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October 23, 2002
Game 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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