With Some Luck, Rangers Grab a 2-0 Lead

The Washington Post Sunday - - Wizards Insider -

AT­LANTA, April 14 — Sean Avery ric­o­cheted a fluke goal off the boards from cen­ter ice and Bren­dan Shana­han scored the win­ner with 4 min­utes 1 sec­ond re­main­ing Satur­day, lift­ing the New York Rangers to a 2-1 vic­tory over the At­lanta Thrash­ers and a com­mand­ing twogames-to-none lead in the best-of­seven se­ries.

Shana­han’s 54th ca­reer play­off goal came af­ter Ilya Ko­valchuk tied the score at 1 for the Thrash­ers with 14:25 to go in the third pe­riod. From the blue­line, Fe­dor Tyutin fired a shot that was blocked in front by At­lanta de­fense­man Greg de Vries.

But the puck de­flected to Avery in the face­off cir­cle, and he spot­ted Shana­han alone in front. The vet­eran didn’t miss, flip­ping a shot past a div­ing Jo­han Hed­berg to give the Rangers their sec­ond straight one­goal win in At­lanta.

“I was go­ing to back­door it to Marty,” Avery said of team­mate Martin Straka. “But I stopped, turned around and saw Shanny stand­ing in a good spot. He buried it.”

Things got ugly at the end. Ko­valchuk took a run at Avery with 3.4 sec­onds left and drew a penalty. An- other tus­sle nearly broke out at the horn, but the of­fi­cials broke it up.

“The more at­ten­tion they give me, the less they’re giv­ing to my team­mates,” said Avery, one of the NHL’s most out­spo­ken and pe­nal­ized play­ers. “And I play bet­ter, too.”

At­lanta made a switch in the nets af­ter Kari Le­hto­nen gave up a shaky goal in his first play­off game. The Rangers scored the first two goals in that one and have yet to trail in the se­ries.

BY JOHN BAZE­MORE — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

At­lanta’s Jo­han Hed­berg, left, and Alexei Zhit­nik leave Petr Prucha floored.

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