Rangers Continue To Falter—Lose to Thrashers 5-3

Tonight's Healthy ScratchesCorrespondent INovember 12, 2009

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 28: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers misses a shot by John Tavares #91 (not shown) of the New York Islanders as the Islanders defeat the Rangers 3-1 at the Nassau Coliseum on October 28, 2009 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It didn't take Ilya Kovalchuk long to pick up where he left off.

Kovalchuk, after missing six games with a foot injury, led the Thrashers to a 5-3 victory over the slumping New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Thursday night.

The Thrashers' captain had a goal and two assists in his return to action, but was not the only Thrasher that had a huge impact on the game.

Rich Peverley—who was claimed off waivers from Nashville midway through last season—also added a goal and two assists for Atlanta.

Atlanta opened up the scoring just 19 seconds into the game with a goal by Colby Armstrong—the first of three leads for the Thrashers.

The Rangers battled back to tie the game with a tap-in goal by Artem Anisimov following a shot by Marian Gaborik.

A four-minute stretch during the second period proved to be the back-breaker for the Rangers.

After tying the game 2-2 following a power-play goal from Marian Gaborik (13), the Rangers lost control of the game, allowing two quick goals by the Thrashers.

"We just didn't have any momentum in the second period," said center Vinny Prospal. "Once we tie the game, all of a sudden in 30 seconds it's 4-2 instead of us maybe going ahead and going into the third period with the lead."

During those 30 seconds, Kovalchuk scored his 10th goal of the season on the power play, followed by an Evander Kane goal after a giveaway by Henrik Lundqvist.

"I gave away the puck there, I can't assume we have a guy on the board," said Lundqvist. "I have to take a better look, that was a killer."

Lundqvist made his first start following a two-game absence with an un-disclosed injury.

The Rangers (10-8-1), played their first game following a Western road trip. Coach John Tortorella admitted the team looked "slow" during the early parts of the game, which could be attributed to the long trip.

During that road trip, the Rangers lost two of their top-three centers in Brandon Dubinsky (broken hand) and captain Chris Drury (concussion).

The Rangers play the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday.