SUN Hockey Pool

Playin' Russian duet

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

ATLANTA -- Maybe the Calgary Flames will want to reconsider pushing for a more balanced schedule.

You certainly can't blame them for not wanting to see the superstar snipers of the Southeast Division again.

Ever.

On back-to-back nights, the Flames were victimized by a horror flick that could be called the Ovie and Kovy Massacre.

One sleep removed from watching Alex Ovechkin light them up with a pair of goals a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, Ilya Kovalchuk took his turn using the Flames to pad his stats with a three-goal, one-assist performance last night as the Atlanta Thrashers skated to a 6-4 victory.

It's not like the Flames weren't aware of their ability to light the lamp. Ovechkin leads the NHL in both goals and points. Kovalchuk is No.-2 on the goal-scoring list.

"(In Washington) it was powerplays. Reggie and Sarich (Robyn Regehr and Cory Sarich) did a great job against Ovechkin on five-on-five, but it was powerplays," said captain Jarome Iginla.

"Tonight, we were in a position to take that game over, a couple of breakdowns gave them momentum."

Momentum created by Kovalchuk.

He started the Thrashers comeback after the Flames had earned a 3-0 lead, and scored again late in the second to make it a 4-3 game.

Kovalchuk also set up Bobby Holik's game-winner. And to cap it off, he iced the victory with an empty-netter.

"His first goal was a bounce that created a two-on-one, the second was a powerplay and the third was an empty-netter," said Flames defenceman Adrian Aucoin. "He's gonna get chances, but any time somebody scores three on you, you know you did something wrong.

"It's frustrating."

Probably the biggest blast was his first powerplay tally late in the middle frame, a bullet from the point.

"The powerplay goal was my fault," stated Craig Conroy. "I should have went at Kovalchuk and not worried about anybody else in the slot. The other ones, he made some good plays, but we did it to ourselves, making mistakes.

"We're helping them out, making it fun for them."

The Flames tried to be physical against Kovalchuk. He had a pretty good running feud with Dion Phaneuf, but gave as much as he took.

"That's his style," Kovalchuk said. "He plays good players all the time and he likes to be physical. It was a physical game and I didn't mind it. It's fun to play against the best."

The Flames aren't likely feeling that way right now.


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