rich
Peverley collected three assists and Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves
for the Thrashers, who have won back-to-back games for the first
time since capturing five straight from November 2-14.

Eric Perrin, Colby Armstrong, Bryan Little and blue-liner
Mathieu Schneider also tallied for Atlanta, which scored five
times in a span of just under 20 minutes bridging the first and
second periods.

Jordin Tootoo and All-Star defenseman Shea Weber scored for the
Predators, who have lost eight of their last 11 contests.

“To get embarrassed like that in your own building is something
that just can’t happen,” Weber said. “We’ve been inconsistent,
and we have to solve that and be good every night.”

One night after allowing three first-period goals before
rallying for a 4-3 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple
Leafs, the Thrashers produced a dominating four-goal first
period in this one.

“They had a big comeback win last night, so I knew they were
going to have lots of jump tonight,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz
said. “They came and played hard and capitalized on their

Perrin scored the game’s first goal at 2:07 of the opening
period, stealing the puck from Nashville defenseman Ville
Koistinen and skating down on a breakaway before ripping a slap
shot from the right faceoff circle over the right shoulder of
goaltender Dan Ellis.

“Eric had not scored in a while, and you could see his
exuberance,” Atlanta coach John Anderson said. “That broke the
ice and picked the whole team up.”

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Playing in just his 12th NHL game, Bogosian collected his first
career point on Armstrong’s goal at 6:48. Peverley won a
faceoff back to the 18-year-old, whose shot from the right point
was deflected in by Armstrong.

“I just tried to get the shot off as quickly as I could,”
Bogosian said. “Luckily, (Armstrong) made a tip that kind of
stunned the goalie and went in.”

Kovalchuk extended the lead to 3-0 at 10:48, converting a
breakaway off an outlet pass from Peverley, who has registered a
goal and five assists in three games for Atlanta since being
claimed off waivers from Nashville on January 10.

“It has only been a week, so it feels a little awkward coming in
here to play a game as a visitor,” Peverley said. “(Ilya) is a
tremendous and dynamic player, and it’s great to have a chance
to play on a line with him.”

Predators coach Barry Trotz then lifted Ellis, who made just one
save on four shots, in favor of Pekka Rinne.

“They had two breakaways and a high tip play. It’s tough to get
a feel for the puck that way,” Ellis said. “These are the games
that teach you the most about what you have in your room – your
character, your flaws. Sometimes you need a little bit of a
wake-up call.”

But the Finn did not fare much better, as he allowed Little’s
21st goal of the season with 76 seconds left in the opening
session. Schneider then scored at 2:06 of the second to give
the Thrashers a 5-0 bulge.

The third overall pick in last June’s draft, Bogosian netted his
first career goal at 1:51 of the third period, beating Rinne
with a slap shot from the right point.

“It felt good to get my first NHL goal,” Bogosian said. “It’s a
special moment, and I will always remember it.”

Slater added a shorthander midway through the session to make it