Recchi does in Thrashers again
Published: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 5, 2003 at 11:36 p.m.
ATLANTA - It's hardly an exclusive club, but Mark Recchi is establishing himself as something of a Thrashers killer.
Recchi snapped two third-period ties to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-4 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Thrashers. He has eight goals and 12 assists in 13 career games against Atlanta, leading Philadelphia to a 10-1-3 record against the expansion team.
``It's hard not to fall into their trap,'' Recchi said of Atlanta's wide-open offensive style. ``They're a young team that likes to run and gun. We can't afford to do that. Fortunately, we ended up scoring more than them.''
Recchi put the Flyers ahead 4-3 at 11:11 of the third, knocking a rebound past Pasi Nurminen.
But Atlanta's Marc Savard answered at 12:24 on a similar goal, diving to poke in the rebound of Shawn McEachern's shot from the point. Savard, who didn't score in his first 15 games with Atlanta, has two goals in two games and three overall.
The Flyers then came back again as Recchi fired in a high wrist shot over Nurminen at 14:29 for his second game-winning goal of the season and his 11th score overall.
Justin Williams, Dennis Seidenberg and Radovan Somik scored the other goals for Philadelphia, which finished its seven-game road trip 4-2-1. It was the longest trip of the season for the Flyers, who don't play more than three consecutive road games the rest of the way.
``That was really a great stretch for our hockey club,'' Recchi said. ``Really there was only one bump in the road (a 4-0 loss) in Phoenix. But this is a great stepping stone to getting back into first place.''
The Flyers did just that, moving two points ahead of New Jersey in the Atlantic Division and into sole possession of second in the Eastern Conference.
The Stars killed off a four-minute power play in the third period to extend their unbeaten streak to six games (4-0-2) with their league-leading 10th tie. After missing the playoffs last year, Dallas has a 15-point advantage in the Pacific Division over second-place Anaheim.
Petr Sykora scored for the Ducks, who are winless in six straight after losing their previous five. They have not scored a power-play goal in a season-high four straight games (0-for-17).
Atlanta lost its third straight, getting outscored 17-6 in that stretch, to remain in last place in the NHL.
``We lost the game again and I think we should have that one,'' forward Brad Tapper said. ``We played really well for 50 or 55 minutes, but we were in another place for five minutes.''
Williams opened the scoring just 1:11 in, deflecting Eric Desjardins' shot past Nurminen for his seventh goal.
The Thrashers took a 2-1 lead on goals from Patrik Stefan, who tied a career high with his 10th, and Tapper, who scored his fifth in just his 10th game.
Tapper, an undrafted free agent playing on a line with top overall picks Stefan and Ilya Kovalchuk, scored from his hands and knees when Kovalchuk's shot/pass banked off him and past Roman Cechmanek at 8:19 of the second period.
Seidenberg slipped a weak backhand past Nurminen at 17:19 of the second to tie it, and Somik scored the first of his career just 19 seconds later when he got two whacks at the rebound from the left post to give Philadelphia a 3-2 lead.
Atlanta tied it early in the third on McEachern's 10th. His pass from behind the net hit Cechmanek's pad. Dany Heatley swiped at the puck, but missed. It hit the skate of Flyers forward Michal Handzus and scooted in.
``Three fluke goals against,'' Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. ``(Tapper's) was unbelievable. The guy was laying on the ice and it hit his blade and went in. And two more bounced in off our own players.''
After McEachern tied it, Tapper and Kovalchuk had a chance on a 2-on-1, but Tapper's pass was smothered by a sprawling Desjardins.
Nurminen, who stopped 93 of 99 shots in his past three games, started again as Byron Dafoe is still nursing a lingering groin injury. Nurminen faced 40 shots.
``I have no problem with the effort we made. It was good,'' Thrashers GM/interim coach Don Waddell said. ``We gave them a lot of shots, but they were mainly point shots. And if we had to sacrifice someplace, that is where we had to do it.''
Dafoe likely will miss Tuesday's game against Carolina, but could start Thursday at Tampa Bay.
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