ANAHEIM, Calif. – After two wins, the Anaheim Ducks thought they were on a roll. The Atlanta Thrashers had different ideas.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored three goals in a 6:51 span of the second period and Atlanta beat the Ducks 8-4 on Sunday. The Thrashers, second to last in the Eastern Conference standings, had a season-high 45 shots on goal.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” centre Ryan Getzlaf said. “We’ve got to go back to work. Every bounce ended up on their stick. We’re a team that prides itself on not giving up so many shots. We didn’t respond the way we needed.”
Atlanta battered goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere with 25 shots and knocked him out of the game at 12:20 of the second period after scoring five goals, including three in three minutes.
Backup Jonas Hiller didn’t provide much relief. The Thrashers scored 1:17 after Hiller came in and added two more goals to round out the scoring, the final goal from defenceman Niclas Havelid. Havelid scored on a short-handed empty-netter.
“That last goal was a pretty good summation of the night,” defenceman Scott Niedermayer said. “It was a pretty frustrating night to be part of. I know I made my share of mistakes out there.”
The Ducks made plenty of mistakes in the first period. Anaheim had six penalties totalling 15 minutes and Atlanta took advantage.
Bryan Little scored on a power play at the 18:57 mark of the first period and Kovalchuk scored his first goal on a 5-on-3 power play in the second at the 1:26 mark.
“I think he has really been skating well the last three or four games,” Atlanta coach John Anderson said. “He is starting to feel like himself again. He’s hounding the puck, he’s chasing the puck. He gets it – he’s dangerous, obviously.”
Little’s goal came after the Ducks’ Corey Perry was penalized for slashing. Perry’s penalty came only 31 seconds after Chris Pronger was seated for a bench minor for tripping, giving the Thrashers nearly four consecutive minutes with an extra man.
Kovalchuk added even-strength goals at 7:40 and 8:17 in the second.
“It’s the right way to start the road trip with a big win,” Kovalchuk said.
“But now we have a big game tomorrow. We just need to be more consistent and win a couple of games in a row to feel better about ourselves.”
Kovalchuk, who also had an assist, leads the Thrashers with 27 goals and 58 points. The Russian star extended his goals streak to four games.
Rich Peverley, Colby Armstrong and Colin Stuart also scored, and Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves in Atlanta’s first win over Anaheim since 2003. Teemu Selanne had two goals for Anaheim, and Bobby Ryan and Andrew Ebbett also scored.
Notes: Atlanta has won three games in its last 10 outings. … Kovalchuk last scored three goals on March 12, 2008, against Calgary. … Atlanta beat Anaheim for the first time since Dec. 5, 2003, in its first visit here since Dec. 3 of that year.