Record night is good news for Thrashers

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

ATLANTA -- Dany Heatley gave himself a wonderful birthday present, with a little help from his teammates.

Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice each as the Atlanta Thrashers tied a team record for goals in an 8-4 victory Tuesday night over the St. Louis Blues.

Playing on his 22nd birthday, Heatley had his goals in the first, helping the Thrashers set a franchise mark with five in a period. Dan Snyder, Brad Tapper, Marc Savard and Frantisek Kaberle also scored in the game for Atlanta.

"I definitely had to put some money up on the board today for a win," Heatley said. "I don't mind paying out."

Slava Kozlov added three assists, his team-leading 12th game with multiple points, and Andy Sutton had two assists. Thirteen players had a point for the Thrashers, who are 3-1 under new coach Bob Hartley.

The Thrashers also scored eight goals Nov. 4, 2000, in Boston.

"This team has real solid players out there," Hartley said. "We just have to keep letting our young kids grow. Those guys will be attractions in the league, and they played a strong game"

Keith Tkachuk had two goals for the Blues, who had won three of four to take the lead in the Central Division. It's the most goals St. Louis has allowed this season.

"This should get our attention," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. "I don't remember ever getting waxed like that."

St. Louis beat Carolina 5-3 a night earlier, so backup goaltender Fred Brathwaite started in place of Brent Johnson.

But Brathwaite allowed three goals on the first six shots and was relieved by Johnson, who gave up two more goals on only three shots. Coach Joel Quenneville sent Brathwaite back on the ice for the rest of the game, although Johnson was stuck with the loss.

"I embarrassed myself and my teammates," Brathwaite said. "I have to make saves when given the opportunity to play, play well and give this team a chance to win. I did not give that to them."

Snyder, recalled Monday from Chicago of the AHL, snapped a 1-1 tie with his second goal of the season, stuffing in a rebound at 13:57 of the first period.

"We came out and really took it to them," Heatley said. "We didn't let up and the pucks were going in the net."

Savard's goal came after a fine play by Sutton, who snared the puck out of the air with his left hand near the blue line, then dropped it before passing to Savard. That made it 4-1 and the Thrashers cruised from there.

"I've never really done anything that pretty in the NHL," Sutton said. "Maybe in college. I don't know what to say about it, sometimes those things just happen."

Barret Jackman and Eric Boguniecki had the other St. Louis goals.

"Totally uncharacteristic of us to play like that," Tkachuk said. "No matter who we play, you have to be ready. They embarrassed us. They came to play and we did not."

Notes: Atlanta G Byron Dafoe, on the injured list with a strained groin, signed autographs during the second intermission. ... Atlanta RW Lubos Bartecko aggravated a groin injury in the second period and left the game. ... St. Louis LW Martin Rucinsky got a two-minute minor late in the game for a nasty high-stick on Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk, who wears a shield on his helmet, wasn't injured.

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