Kovalchuk nets hat trick as Thrashers double up Ducks

ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) — Ilya Kovalchuk recorded his 11th
career hat trick and added an assist as the Atlanta Thrashers
scored four times in the second period and cruised to an 8-4
triumph over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.

Bryan Little and Colin Stuart both scored and set up a goal
apiece and Rich Peverley, Colby Armstrong and defenseman Niclas
Havelid also tallied for Atlanta, which improved to 3-7-0 in its
last 10 games.

Defenseman Ron Hainsey and Todd White notched a pair of assists
apiece and Kari Lehtonen turned aside 31 shots and even added an
assist for the Thrashers.

“If you’re not going to shoot, you’re not going to score,”
Kovalchuk said matter-of-factly. “I changed my mentality a
little bit the last couple games and tried to shoot more.”

“I think he has really been skating well the last three or four
games,” Atlanta coach John Anderson said of Kovalchuk. “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.”

Teemu Selanne tallied twice and set up a goal and Andrew Ebbett
scored one goal and had two assists for Anaheim, which saw its
modest two-game winning streak come to an end.

Rookie Bobby Ryan had a goal and an assist and defenseman Brett
Festerling set up a pair of tallies for the Ducks.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere turned aside 20 of 25 shots before being
relieved by Jonas Hiller. The Swiss netminder finished with 15

“Everything that you don’t want to happen happened,” Ducks
defenseman Scott Niedermayer said. “We made our share of
mistakes and they scored their share of goals. I guess those
nights do happen once in awhile. Unfortunately, we can’t afford
it right now. That is the worst part of it.”

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“Those are ones that you bang your head against the wall and you
try to figure out how we could perform to the level we
performed,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “It just seemed
that we didn’t have anything going in a lot of areas. We tried
to battle back, but we just got frustrated. Pucks bounced away
form us in every situation. We started to do too much as
individuals and just fed their attack.”

With Atlanta nursing a 2-1 lead entering the second period,
Kovalchuk scored three times in a span of 6:51 to notch his
first hat trick of the season.

The talented Russian last accomplished the feat March 13, 2008
against Calgary. He also recorded three goals and an assist in
that game.

His first tally on Saturday was on a 5-on-3 power play 86
seconds into the second period.

“It’s really important, because lately we haven’t gotten
anything,” Kovalchuk said. “We got a couple of opportunities
with the 5-on-3 and we didn’t score. It was a lucky bounce, but
we’ll take it.”

Kovalchuk, who added even-strength goals 37 seconds apart, has a
team-leading 27 goals this season.

“He’s an explosive guy. Every time he gets the puck, it’s
exciting,” Armstrong said. “Today he stepped up and buried his
chance. He’s dangerous. We have him scoring like that, we’re
pretty tough to beat. Everyone feeds off him, too.”