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Mogilny plays trick on Thrashers

Monday, 23.12.2002 / 12:00 AM / News
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Mogilny plays trick on Thrashers
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TORONTO (Ticker) -- Alexander Mogilny and the Toronto Maple Leafs finally figured out Pasi Nurminen.

Mogilny recorded his second hat trick of the season as the Maple Leafs extended their home unbeaten streak to 10 games with a 5-1 rout of the Atlanta Thrashers.

The 33-year-old Russian put Toronto ahead for good with a shorthanded goal at 15:43 of the second period. He intercepted a pass from defenseman Frantisek Kaberle at the Atlanta blue line while killing a penalty, then beat Nurminen between the pads. Mogilny tallied again less than two minutes later, one-timing Darcy Tucker's pass from behind the net past the Finnish goaltender. He completed his 17th career hat trick with 59 seconds left in the third when he scored his 16th goal of the season into an empty net.

"I'm feeling really healthy and comfortable," said Mogilny, who has four goals and five assists during a four-game points streak. "Guys are getting me the puck. I wasn't really thinking about a third (goal), but the opportunity presented itself and it's nice to get one."

Alex Mogilny was rolling against the Thrashers.
Graig Abel Photography
Mogilny also assisted on defenseman Aki Berg's goal that made it 4-1 and registered his first four-point night of the season.

"Alex made a good read to get his first one and then his second one seemed to take some spirit out of them," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "After his first goal, you could tell he was hungry for more. He had one of those nights, and when he's like that, he's tough to stop."

"You watch this guy play and see how skilled he is and what he can do for a team," Thrashers coach Curt Fraser said. "Tonight was one of those nights where he was a gamebreaker. We couldn't control him, especially that last one. We threw it right up the middle, it lands on his stick and he goes in for the hat trick."

Mogilny had been held to one assist as Toronto went 0-1-1 in its first two meetings with Atlanta this season.

"It's nice to get a win, they've been all over us," Mogilny said. "It looked early like it was going to be a tight game, but I was able to get a couple of quick ones to open it up for us."

Nurminen recorded his first NHL shutout in a 1-0 triumph over the Maple Leafs a week ago. He turned aside 22 on Monday.

"I felt pretty good from the start, but we made a few mistakes and they turned them into goals," Nurminen said. "Good players score the way Mogilny did tonight. I got a piece of every one of those.

"I hope I can play against other teams the way I've played against the Leafs. I need to be consistent."

Jonas Hoglund scored in the second period and Darcy Tucker collected two assists for Toronto, which is 9-0-1 at the Air Canada Centre since November 16.

"It's nice to get a win against these guys," Tucker said. "It's nice to go into Christmas with a win. We have a long stretch on the road coming up, so we need to be playing well."

Ed Belfour made 20 saves and improved to 9-1-1 in his last 11 decisions.

Tony Hrkac scored the lone goal for Atlanta, which fell to 1-6-0-3 in their last 10 games.

After a scoreless first period, Hrkac got his sixth goal 2:45 into the second. But Hoglund tied it less than four minutes later.

"For half a game, we stuck with them, but we couldn't bury our chances and they did," Fraser said.

"(Atlanta) seems to have some spark against us and early on, they looked confident," Quinn said.

Notes: Toronto outshot Atlanta 27-21 . . . On power plays, Toronto was 0-for-3, Atlanta 0-for-5 . . . Sundin picked up an assist on Berg's goal. It was his 641st point in a Toronto uniform, moving him past Ron Ellis for fifth spot on the club's all-time club list . . . D Wade Belak dropped Toronto-born LW Jeff Cowan in a second-period fight . . . Missing the game with groin injuries were LW Shayne Corson of the Leafs, who has sat out 14 of the last 16, and RW Dany Heatley and G Byron Dafoe of the Thrashers . . . Atlanta summoned Milan Hnilicka from the Chicago AHL farm to back up Nurminen.
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