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Predators' winless streak extends to 11 games

3/29/2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Since the Atlanta Thrashers provided
enough offense in front of Pasi Nurminen, the goalie wasn't about
to complain about the 41 shots that came his way.

Nurminen made 39 saves, and Dany Heatley and Marc Savard had a
goal and an assist each to lead the Thrashers to a 3-2 victory
Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.

"It wasn't that many shots," said Nurminen, downplaying his
performance. "It is my job to stop the puck, whatever the shots.
I'm not going to whine about the number of shots.

"All of the guys on this team are getting more confident. It's
fun to finally be winning."

Heatley's 37th goal of the season moved him ahead of Ilya
Kovalchuk for the team lead. He also has 80 points for the season.

"Everybody stepped up," Heatley said. "We were all together.
In every scrum there were five guys there. When we play as five, we
are a good team."

Nurminen was humble about his performance, but Atlanta coach Bob
Hartley heaped plenty of praise on him.

"Pasi has been so consistent all year for us," Hartley said.
"His performances are getting better and better.

"Basically, he is giving us a chance to win every game, like we
are giving him a couple of goals for a cushion. When we do that, he
takes care of the rest."

The Predators' franchise-worst winless streak was extended to 11
games (0-7-3-1).

"It's tearing our insides out," Nashville coach Barry Trotz
said. "They played hard. We had 41 shots, but we were 0-for-6 on
the power play. If we had a goal on the power play, a timely goal,
that might have made the difference."

The Thrashers scored their first goal nine minutes into the
first period. Kirill Safronov took a shot from the top of the left
circle that went past Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun, who was
distracted by a crowd of five players in front of the net.

Atlanta made it 2-0 at 18:16 when Daniel Tjarnqvist took a shot
from the right point that was deflected in mid-air by Savard and
into the Predators net.

Nashville's Greg Johnson, stationed at the left goal post,
fooled Nurminen with a backhand shot at 6:58 of the second period.

"We could have gotten a few more quality chances," Johnson
said. "And we didn't cash in on the chances we had."

The Thrashers took a 3-1 lead with 1:15 left in the second
period. Savard, skating down the left side, made a cross-ice pass
to Heatley, who was skating down the right side of the slot.
Heatley's wrist shot beat Vokoun.

"Heatley is a young man with great, great talent," Hartley
said of the All-Star game MVP. "We're trying to put him in all
kinds of situations where he's got to get bigger and better as
quickly as possible."

Nashville closed the gap to 3-2 at 17:04 when Denis Pederson
poked the puck through traffic in front of the net, and past
Nurminen who was stretched out on the ice.

Game notes
Heatley was stopped by Vokoun on a penalty shot at 6:52 of
the first period. The shot bounced off of Vokoun's pads. It was
Vokoun's second penalty shot save of the season, having stopped
Toronto's Robert Reichel on Feb. 23. He has faced seven penalty
shots in his career and allowed three goals. ... The Predators lost
LW Andreas Johansson in the first period when he aggravated a back
injury, and Vladimir Orszagh in the second period with a shoulder
injury. Neither returned to the game.

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