Stewart’s hat trick key to win

SAN JOSE, Calif. — It wasn’t a bad night — or career — for
Anthony Stewart.

The
Thrashers forward scored three
goals, one shy of his NHL career total, and Nigel Dawes scored a
lone shootout goal as the
Thrashers defeated host Anaheim 5-4
Friday night for a come-from-behind victory.

The
Thrashers moved on to San Jose after
the game, where they played the Sharks late Saturday night.

“I have to keep going,” said Stewart, who had four career NHL
goals. “I’m still trying to prove myself in this league, so anyway
I can contribute is great.”

Stewart scored twice in the third period on power plays,
including the game-tying goal with 5:22 left in regulation, as the
Thrashers rallied from a 4-2
deficit. He also scored 17 seconds into the game to start the
dramatic win.

By scoring three times on the power play, the
Thrashers finally got results from a
unit that entered the game just 1-for-14 (7 percent). Their lone
goal came on a 5-on-3 situation. With a 3-for-4 night with a
man-advantage, the
Thrashers improved to 4-for-18 (22
percent).

But Friday night, and the comeback, belonged to Stewart. Coaches
and teammates implored him before the game to better the night of
his brother, Chris, who had a two-point night for Colorado.

“We mentioned that to him,”
Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said.
“It was his job to have a big family night. He loved it. He did it.
There were a bunch of people that mentioned it to him, and he
wanted to do it.”

Valabik clears waivers

Defenseman Boris Valabik cleared waivers Saturday and will be
assigned to AHL Chicago. The former 10th overall pick had hoped to
be claimed by another team for a second chance to be a regular NHL
player. However, he said Friday that he will report to Chicago if
unclaimed for a chance to work on his game and get needed playing
time.

Bergfors scratched

Forward Niclas Bergfors was a healthy scratch in Friday’s game
against Anaheim.

When asked why Bergfors, who had eight goals and nine assists in
27 games for the
Thrashers last season, was
scratched, Ramsay said: “I thought with our lineup we had a chance
to put [Jim] Slater in there. Looking at it, he just seemed like
the guy to come out. There is no particular magic to it. I’m glad,
as it turned out, maybe Dawes is an easy choice [to scratch]. The
guy is a [free-agent] sign. I think he’s played pretty well and
obviously in the shootout he did the job. It’s never fun to be the
guy that gets pulled out. It won’t last. There will be adjustments.
He’ll be back. We’d like to be able to play all the people, and it
doesn’t always work out that way. His job is to be ready to go when
he gets tapped back.”

Bergfors signed a one-year, $900,000 contract with the
Thrashers as a restricted free
agent in the offseason. He also had 13 goals and 14 assists with
New Jersey before joining the
Thrashers as part of the Ilya
Kovalchuk trade.

Late Friday

Thrashers 5, Mighty Ducks 4

Atlanta 1 1 2 0 — 5

Anaheim 1 2 1 0 — 4

Atlanta won shootout 1-0

First Period

1, Atlanta, Stewart 1 (Ladd, Little), :17. 2, Anaheim, Perry 2
(Visnovsky, Getzlaf), 8:43 (pp). Penalties — Thorburn, Atl,
served by Dawes, minor-major (roughing, fighting), 7:54; Parros,
Ana, major (fighting), 7:54; Little, Atl (hooking), 17:52.

Second Period

3, Anaheim, Lydman 1 (Selanne, Beleskey), 9:43. 4, Atlanta,
Thorburn 3 (Byfuglien, Enstrom), 13:21 (pp). 5, Anaheim, Selanne 2
(Koivu, Perry), 19:08 (pp). Penalties — Peverley, Atl (tripping),
3:30; Thorburn, Atl (tripping), 10:36; Visnovsky, Ana (tripping),
12:19; Antropov, Atl (hooking), 17:50.

Third Period

6, Anaheim, Getzlaf 2 (Perry, Selanne), 6:35 (pp). 7, Atlanta,
Stewart 2 (Peverley, Oduya), 10:35 (pp). 8, Atlanta, Stewart 3
(Byfuglien, Enstrom), 14:38 (pp). Penalties — Lydman, Ana
(hooking), 2:15; Meyer, Atl (hooking), 6:22; Mikkelson, Ana
(high-sticking), 8:50; Perry, Ana (slashing), 13:48; Eager, Atl
(hooking), 14:55.

Overtime — None. Penalties — None.

Shootout — Atlanta 1 (Kane NG, Peverley NG, Little NG, Dawes
G), Anaheim 0 (Perry NG, Getzlaf NG, Selanne NG, Koivu NG).

Shots on Goal

Atlanta 10-8-11-4—33. Anaheim 11-18-11-1—41.

Power-play opportunities

Atlanta 3 of 4; Anaheim 3 of 7.

Goalies

Atlanta, Mason 2-2-0 (41 shots-37 saves). Anaheim, Hiller 1-3-1
(33-29).

A — 13,123 (17,174). T—2:38.

Referees — Mike Leggo, Justin St. Pierre. Linesmen—Bryan
Pancich, Mark Wheler.