Little, Kovalchuk fuel Thrashers past Flames

Author:
Publish date:

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Bryan Little scored twice and captain Ilya

Kovalchuk netted his 36th goal of the season and added an assist

as the Atlanta Thrashers remained unbeaten against the Calgary

Flames with a 5-2 triumph on Sunday.

Chris Thorburn and defenseman Tobias Enstrom also scored and

Kari Lehtonen finished with 27 saves for the Thrashers, who

improved to 5-0-0 with one tie at home against the Flames since

entering the league in 1999.

"I didn't know that, but I know it now," Kovalchuk said of the

record. "They got a good team. It's always nice to see teams

you don't play for a while."

"I think we want to prove to ourselves that we can play against

and beat teams like Calgary and the better teams in the league,"

Little said. "We're winning these games for us and the fans."

Captain Jarome Iginla netted his 30th goal of the season -

marking his eighth straight season that he has reached that

plateau.

"Last year we had a great opportunity to break that," Iginla

said of his team's fortunes in Atlanta. "This one, we just

didn't play aggressive or determined enough. We didn't deserve

to win.

"Last year we had a chance. I don't think it's about a jinx.

They outplayed us."

Craig Conroy also scored and Miikka Kiprusoff turned aside 15

shots for the Flames, who spent their first eight NHL seasons in

Atlanta before moving to Calgary in 1980.

"Kiprusoff has had better games, there is not a question. He'd

be the first to say that," Flames coach Mike Keenan said. "We

have to respond to those situations."

"Hopefully, I'll be better next game," Kiprusoff said. "It's

tough, but it's one loss. We can't keep worrying about it. We

have to have more energy from the start. I didn't do it

tonight."

Calgary has lost two in a row after posting a 7-1-1 mark in its

previous nine games.

With Atlanta nursing a 3-1 lead, Iginla cut the deficit back to

one 5:19 into the third period but Kovalchuk restored the

two-goal lead just 2:20 later.

Little capped the scoring with his second tally of the contest

midway through the third.

"I wish we would have been playing like this to start the

season," Little said. "We weren't playing with desperation.

"Right now, we want to prove to ourselves that we could play in

this league and play against top teams. We're finally playing

like this, but it's much too late."

TOP HEADLINES