Slava Kozlov scored for the fifth straight game, tying a
franchise record, and the Thrashers won their fourth in a row by
beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 Friday night.
Dafoe started for the second consecutive game in place of
Nurminen, the first time that's happened this season, and he won
his third straight. He made 23 saves and gave up only one
Nurminen started 25 of the previous 30 games.
"Right now, we have two goalies that are very solid," Atlanta
coach Bob Hartley said. "It's not luck that we're winning these
games. We're very fortunate that we have two guys that are playing
Marc Savard added a goal and two assists, and Shawn McEachern
also scored for Atlanta, which increased its lead in the Southeast
Division to five points over Tampa Bay.
Serge Aubin scored an empty-net goal with 2:24 left to seal it.
"Everybody's chipping in," Savard said. "We had a little lull
there and we talked about getting back with the program. Things are
rolling right now. Everyone's confident and it's showing in our
Dick Tarnstrom had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who
were without goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The 19-year-old rookie was
on loan to Canada's team for the World Junior championship.
Sebastien Caron started in Fleury's place, but was pulled in
favor of Jean-Sebastien Aubin in the second period after Pittsburgh
closed to 4-3 on a goal by Patrick Boileau.
Jean-Sebastien Aubin was called up from Wilkes-Barre-Scranton of
the AHL on Thursday.
"I have to deal with it, and that's part of the game," Caron
said. "I was disappointed, but you've got to give them credit.
When they score four goals like that, you've got to deal with it
and get ready for the next time."
The Thrashers normally come from behind -- they've earned at
least a point eight times after rallying from two-goal deficits --
but they never trailed after Kozlov scored at 4:36 of the first.
They eventually took two-goal leads four times, but never truly
gained control until Serge Aubin made it 6-3.
"Even though we won that game by three goals, it was closer
than the score would indicate," Hartley said.
After Boileau beat Dafoe with a one-timer from the blue line,
Savard gave Atlanta a 5-3 lead early in the third period. McEachern
and Jeff Cowan fought for the puck in front of the Pittsburgh net,
occupying the defense just enough to allow Savard to snare it.
He whirled and beat Jean-Sebastien Aubin, and the Thrashers hung
on from there.
"They know how to work the puck," Pittsburgh coach Eddie
Olczyk said. "They've got guys that want to pay the price in front
of the net like Kozlov and McEachern."
Game Notes: McEachern had the 300th assist of his career. ... Atlanta D
Chris Tamer was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game
after missing only one of the previous 26. ... The Penguins
finished winless (0-4-0-1) on a five-game road trip. They have the
worst point total in the NHL, two points fewer than Washington.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Philips Arena Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Referees: Dan O'Rourke, Tim Peel Linesmen: Michel Cormier, Dan McCourt