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Thrashers Get First Victory


It was a night of firsts for the Atlanta Thrashers.

Damian Rhodes stopped 20 shots as the expansion Thrashers beat the New York Islanders 2-0 Thursday for their first victory, first shutout and first road win in franchise history.

"To come in here and steal one is terrific," coach Curt Fraser said. "It was a good win for our club."

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  • Andrew Brunette scored a power-play goal and captain Kelly Buchberger had the other goal as the Thrashers made their NHL regular-season road debut. Atlanta opened with three straight home games, losing to New Jersey and Detroit and tying Buffalo.

    "Rhodes was sharp," Fraser said. "From the first day of training camp, he's probably been our hardest worker, always wanting to improve."

    Rhodes was jumping around on the ice when the final horn blew.

    "The win was the chocolate sundae," he said. "The shutout was the cherry on top."

    Felix Potvin stopped 26 shots for the Islanders, who played before a turnstile-count crowd of 3,062. The team announced 5,219 tickets were sold for the game at Nassau Coliseum, which holds 16,297.

    Brunette's second goal of the season gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead at 10:46. Potvin stopped Darryl Shannon's shot from the point shot, but Brunette picked up the rebound and shot the puck over Potvin's glove.

    The Islanders' penalty killing got better in the second period, as they killed off three straight penalties, and five of six overall in the contest.

    Buchberger put the Thrashers up 2-0 on a disputed goal at 6:53 of the final period. Buchberger took rookie Parik Stefan's pass and whipped a shot from the left side into the far corner. There was a dispute over what appeared to be a missed offsides call.

    Islanders coach Butch Goring said the officials blew the call, but Buchberger disagreed.

    "Nobody blew a whistle, so I just kept going," Buchberger said. "Patty gave me a great pass, and I just fired it. I think I caught (Potvin) a bit off guard, but we'll take it."

    Two customers in the sparse crowd were Atlanta Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Glavine, a big hockey fan who owns a luxury box in Atlanta's arena, was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round in 1984. He was drafted by the Braves in the second round the same year, and opted for a career in baseball.

    "I was offered $2,000 to play in the Kings' system. I think I made the right decision," said Glavine, who is scheduled to pitch Friday night for the Braves in Game 3 of the NL championship series against the New York Mets.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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