Thrashers Skate By Canucks

It was a night of firsts for Dean Sylvester and the Atlanta Thrashers.

The rookie right wing scored the first three goals of his career Monday night and got the first hat trick in the team's brief history as the expansion Thrashers beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-3.

Sylvester, playing in his third game with the Thrashers, also had an assist for the struggling expansion Thrashers, who had lost six of their last seven. Atlanta's six goals were also a franchise high.

"I never thought I'd get three goals and an assist in the same game," said Sylvester, who played one game last season with Buffalo and didn't score.

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  • "It's just a dream to play in the NHL. To go out and get a hat trick, it's that much better," he said.

    "I'm just coming out to work hard every night just like everybody else here. I just happened to get the bounces tonight," said Sylvester.

    Mike Stapleton added a goal and two assists for Atlanta and Andrew Brunette, the Thrashers leading scorer with 20 points, added three assists.

    Kelly Buchberger had his third goal of the season for Atlanta and Johan Garpenlov added an empty-net goal with 47 seconds left.

    Sylvester gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead 6:44 into the game, then scored only 1:29 later for a 2-0 lead against Canucks goaltender Garth Snow.

    After Stapleton scored his first goal of the season on a power play 47 seconds into the second period for a 3-0 Atlanta lead, Vancouver scored twice within three minutes to get within 3-2.

    Donald Brashear scored his fourth goal 7:15 into the period and Alexander Mogilny added his ninth at the 10:16 mark.

    Sylvester broke the Canucks' momentum with his third goal of the night and the crowd of 15,208 tossed about a dozen hats onto the ice to celebrate the first hat trick for the Thrashers.

    "It was humbling to say the least," said Vancouver coach Marc Crawford, whose team leads the NHL's Northwest Division. "It was a bad performance, but the Thrashers worked extremely hard."

    Sylvester, 26, was recalled from the Thrashers IHL farm club in Orlando four days ago and was scoreless in his first two games with Atlanta.

    Snow, making his second straight start and fourth of the season after missing 17 games with a broken finger, was replaced by Kevin Weekes in goal after Sylvester's goal. Buchberger made it 5-2 less than three minutes later, beating Weekes from in front of the net while lying on his back.

    Greg Hawgood scored Vancouver's other goal with 13:36 left in the game to get the Canucks within 5-3 before Garpenlov's goal.

    Atlanta goalie Scott Langkow was making his third consecutive start filling in for starter Damian Rhodes, who had a sprained right ankle in Atlanta's last win, a 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

    Langkow got his first NHL win in that game, replacing the injured Rhodes in the third period as Atlanta rallied for the victory.

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