Atlanta star is cooled off

ATLANTA --- The Carolina Hurricanes stopped Ilya Kovalchuk for a change.


Two days after Kovalchuk had four points in an overtime win at Carolina, the Atlanta star was held without a goal as the Hurricanes padded their Southeast Division lead by beating the Thrashers 4-3 on Friday night.

Cory Stillman's goal with a two-man advantage gave Carolina its first lead with 3:23 left. The decisive score came with 9 seconds remaining on the two-man advantage.

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.

The Thrashers fell to 4-13 when Kovalchuk, the NHL leader with 33 goals, is held without a goal. Atlanta (20-21-1) tried to pull within a point of first-place Carolina but instead fell below .500.

Kovalchuk has 24 goals in 34 career games against Carolina, including a goal and three assists in the Thrashers' 5-4 overtime win Wednesday night. He was limited to one assist in the rematch.

Eric Staal, Ray 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 Thursday, made 23 stops.

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


In Newark, N.J., Martin Brodeur stopped 37 shots in his 96th regular-season shutout, and New Jersey beat Philadelphia for its 11th consecutive home win over the Flyers.

Brodeur has four shutouts this season and is seven shy of tying Terry Sawchuk's mark of 103. Brodeur's total of 118, including 22 in the playoffs, is an NHL record.

The Devils lost the first game of the season series but have won four in a row, stretching their dominance over Philadelphia to 14-1-1. The Flyers haven't won in New Jersey since March 9, 2004, and have one more chance this season.

The Devils won their fifth in six games and are 16-4-1 in the past 21.


In Buffalo, N.Y., Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson scored late in the third period, and Ottawa hand Buffalo its season-worst fifth consecutive loss.

Heatley, Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Andrej Meszaros each had a goal and assist for the Senators, who snapped a two-game skid and won for the fourth time in six games.

Ray Emery made 36 saves and Cody Bass scored his first NHL goal.

Ales Kotalik, Jochen Hecht and Michael Ryan scored for Buffalo, which erased a three-goal deficit before Heatley and Alfredsson scored. The Sabres played their first game since a 2-1 shootout loss to Pittsburgh in the NHL's Winter Classic.



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