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Slava Kozlov scores, Thrashers beat Hurricanes for fifth straight win

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Thrashers are finally starting to get coach John Anderson's system. Better late than never.

"They're recognizing things that a month ago I never thought they'd get," the first-year coach said. "I wish we had October back."

Slava Kozlov scored his ninth goal of the season and Atlanta tied a team record with its fifth consecutive win, beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Friday night.

Marty Reasoner had his third goal in two games against the Hurricanes and the Thrashers improved to 7-7-2 after a dismal start that included six losses in a row just before the winning streak.

Johan Hedberg made 27 saves for Atlanta after stopping 35 shots in a 5-2 victory at Carolina on Sunday and Eric Perrin scored his first goal of the season for the Thrashers.

"It's been a very important stretch for us," said Hedberg, who stopped 35 shots in a 5-2 victory at Carolina on Sunday. "We are right back into it and feeling good about ourselves."

Tuomo Ruutu and Rod Brind'Amour had power-play goals for the Hurricanes (8-7-2), with Brind'Amour's sixth coming with 5:59 remaining. Carolina has lost three straight.

Atlanta scored at 9:41 of the first period as Reasoner took a pass from Colby Armstrong off a two-on-one break and flipped the puck past goalie Cam Ward. The veteran centre, who has four goals, scored twice at Carolina on Sunday.

"It was a marginal call," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said of Niclas Wallin's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on top of a slashing infraction against Sergei Samsonov. "I disagreed with it."

Carolina was caught out of position again and Perrin took a cross-ice pass from Eric Boulton and blasted a wrister by Ward at 3:32 of the second period.

The Hurricanes cut the Atlanta lead in half on a power-play goal by Ruutu with 2:13 remaining in the second period. Ruutu took a pass from Eric Staal and beat Hedberg high to the glove side on a wrist shot for his sixth goal. Staal, the MVP of last season's all-star Game in Atlanta, had gone five games without a point.

Carolina, which had beaten Atlanta five straight times before Sunday, has lost three consecutive games and is going in the opposite direction as the Thrashers.

"We've got to be better," said Carolina's Eric Staal, who broke a five-game pointless streak with an assist. "Everyone is frustrated."

Atlanta scored with three seconds left in a 5-on-3 power play at 4:12 of the third period to push its lead back to two goals. Bryan Little hit Kozlov with a pass at the right doorstep and the veteran winger converted.

Atlanta had lost five consecutive games to the Hurricanes until winning in Carolina and the Hurricanes had won four straight in Atlanta before Friday.

"We're starting to grow as a team and hopefully it will get even better," Anderson said. "We're on our way, but there are still things we have to learn."

Notes: The Thrashers had five-game winning streaks during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. ... The Thrashers debuted their new alternate jerseys, which are red rather than blue. They will be worn for 13 more home games, including all meetings with Southeast Division teams. ... Thrashers regular goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who earlier missed time because of the flu, has a sore back. He last played Oct. 30. ... Hurricanes right wing Patrick Eaves (shoulder) sat out his fourth consecutive game.



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