Enstrom, Peverley help Thrashers end home losing streak

ATLANTA (Ticker) — A pair of shorthanded goals helped the
Atlanta Thrashers end their woes at Philips Arena.

Defenseman Tobias Enstrom and Rich Peverley each netted their
first career shorthanded goal as the Atlanta Thrashers snapped a
four-game home losing skid with a 4-3 victory over the Colorado
Avalanche on Tuesday.

Enstrom and Peverley also collected an assist apiece and Kari
Lehtonen made 30 saves for the Thrashers, who had not won at
Philips Arena since January 20.

“We had a good road trip with two good wins,” Enstrom said of
Atlanta’s recently completed 2-1-1 West Coast swing.

“We wanted to bring it home. We wanted to show our fans we
could play well at home.”

All-Star Ilya Kovalchuk and Marty Reasoner also scored for
Atlanta, which had posted a 4-8-1 record over its previous 13

“I think on the road, we simplified things,” Peverley said. “We
have a pretty good offensive team. First and foremost is
defense. When we play good defensive games, we give ourselves a
chance to win every game.”

Milan Hejduk tallied twice, rookie Chris Stewart scored and
Peter Budaj stopped 22 shots for the Avalanche, who have lost
six of their last nine contests and sit in last place in the
Western Conference.

“I think we thought it was going to be a little bit easier than
it turned out to be,” Colorado coach Tony Granato said. “We
made some mistakes on our own end. We got sloppy coming back to
our end and with the skill they have offensively, they can score

The Thrashers opened the scoring on their first shot after
blue-liner Ron Hainsey was whistled for slashing early in the
first period.

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Eric Perrin led the rush and delivered a cross-ice pass to a
streaking Enstrom, who skated in and beat Budaj with a
backhander at 2:57. Kovalchuk scored 70 seconds later on
Atlanta’s next shot to give the club an early 2-0 edge.

“That was very nice,” Lehtonen said of the club’s early

“It was kind of the best start I could hope for. We scored and
I got a couple of real good saves early.”

Reasoner continued the early offensive onslaught, tallying his
10th goal of the season with 8:40 remaining in the opening

After Hejduk’s two goals cut the deficit to 3-2, Peverley added
a much-needed insurance goal with 4:44 left in the second
period. Enstrom led the shorthanded rush and made the pass to
Peverley, who converted with a wrist shot from the slot.

“That’s unacceptable,” Hejduk said of Colorado’s play with the
extra attacker.

“It’s one thing to be on the power play and not score goals, but
you shouldn’t give up goals. It happened tonight and that’s

Colorado center Paul Stastny, who had been sidelined for two
months with a fractured right forearm, collected an assist in
his first game back.

“It felt OK,” said Stastny, who was injured by Olli Jokinen’s
slap shot on December 23. “I got a little tired here and there.
Conditioning-wise, I felt fine.

“The speed of the game and the strength of the players took
getting used to a little bit, but as the game wore on, I got a
little more accustomed to it.”