Peverley, Kovalchuk help Thrashers rally past Hurricanes

ATLANTA (Ticker) — Rich Peverley scored a pair of goals,
including the game-winner with 88 seconds remaining in the third
period as the Atlanta Thrashers rallied for a 5-3 victory over
the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday in a battle of Southeast
Division rivals.

Captain Ilya Kovalchuk recorded two goals and three assists for
the Thrashers, who used a four-goal third period to end a skid
in which they had lost three of four.

Tuomo Ruutu, Sergei Samsonov and defenseman Anton Babchuk
tallied for Carolina, which has gone 11-6-0 since suffering a
season-high five-game skid from January 8-17.

Peverley beat Cam Ward with a wrist shot while stationed on the
doorstep to snap a 3-3 tie on the power play, and Kovalchuk
converted an empty-netter with three seconds remaining to secure
the win.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 32 shots for Atlanta, which avoided a
ninth loss in 11 meetings with the Hurricanes.

One of the teams on the playoff bubble in the tight Eastern
Conference, Carolina has won 15 of 23 contests this season
against teams not currently in playoff position. The Hurricanes
have five games remaining against such competition.

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Ruutu opened the scoring with 6:06 remaining in the first
period, taking a cross-crease pass from All-Star Eric Staal and
firing a wrist shot past Lehtonen from the low slot. Samsonov
doubled the bulge 1:41 later by unleashing a wrister from the
left faceoff circle to notch his 13th goal of the season.

Kovalchuk cut the deficit in half with 34 seconds left in the
session, but Babchuk recaptured the two-goal lead with a
power-play tally at 1:41 of the third.

Peverley continued the Thrashers’ comeback efforts when he
collected a loose puck and slipped the puck past Ward in the
midst of a scrum in front of the net with 9:35 remaining. White
forged a 3-3 tie with 6:03 left in the session.