October 23, 2002Game 5: Devils Beat Thrashers 2-1
The New Jersey Devils defeated the Thrashers, 2-1 in
Atlanta on Wednesday, October 23, 2002. Martin Brodeur was 1.7
seconds from getting his first shutout of the season.
Jim McKenzie scrapped with Thrasher defenseman Francis
Lessard at 4:28 of the first period. The fight had no clear
victor, but McKenzie did leave with a cut below his right eye, and behind
his right ear.
The Devils put another Thrasher defenseman in the penalty
box at 7:31, when Turner Stevenson fought with Chris Tamer. This
fight was also evenly matched.
The Thrashers had a 1:43 5-3 power-play opportunity when
Scott Niedermayer took a goaltender interference penalty with Oleg
Tverdovsky already in the box for hooking. The Devils managed to
kill off the penalties with the two defensemen in the box.
Turner Stevenson put himself back in the penatly box for
another five minutes at 13:40 of the first period (just 1:09 after he
got out of the box for his first fight), when he took on left winger
Jeff Cowan. The two each landed 6 or seven good punches in
another evenly matched battle.
Jeff Friesen gave the Devils a 1-0 lead with his first
goal of the season (and his first as a Devil). Friesen put the
puck over Milan Hnilicka, right under the crossbar at 14:38 of the first
period. Scott Gomez and Brian Rafalski assisted on the goal.
The first period ended with the Devils leading the
Thrashers, 1-0. The Devils outshot the Thrashers 9-8 and won
15 of 24 (63%) of the faceoffs in the period.
Play was tentative the first half of the second period,
but then opened up after the 10:00 mark.
Brian Gionta beat Hnilicka on a breakaway with 8 seconds
remaining in the second period, but was unable to score, hitting the
outside of the post.
The second period ended with the Devils still leading the
Thrashers 1-0 on the scoreboard. The Devils outshot the Thrashers
10-8 and won 13 of 20 (65%) faceoffs in the period.
Scott Gomez made it 2-0 at 1:10 of the third period on a
4-4. Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski assisted on Gomez's
first goal of the season.
Ilya Kovalchuk ruined Brodeur's shutout with 1.7 seconds
remaining in the game on a power-play. The Thrashers had also
pulled their goaltender, so it was actually a 6-4.
The game ended with the Devils defeating the Thrashers,
2-1. The Thrashers outshot the Devils 10-7 in the third, but were
outshot 27-26 in the game.
Andrei Zyuzin was out of the lineup for "personal
reasons." Tommy Albelin was recalled from Albany to take
the 7th defenseman's spot on the roster.
Mike Danton was also not with the team, he was back
in New Jersey and was expected to meet with Lou Lamoriello on Thursday,
October 24, 2002. Lamoriello said that he has not been sent
down to Albany and has not been suspended.
Tonight was Patrik Elias' 400th NHL game.
It was "NASCAR Night" at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
There were cars on display and drivers in attendance.
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