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Carolina
Hurricanes
43-33-6
Atlanta
Thrashers
34-40-8

33 SOG
26 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CAR
ATL
game recap

Hurricanes 4, Thrashers 3

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Hurricanes 4, Thrashers 3
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Atlanta Thrashers 3

ATLANTA (AP) -Carolina's big edge in power-play chances led to a small edge in the final score.

Cory Stillman scored on a two-man advantage with 3:23 left to give the Carolina Hurricanes their first lead and a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday night.

Carolina scored on two of eight power plays while Atlanta was shut out on three opportunities.

"The difference tonight was our power play," Stillman said. "We had some shots and finally capitalized on them."

The Thrashers, hurt by eight penalties, could not hold leads of 2-0 and 3-1. Stillman's decisive score came with 9 seconds remaining on a two-man advantage.

"It was sort of a broken play," Stillman said. "I was in a spot I shouldn't have been. (The shot) was just barely in."

Stillman, positioned about 18 feet from the net in the left circle, scored on a pass from Ray Whitney. The 5-on-3 shot found the left side of the net.

Carolina's late power play came after a 4-minute high-sticking penalty on Ken Klee and a 2-minute delay of game penalty on Thrashers captain Bobby Holik.

"Everything they got, we gave them," Holik said. "We should not be disappointed because we did not play well enough to win.

"We played well 5-on-5," he added. "We said we cannot turn the puck over and we cannot take too many penalties. But we took too many penalties and turned the puck over too much."

Another big key for Carolina was its ability to contain Ilya Kovalchuk for a change.

Two days after Kovalchuk had four points in a 5-4 overtime win at Carolina, the Atlanta star had no goals. The Thrashers fell to 4-13 when Kovalchuk, the NHL leader with 33 goals, is held without a goal.

Atlanta (20-21-1) hoped to pull within a point of first-place Carolina but instead fell below .500 and five points out of the lead.

Carolina players said they were aware their division lead had been shrinking.

"Yeah, we look at the board," said Eric Staal, who had a goal and two assists. "We want to be at the top of our division."

Kovalchuk has 24 goals in 34 career games against Carolina, including a goal and three assists Wednesday night. He was limited to one assist in the rematch.

Staal, Whitney and Casey Borer also scored for Carolina, which ended a three-game losing streak.

Carolina goalie Michael Leighton, called up from Albany of the American Hockey League when veteran backup John Grahame was waived on Thursday, made 23 stops.

Leighton started over Cam Ward, who was 2-5-1 with a 3.88 goals-against average in his last nine games.

Leighton said he was surprised to be called up. The start was even more unexpected.

"An hour after I arrived, I was told I'd start," Leighton said. "I did pretty good - in the second and third periods."

Leighton trailed 1-0 less than a minute into his 2007-08 NHL debut, thanks to Mark Recchi's tip-in 32 seconds into the game. Todd White's goal 12:15 into the first period gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead.

Carolina set a high-scoring pace for the second period with Whitney's goal 27 seconds in, the first of three goals in the first five minutes.

Atlanta answered with a short-handed tip-in by Pascal Dupuis about three minutes later for a 3-1 lead. The fast tempo continued on the same Carolina power play when Staal guided a shot by Jeffrey Hamilton into the net.

The Hurricanes pulled even at 3 late in the second period on Borer's first NHL goal, a shot through Kari Lehtonen's legs after a pass from Keith Aucoin. Lehtonen made 29 stops.

Notes: Borer, a 2004 third-round pick recalled from Albany on Tuesday, has played in two games, both against Atlanta. ... Grahame cleared waivers and was assigned to Albany. ... Center Kevin Doell became Atlanta's sixth player of the season to make his NHL debut. Doell was recalled from AHL Chicago on Thursday. ... Leighton was 10-23-10 with a 3.04 goals-against average in previous NHL stints with Chicago, Nashville and Philadelphia.

scoring summary
1st Period
00:32
ATL
Mark Recchi (9) ASST: Todd White (16), Toby Enstrom (22)
1 - 0 ATL
12:15
ATL
Todd White (10) ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (25), Mark Recchi (13)
2 - 0 ATL
2nd Period
00:27
CAR
Ray Whitney (20) ASST: Eric Staal (17), Mike Commodore (7)
2 - 1 ATL
03:40
ATL
SHG - Pascal Dupuis (7) ASST: Eric Perrin (17)
3 - 1 ATL
05:10
CAR
PPG - Eric Staal (22) ASST: Jeff Hamilton (11), Casey Borer (1)
3 - 2 ATL
16:35
CAR
Casey Borer (1) ASST: Keith Aucoin (3), Cory Stillman (22)
3 - 3 Tie
3rd Period
16:37
CAR
PPG - Cory Stillman (19) ASST: Ray Whitney (23), Eric Staal (18)
4 - 3 CAR
penalty summary
1st Period
01:42
ATL
Garnet Exelby  Cross checking against  Keith Aucoin
12:35
ATL
Toby Enstrom  Tripping against  Chad LaRose
2nd Period
03:21
ATL
Kari Lehtonen  Tripping against  Eric Staal
11:13
ATL
Steve McCarthy  Roughing against  Chad LaRose
11:13
CAR
Chad LaRose  Roughing against  Steve McCarthy
11:13
CAR
Chad LaRose  Roughing against  Steve McCarthy
14:34
ATL
Garnet Exelby  Slashing against  Erik Cole
3rd Period
03:02
ATL
Kevin Doell  Holding against  Trevor Letowski
04:23
CAR
Dennis Seidenberg  Holding against  Eric Perrin
12:45
ATL
Ken Klee  Hi stick - double minor against  Eric Staal
15:12
ATL
Bobby Holik  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
19:49
CAR
Chad LaRose  Tripping against  Ilya Kovalchuk
goalie stats
Michael Leighton
SA: 26TOI: 59:50
Saves: 23EV: 20 - 22
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 2
SV%: .885SH: 1 - 2
Kari Lehtonen
Kari Lehtonen
SA: 33TOI: 59:03
Saves: 29EV: 17 - 19
PIM: 2PP: 11 - 13
SV%: .879SH: 1 - 1