Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Winnipeg leads 2-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 16th
Game 2: Sunday, February 29th
Game 3: Tuesday, March 2nd
Game 4: Tuesday, March 9th

Jets 0

(2-0-0, 6 pts)

Rangers 0

(0-2-0, 1 pts)

7:00 PM ET, October 16, 2003

Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

1 2 3 OT T
WPG 0 0 0 00
NYR 0 0 0 00

M. Dunham (Rangers - G): Saves: 30, Save Pct.: 1.000

P. Nurminen (Jets - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: 1.000

A. Kovalev (Rangers - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Atlanta ties New York

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Atlanta Thrashers have never looked better. The New York Rangers have been waiting a long time to say the same.

Pasi Nurminen stopped 29 shots for the 5-year-old Thrashers, unbeaten after four games this season following a 0-0 tie with the Rangers on Thursday night.

Mike Dunham made 30 saves for New York.

Not only is Atlanta's 2-0-2 start the best in franchise history, but the four-game unbeaten streak matches the Thrashers' best run at any point.

"We're a young team playing well on both sides of the puck," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "We're way down on our goals against. That's our top priority."

The Thrashers have yielded only six goals this season, after allowing an NHL-worst 284 last season. Defense is especially important now without top scorer Dany Heatley, sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury.

It was the first scoreless tie in Thrashers history.

New York (0-2-1) became the last team in the Eastern Conference to earn a point in the standings. But the Rangers, out of the playoffs since 1997, haven't scored in 157 minutes, 13 seconds.

Petr Nedved nearly ended it quickly in overtime when he got off a clean shot just 23 seconds in for the Rangers, who held a 6-3 shot advantage in the extra session.

"We just have to work hard and I'm sure the goals will come," Nedved said. "I think it's frustrating for everybody right now."

Dunham was especially sharp from the middle of the second period on in, earning his 17th NHL shutout.

"It's tough when it's 0-0, there is no cushion there," he said.

With just under seven minutes left in the second, Dunham made consecutive pad stops during a power play. Then he gloved a hard shot from the left point from Ilya Kovalchuk. The fast forward has been given time at the point during power plays, filling Heatley's role as the unit's quarterback.

Kovalchuk nearly beat Dunham during Atlanta's two-man advantage in the third period that lasted a full two minutes -- compounded by Valdimir Malakhov's double minor for high-sticking.

Kovalchuk came into the left circle and sent a hard wrister on net that Dunham pinned between his glove and pad.

"Neither team wanted to give up the first goal and neither team wanted to open it up, especially our team, which played so bad in the previous games," Nedved said.

New York's penalty-killing unit was perfect in nine short-handed situations against Atlanta after giving up three goals in 13 chances to open the season.

Nurminen, who has played all four games this season, stood tall during New York's first power play of the third period. Boris Mironov fired a shot from the blue line that Nurminen got a pad on. The rebound came right to Eric Lindros at the doorstop but his rebound try was also denied by Nurminen's pad.

"Pasi has been playing unbelievable," Hartley said. "He is giving us a chance to win and he is keeping us in games with big saves."

Heatley, the MVP of last season's All-Star game, is recovering from injuries sustained when he crashed his Ferrari just before the season. Thrashers teammate Dan Snyder, fatally injured in the accident, was remembered during a pregame moment of silence.

The Rangers opened the season by losing to recent expansion teams Minnesota and Columbus by a combined score of 10-3.

"It doesn't really erase last weekend," captain Mark Messier said of the tie. "We should learn from these games and not forget them."

Atlanta has given the Rangers trouble in recent years, going 5-0-1 in the last six meetings. The Thrashers went 4-0 against New York last season, scoring at least four goals in each.

The Rangers did show life in their first 20 minutes at home in front of an arena that was three-quarters full with fans loaded with venom.

Only a handful of players received cheers during introductions, while most -- especially Lindros -- were greeted with different levels of boos.

Game notes

The remainder of Game 7 of the AL championship series was shown on the center-ice scoreboard following the game. ... Former Rangers coaches Roger Neilson and Herb Brooks as well as former Rangers player Roman Lyashenko, who all died during the offseason, were also honored before the game. ... Both of Nurminen's previous NHL shutouts were 1-0 victories. ... It was the first time since Oct. 8, 1987 that Rangers D Brian Leetch and G Mike Richter missed the home opener. Leetch is out with an ankle injury. Richter, who retired during the summer, dropped the ceremonial first puck.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press