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

37 SOG
24 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CAR
ATL
game recap

Hurricanes 6, Thrashers 3

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Hurricanes 6, Thrashers 3
Carolina Hurricanes 6, Atlanta Thrashers 3

ATLANTA (AP) -Eric Staal wouldn't mind playing a few more games in Atlanta this season.

Staal, the MVP of the All-Star game five weeks ago at Philips Arena, scored two goals and added an assist to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Thrashers 6-3 on Wednesday night.

In 14 career regular-season games at Atlanta, Staal has seven goals and 10 assists.

"Personally, I have had some pretty good games in this building," he said. "We needed to come in here and do a job. We need to make sure we stayed ahead of them."

Scott Walker, Ryan Bayda, Joe Corvo and Erik Cole also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won two straight and eight of 11 since losing at New Jersey on Feb. 9.

Ilya Kovalchuk's 43rd goal, second-most in the NHL, made it 5-3 with 7:43 remaining, but the Thrashers still failed to prevent their winless streak from reaching eight games.

Returning to Philips Arena for the first time since the All-Star game, Staal didn't need to work hard for his 32nd and 33rd goals. He made it 5-2 less than four minutes into the third when his wraparound attempt bounced off the chest of Atlanta defenseman Garnet Exelby and past goaltender Johan Hedberg.

"That was a weird play," Staal said, "but I'll take it."

Thrashers coach Don Waddell, who thought the play should've been played dead, was furious with the officiating.

"We're battling and fighting for our lives," Waddell said. "You get a call like that, and it's very disappointing."

Hedberg was in disbelief.

"The referee forced me to play it," Hedberg said. "He said he would give me a penalty for the defenseman kicking it back to me. We were so tired, we just wanted to change. I didn't know what to do. Maybe, I should have held onto it and taken the penalty."

Staal's second goal was credited as an empty-netter even though Hedberg had yet to reach the Thrashers' bench.

The Hurricanes improved to 25-10-4 when Staal has a point, 20-5-3 when he scores. He has eight three-point games, including back-to-back efforts after finishing with two assists in a win Saturday over Tampa Bay.

Carolina goalie Cam Ward improved to 29-21-4 after saving 21 of 24 shots.

Hedberg replaced Kari Lehtonen in the second period. They combined for six saves on 37 shots.

Corvo scored on the power play to make it 3-1 with 27 seconds expired in the second.

The fifth-year defenseman was skating inside the right circle when Sergei Samsonov passed across the slot from the left boards. Corvo began falling to the ice, but put his stick down fast enough to beat Lehtonen's glove side.

Corvo has a goal in two straight games, nine overall and three since he was traded from Ottawa last month.

The Hurricanes, who began the game having lost five of eight on the road, now have 75 points, tops in the Southeast Division.

"Every two points are important," Cole said. "It doesn't matter whether it's a division game or not. We didn't have a great second period, but we came back pretty strong in the third period."

Atlanta, which won the division last year and advanced to the playoffs for the first time, has 65 points, third-worst in the NHL and second only to Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference.

Chris Thorburn's third goal gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead 4:21 into the first. Erik Christensen made it 4-2 late in the second on an unassisted goal, his 10th overall, that came after he stole the puck along the left boards.

Walker forced a 1-1 tie midway through the first with his eighth goal. Carolina never trailed after Bayda scored his third goal with 54 seconds left in the first.

Notes: Atlanta hasn't won in regulation since Feb. 15 at New Jersey. ... Facing Carolina for the fourth time this season, Kovalchuk has three goals and eight assists. ... Cole's goal was his 18th. ... Ward started for the 20th time in the Hurricanes' last 21 games.

scoring summary
1st Period
04:21
ATL
Chris Thorburn (3) ASST: Bobby Holik (14), Ilya Kovalchuk (30)
1 - 0 ATL
08:12
CAR
Scott Walker (8) ASST: Frantisek Kaberle (16), Keith Aucoin (6)
1 - 1 Tie
19:06
CAR
Ryan Bayda (3) ASST: Scott Walker (16)
2 - 1 CAR
2nd Period
00:27
CAR
PPG - Joe Corvo (9) ASST: Sergei Samsonov (15), Matt Cullen (34)
3 - 1 CAR
10:39
CAR
Erik Cole (18) ASST: Eric Staal (31), Frantisek Kaberle (17)
4 - 1 CAR
17:09
ATL
Erik Christensen (10) ASST: NONE
4 - 2 CAR
3rd Period
03:41
CAR
Eric Staal (32) ASST: Erik Cole (25), Trevor Letowski (6)
5 - 2 CAR
12:17
ATL
Ilya Kovalchuk (43) ASST: Ken Klee (8), Alexei Zhitnik (5)
5 - 3 CAR
18:41
CAR
Eric Staal (33) ASST: Frantisek Kaberle (18)
6 - 3 CAR
penalty summary
1st Period
00:57
ATL
Alexei Zhitnik  Hooking against  Patrick Eaves
10:12
ATL
Chris Thorburn  Tripping against  Matt Cullen
16:20
CAR
Tuomo Ruutu  Hooking against  Joel Kwiatkowski
16:40
ATL
Mark Recchi  Holding against  Scott Walker
20:00
ATL
Vyacheslav Kozlov  Hi-sticking against  Glen Wesley
2nd Period
13:50
ATL
Joel Kwiatkowski  Interference against  Wade Brookbank
3rd Period
00:10
ATL
Niclas Havelid  Interference against  Eric Staal
07:37
CAR
Frantisek Kaberle  Hooking against  Mark Recchi
14:15
ATL
Eric Perrin  Roughing against  Keith Aucoin
14:15
CAR
Keith Aucoin  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Eric Perrin
19:13
ATL
Erik Christensen  Hi-sticking against  Trevor Letowski
goalie stats
Cam Ward
SA: 24TOI: 60:00
Saves: 21EV: 21 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: .875SH: 0 - 0
Johan Hedberg
Johan Hedberg
SA: 15TOI: 26:14
Saves: 13EV: 13 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: .867SH: 0 - 0
Kari Lehtonen
Kari Lehtonen
SA: 22TOI: 33:39
Saves: 18EV: 15 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .818SH: 0 - 0