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Thrashers follow Kovalchuk's lead

Ilya Kovalchuk scored a career-high four goals -- all in a row -- and the Thrashers rallied from an early deficit to beat Tampa Bay, 5-2, last night in Atlanta, sending the defending Stanley Cup champions to their sixth straight loss.

After Atlanta fell behind, 2-0, late in the first period, Kovalchuk cut Tampa Bay's lead in half with 1:49 remaining. He then scored the first three goals of the second period to notch his fourth career hat trick and give the Thrashers a 4-2 advantage.

Marian Hossa added a shorthanded goal with 6:29 remaining and helped set up Kovalchuk's first. Marc Savard had three assists and Niclas Havelid had two for Atlanta, which has won two straight for the first time in 34 days.

Hurricanes 1, Panthers 0 -- Eric Staal scored his team-leading 12th goal and Martin Gerber stopped 26 shots as visiting Carolina beat Florida for its franchise-record ninth straight victory.

Gerber posted his second shutout of the season -- both over Florida -- and had to be perfect to outduel Roberto Luongo, his counterpart. Luongo made 34 saves but it wasn't enough to keep the Panthers from losing their seventh consecutive game.

Carolina got the only goal when Staal connected on the power play with 2:44 left in the second period. Erik Cole passed from behind the net to Staal just outside the crease. Staal flipped the puck over a prone Luongo into the right corner of the net.

Red Wings 3, Wild 1 -- Brendan Shanahan and Jason Williams scored second-period goals to lift host Detroit over Minnesota.

Johan Franzen added a goal and Manny Legace made 16 saves for the Red Wings, who have won three straight.

Sabres 5, Maple Leafs 2 -- Tim Connolly scored two goals, including the winner, and Buffalo snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory over visiting Toronto.

It was the first two-goal game for Connolly, who missed the entire 2003-04 season with a concussion.

Devils 4, Capitals 3 -- Martin Brodeur returned to the lineup to end New Jersey's four-game losing streak, making 21 saves to beat host Washington in a Veterans Day matinee.

Brodeur missed six games with a sprained knee for the longest injury-induced absence of his durable NHL career. Grant Marshall, Zach Parise, Brian Gionta, and Scott Gomez scored for the Devils, who moved back to .500.

Oilers 3, Blue Jackets 1 -- Fernando Pisani's third-period goal gave goaltender Jussi Markkanen all the offense he needed in visiting Edmonton's victory.

Pisani's third goal of the season came 7:36 into the period and gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead.

Kings 4, Blackhawks 2 -- Mathieu Garon stopped 32 shots as Los Angeles won in Chicago.

Eric Belanger had a goal and assist and Michael Cammalleri, Alexander Frolov, and Craig Conroy also scored for the Kings.

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