Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Series starts 1/22

Game 1: Thursday, January 22nd
Avalanche1Final
OT
Jets1

Avalanche 1

(27-11-2, 64 pts)

Jets 1

(21-21-2, 49 pts)

7:30 PM ET, January 22, 2004

Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

1 2 3 OT T
COL 0 1 0 01
WPG 1 0 0 01

F. Kaberle (Jets - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

P. Nurminen (Jets - G): Saves: 20, Save Pct.: .952

D. Aebischer (Avalanche - G): Saves: 20, Save Pct.: .952

Colorado squanders five power plays

ATLANTA (AP) -- Atlanta goalie Pasi Nurminen had an unusually quiet night against an unlikely opponent.

Nurminen made 20 saves and the Thrashers held Colorado's NHL-leading power play scoreless in a 1-1 tie Thursday night.

The 21 shots Nurminen faced tied a season low for Atlanta, which was facing the third-highest scoring team in the league.

"I kind of felt like I didn't have to do too much," he said. "I can't say it was easy, but there have been harder games."

The Avalanche had converted 24 percent of their opportunities with the man-advantage coming in, but they squandered five chances against the Thrashers, including a brief five-on-three in the second period.

That shouldn't be a surprise because the Thrashers lead the NHL in penalty killing at home.

"This is the best game our defensemen played this year," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "There's no rest playing against these guys. We missed a couple of chances, but I think we generated a lot and we kept their big guns pretty quiet."

Frantisek Kaberle gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead early in the first period on a power play, and Brad Larsen tied it in the second. Both goals came from unlikely scorers -- it was Kaberle's second of the season and Larsen's third.

Colorado goalie David Aebischer made 20 saves.

"We started pretty sluggish," Larsen said. "I'm happy with the point."

For Hartley, it was his second game against the team he led to the Stanley Cup in 2001. He was fired by Colorado after a 10-8-9-4 start last season, and Atlanta hired him about a month later.

The Thrashers won the first meeting, a 4-3 victory in overtime last February. In 4½ seasons with the Avalanche, Hartley was 198-118-48.

"I don't really look at the other bench," Aebischer said. "We're just happy with the points we have this season, and the one we got tonight."

Perhaps mindful of Hartley's presence, both teams played a tight, physical game. Atlanta's Ben Simon came charging out of the penalty box in the first period and leveled Andrei Nikolishin, stealing the puck in the process.

"It was a pretty physical game," Hartley said. "We have a couple of physical guys, and so do they. The referees did a great job of controlling the game. It was getting a little chippy."

Colorado is 6-1-1 in its past eight games, and Atlanta has a modest three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1).

"We're back on track," Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk said. "We need to win a couple of more games before the All-Star break and we'll be OK."

Kaberle gave the Thrashers the lead with eight seconds left on the power play. Shawn McEachern dug out the puck in the corner, then fed Kaberle between the circles. His wrist shot beat Aebischer for a 1-0 lead.

Larsen tied it with a one-timer at the 6:16 of the second, taking a pass from Milan Hejduk near the blue line and slapping the puck through Nurminen's legs.

The Avalanche had their best chance to go ahead during that 20-second, two-man advantage in the second period. After they failed to score, they still had another 30 seconds on the power play, which they also wasted.

"You've got to take advantage of that," Colorado left wing Alex Tanguay said. "It's up to us to move the puck around, and we didn't really do that."

Another chance with the man-advantage early in the final period disappeared without a shot, and Colorado was called twice for offsides.

Game notes


Thrashers D Garnet Exelby left in the first period because of a hip contusion and didn't return. One of only six players on the team to play in every game this season, he has seven assists. ... The Avalanche will finish a four-game road trip Saturday in Pittsburgh. They return home for one game, then hit the road again for two.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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