ATLANTA – Johan Hedberg finally knows what it feels like to beat Philadelphia as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers.
“It’s a big mental break,” he said. “They’ve had our number since I’ve been here.”
Hedberg made 34 saves for his first shutout in two years and the Thrashers stopped a 14-game losing streak against Philadelphia with a 1-0 victory Saturday night.
“I was not aware it was 14 games in the streak,” Atlanta coach John Anderson said, “but it’s not 14 games anymore.”
Rich Peverley scored his 10th goal, his sixth on the power play, midway through the second and helped the Thrashers overcome a sluggish third period.
Ending what was the NHL’s longest current losing streak against one opponent, the Thrashers won their third straight overall. They have just 12 points at Philips Arena, however, after starting the game with the league’s third-fewest points at home.
Philadelphia has lost two straight and five of six. The Flyers hadn’t lost to Atlanta since Nov. 18, 2005, but they couldn’t solve Hedberg, who thrived in the pressure of a one-goal game.
“That’s what hockey is all about,” said Hedberg, in his fourth season with Atlanta. “It’s a fun challenge. You know they’re going to be coming, but you’re also just one bounce away from going up 2-0. These games are really fun to play.”
While his teammates managed only 17 shots on goal, including just three in the third, Hedberg stopped 13 shots in the final 20 minutes for his 12th career shutout.
“He was extremely sharp,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “I’m not dissatisfied with the effort tonight, but we have to find a way to shapen up offensively.”
Peverley used a sweeping wrist shot 11:07 into the second to make it 1-0. Lowering his right knee from the bottom of the left circle, Peverley beat goalie Brian Boucher’s stick side after taking Pavel Kubina’s pass from the top of the right circle.
“You can’t get overly frustrated by it,” Boucher said. “Sometimes things are out of your control. Sometimes as a goaltender, you’re at the mercy of the game. If the other (goalie) stands on his head like he did, sometimes you’re going to lose a game even though you did enough to win.”
Colby Armstrong’s night ended 12 seconds into the third when the Atlanta forward and Philadelphia’s Arron Asham took off their gloves.
Armstrong got 5 minutes for charging, 5 minutes for fighting and a game misconduct. Asham was penalized 2 minutes for instigating, 5 for fighting and also was given a 10-minute misconduct.
Peverley has at least one point in 17 of Atlanta’s 23 games.
“Kubina made a great pass, and I didn’t get a lot of it, but it got into the net,” Peverley said. “It was kind of a tough angle.”
Hedberg, whose shutout was his first since Nov. 16. 2007 at Carolina, improved 5-2-0. Boucher dropped to 2-3-0.
NOTES: The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Flyers F Daniel Briere, who was eligible to play after serving a two-game suspension for a late hit on Colorado defenceman Scott Hannan, missed the game because of the flu. … Atlanta improved to 5-26-6 overall, 3-13-3 at home, against the Flyers. … The Thrashers’ last home win over Philadelphia was Dec. 21, 2003.