Final

Series (Game 3 of 4)

New Jersey leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 16th
Devils1Final
Jets0
Game 2: Saturday, November 1st
Jets1Final
Devils6
Game 3: Thursday, January 8th
Jets4Final
Devils0
Game 4: Friday, February 6th
Devils5Final
Jets1

Jets 4

(14-23-5, 33 pts)

Devils 0

(23-14-3, 49 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 8, 2009

Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

1 2 3 T
WPG 0 3 14
NJ 0 0 00

K. Lehtonen (Jets - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: 1.000

I. Kovalchuk (Jets - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

T. White (Jets - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Lehtonen picks up Thrashers' first shutout of season with stiff effort vs. Devils

Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. -- John Anderson and the Atlanta Thrashers hope a road shutout victory propels the struggling team to better things.

Fast Facts

• The shutout was the first of the season for Kari Lehtonen and the Atlanta Thrashers.

• Ilya Kovalchuck picked up just six points in his first 11 games. He has 36 in his past 31.

• The Devils were shutout just once in their first 31 games but have been blanked three times in their last nine contests.

• Zach Parise was held scoreless for a season-high fourth straight game.

-- ESPN research

Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and an assist, and Kari Lehtonen made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season in the Thrashers' 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

"To come in here against a team like New Jersey, that plays so consistently good and are so big and strong, to win like that, we really needed that," said Anderson, the Thrashers' coach. "I now know that there is a pulse in our room, that they do care. I appreciate that."

Colby Armstrong, Jim Slater and Marty Reasoner also scored for the Thrashers, 2-4-1 in their last seven games.

It was the Thrashers' first shutout of the season. For Lehtonen, it was his 12th career shutout and first against the Devils.

Kovalchuk, added Thursday to the Eastern Conference team for the NHL All-Star game, lived up to the billing with key contributions in Atlanta's three-goal second period.

"It's always nice to get a win," Kovalchuk said. "Hopefully in the second half of the season we will get way more points than we did in the first half. This was a total team effort. Guys were fighting to finish checks, and Kari gave us a hell of a game."

Lehtonen also had a star turn to preserve the win, coming up with a big pad stop on Brian Rolston's breakaway bid in the scoreless first period.

New Jersey, which had won five of the previous six games against Atlanta, suffered its fourth shutout of the season, all at home.

Armstrong opened the scoring at 3:03 of the second, chipping a shot into the slot that dribbled through Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen.

Kovalchuk upped the lead to 2-0 with a power-play blast from the high slot at 5:31. He later nudged the puck ahead to create the 2-on-1 break for Slater and Chris Thorburn that Slater polished off at the 14-minute mark.

Clemmensen, making his 13th straight start for the Devils, was yanked after allowing three goals on 19 shots through two periods.

"It was a coach's decision," Clemmensen said about the benching. "The way the game was going at that point, there was very little room for argument."

Kevin Weekes took over in the third, and was victimized on the first shot he faced when Reasoner made it 4-0 at 2:09.

Devils coach Brent Sutter was at a loss to find a single positive, admitting it was New Jersey's poorest effort of the season.

"You guys saw it as well I did," Sutter said. "I feel bad for anybody who had to come and watch that."

Game notes


The Devils head out on a six-game trip that starts in Los Angeles against the Kings on Saturday. They return on Jan. 21 to host Montreal before playing two more on the road in Ottawa and Boston. ... Devils D Colin White returned after missing five games with an upper-body injury. With White back, the Devils scratched Jay Leach. ... Each team had a forward named Thursday as a reserve for the All-Star game: Kovalchuk for the Thrashers and Zach Parise for the Devils. ... C Bryan Little, the Thrashers' leading goal scorer with 19, missed his second straight game because of a rib injury.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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