ATLANTA — Atlanta’s Eric Perrin delivered an unintentional assist on Alex Burrows’ game-winning goal for Vancouver, and Thrashers goaltender Kari Lehtonen was left with a painful mark on his chest as evidence.
Burrows’ goal midway through the third period completed a rare third-period rally for Vancouver and the Canucks ended a frustrating four-game road trip by beating Atlanta 2-1 on Thursday night.
Burrows’ goal 11:14 into the third period came after contact between teammate Ryan Kesler and Perrin in front of the net. Perrin’s stick hit Lehtonen below his right collarbone, knocking the goalie off his feet. Lehtonen was sitting on his backside in front of the net and was unable to defend Burrows’ shot.
After the game, Lehtonen showed a 6-inch red streak on his upper chest.
"Perrin’s stick hit me right here," Lehtonen said, pointing to the mark. "That’s why I went on my butt. I couldn’t get up fast enough.
"I was complaining a lot because I thought it was their player’s stick, but I was wrong. Sometimes things like that happen."
Daniel Sedin scored on a power play for Vancouver early in the third period after a second-period goal by Pascal Dupuis gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead.
The Canucks had been 1-19-1 this season when trailing after two periods.
Vancouver ended a streak of four straight losses by one goal, including three on its road trip to Tampa Bay, Florida and Dallas.
"We really wanted to find a way to win tonight," Burrows said. "After that second period we got together and played a really strong third period."
Roberto Luongo stopped 27 shots for Vancouver.
The Thrashers dropped their second straight game at home.
"It’s bad to lose two in a row, especially when we’re in both games," Lehtonen said. "It’s the time of year when we really have to get the points, and it’s terrible that we didn’t."
Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk was shut out on six shots.
"Our number one priority was to shut him down and try to get under his skin," Burrows said. "... I think just going at him is part of my game."
Said Luongo of Kovalchuk: "Obviously, he is a big part of their team. We put a lot of focus on him. We didn’t want to give him much room."
Dupuis scored 7:58 into the second period after Luongo stopped Tobias Enstrom’s shot from the left circle. The deflection off Luongo’s pads set up the follow shot by Dupuis for the 1-0 lead.
Sedin’s tip-in goal 6:32 into the third period tied the game at 1-1. Sedin deflected a long shot by Mattias Ohlund from beyond the left circle.
Ohlund returned to the team after leaving the road trip to attend to a family matter in Vancouver.
"Mattias had to go home for a family medical reason, and for him to take the red-eye last night to come here and play says so much about that individual and how much he cares about his teammates," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "I think that was a huge lift for us."
Vancouver’s Jeff Cowan and Atlanta’s Eric Boulton drew 5-minute penalties for fighting 6:18 into the game, setting the pace for a physical period.
Kovalchuk was involved in a brief skirmish midway through the period and then lost his helmet when he was knocked into the boards by Byron Ritchie with about 4 minutes left in the period.
Todd White was one of a group of Atlanta players who responded to the hit on Kovalchuk. Ritchie earned 2-minute minors for interference and roughing and White drew a 2-minute penalty for roughing.
There was more physical play in the first 20 minutes. Garnet Exelby was sent sprawling with a hard check from Matt Cooke, and Exelby immediately answered with two crowd-pleasing checks against different players before drawing a 2-minute minor for interference.
Atlanta’s Chris Thorburn and Vancouver’s Nathan McIver earned another set of 5-minute fighting penalties for their brawl 9:45 into the third period.