Originally created 12/29/00

Thrashers 4, Rangers 1



NEW YORK -- Damian Rhodes made 30 saves and Ray Ferraro had a goal and two assists as the Atlanta Thrashers achieved a winning record for the first time in team history with a 4-1 victory over the slumping New York Rangers on Thursday night.

The second-year Thrashers (15-14-6-1) reached .500 last week for the first time and matched it two games later. Atlanta, 10-4 in December, beat the Rangers for the first time after five losses.

Rhodes only had to make five stops in the first period, but denied several scoring chances in close in the second period - including two by Theo Fleury, the league's leading scorer.

Fleury wrecked Rhodes' shutout bid with 8:02 left. The goal, his 23rd, extended Fleury's league-high points streak to 13 games.

Steve Staios added a goal and Donald Audette had a goal and an assist for the Thrashers, who trail first-place Washington by three points in the Southeast Division.

Yves Sarault scored his first goal of the season in the third period, finishing a 2-on-1 with Audette, who made it 4-0 minutes later on a power play.

New York trails the Thrashers by three points for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, the playoff cutoff. The Rangers, who have missed the postseason three straight years, are in a 1-6-1-1 stretch and dropped their third straight home game.

Mike Richter was back in goal for the Rangers after he was given a week on the injured list to rest. Richter made 23 saves and looked sharp in the first two periods. He started 21 of 23 games before missing the two previous contests - both Rangers losses.

The Rangers, who had the NHL's top power play much of the season, went 0-for-3 with the man advantage and have failed in their last 21 chances - spanning five games.

Staios gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead with the Thrashers skating with a delayed-penalty advantage. Richter stopped Brunette's shot but cleared it out to Staios, who ripped a shot from the right point for his fifth goal this season at 7:41 of the second.

Ferraro made it 2-0 just under three minutes later when he intercepted a clearing attempt by defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre and scored from just inside the blue line. Sarault gave Atlanta a three-goal lead 5:25 into the third with his first NHL goal since Oct. 25, 1997.

Atlanta forward Patrik Stefan hit his head on the ice during his first shift and was held out the rest of the game for precautionary reasons. He did not sustain a concussion.

Notes:

Ferraro's 380th career goal moved him into a tie with Toronto's Steve Thomas for 73rd place on the NHL list. ... The Thrashers play the New York Islanders on Friday night at Nassau Coliseum, an arena in which they have never lost (3-0). ... The Rangers have lost seven straight games in which they have failed on the power play. ... Fleury is tied for the NHL lead in goals and has a league-high 53 points.