Final

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Winnipeg leads 1-0

Game 1: Tuesday, January 16th
Kings2Final
Jets6

Kings 2

(16-26-6, 38 pts)

Jets 6

(26-14-8, 60 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 16, 2007

Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

1 2 3 T
LA 1 0 12
WPG 2 1 36

M. Hossa (Jets - RW): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

I. Kovalchuk (Jets - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

J. Slater (Jets - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Hossa, Thrashers spoil Fukufuji's first start for  Kings

ATLANTA (AP) -- While Yutaka Fukufuji kept making history, Marian Hossa gladly settled for another hat trick.

Elias Says
The Kings' Yutaka Fukufuji, the first player in NHL history born in Japan, was pulled 21:53 into his first career start after allowing three goals to the Thrashers. The last goaltender to get pulled so quickly in his first start was future All-Star Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun made one start for the Canadiens, as a 20-year old on Feb. 6, 1997, and was pulled after one period and four goals.

The Kings opened the scoring 1:31 into the first period, but the Thrashers tied it 19 seconds later. There's been only one other game this season in which both teams got on the scoreboard within two minutes of the first period; the Kings and Penguins did it on Nov. 1. Story

Hossa scored three goals for the second time this season, leading the Atlanta Thrashers to a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night and ruining the first start for Fukufuji.

Already the first Japanese-born player in the NHL, Fukufuji was lifted less than two minutes into the second period after Jim Slater's deflection gave the Thrashers a 3-1 lead. He stopped only 6-of-9 shots.

"It was pretty bad," Fukufuji said. "I can play better."

Los Angeles closed to 3-2 when Tom Kostopoulos scored just over two minutes into the third period. But Hossa, who will represent the Thrashers at the All-Star Game next week, found the net two more times to turn it into a runaway.

He has 29 goals for the season.

"This feels good," Hossa said. "We finally made it easy on ourselves."

Shane Hnidy scored first for Atlanta, just 19 seconds after Alexander Frolov put the Kings ahead at 1:31 of the opening period. Glen Metropolit had the other goal for the Thrashers.

Kari Lehtonen turned aside 28 shots for first-place Atlanta, which won its second in a row after a five-game losing streak. Los Angeles is mired in a five-game skid.

"It's kind of fun winning with a big margin, rather than by one or two goals," Lehtonen said. "We've been playing very well the last few weeks, but there's always been one bad period. Tonight, we played solid for three periods."

Fukufuji, recalled from the minors after the Kings' top two goalies went down with injuries, played the third period of a 6-5 loss to St. Louis on Saturday night.

He started against the Thrashers and was staked to a quick lead when Derek Armstrong sped into the Atlanta zone and passed in front to Frolov, who managed to beat Lehtonen off a bouncing puck before defenseman Greg de Vries could tie him up.

But Hnidy quickly tied it with a shot that had no business going in. The defenseman circled near the blue line and fired a shot toward Fukufuji, who had a clear look at it but let the puck deflect over his shoulder for the softest of goals.

Hossa scored off a rebound later in the first to put the Thrashers ahead to stay, and the Kings switched goalies after Slater's slight deflection on a shot by Ilya Kovalchuk got the puck past Fukufuji.

"He's making history here," Hossa said of the 24-year-old goalie.

Barry Brust went the rest of the way in goal, turning aside 17-of-20 shots but letting it get out of hand in the closing minutes. The Thrashers scored three times in the last 6:56 against the Kings, who have surrendered an NHL-worst 176 goals.

"That's just the way it's been going," forward Craig Conroy said. "We give up a lot of goals ... and there's nothing we can do about it. We just have to try to get better defensively and help our goaltenders. They've been under a lot of pressure."

Los Angeles had a chance after Kostopoulos knocked in a rebound on Lehtonen, who was flat on his stomach in the net after being inadvertently tripped by teammate Vitaly Vishnevski.

But Hossa ended any hopes of a comeback, scoring on a nifty power play after working the give-and-go with teammate Slava Kozlov. Hossa was alone in front and shifted to his backhand to beat Brust.

Metropolit swept a loose puck into the net, then Hossa brought out the hats when he scored on a breakaway with a less than two minutes remaining.

Despite his rough outing, Fukufuji said he hopes to be an inspiration to other Japanese players.

"It's my dream," he said. "I've watched on TV since I was 9 or 10 years old. I'm here now."

Game notes


Hossa has 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in his last 14 games. ... Hossa also had a hat trick Nov. 30 against Toronto and has six three-goal games in his career. ... The Kings are without starting goalie Dan Cloutier, who underwent hip surgery last week, and backup Mathieu Garon, who is on the injured list because of a finger problem.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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