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End of Game Report TORONTO 4, ATLANTA 0
TORONTO (AP) - Before arriving in Toronto a week ago, Dmitri Khristich had never heard of Nik Antropov and he wasn't all that sure who Mike Johnson was. The three have become the Maple Leafs' hottest line.
Khristich scored two goals, Johnson got the game-winner and the unit combined for five points as Toronto beat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-0 Wednesday night.
Khristich has three goals in three games since arriving in a free agency prompted trade from the Boston Bruins on Oct. 21. The 30-year-old Ukrainian has looked sharp playing with Johnson, a fourth-year forward, and Antropov, a 19-year-old rookie.
"I never even heard of Antropov before I got here so I didn't know what to expect," Khristich said. "He has a great future. And Johnson plays the type of (fast-skating) game that works well."
Glenn Healy had 16 saves for his 12th career shutout as Toronto won its third straight and remained first overall in the NHL with an 8-3-1-0 record. Healy was making his third start of the season, giving Curtis Joseph the night off. His toughest test came against Denny Lambert on a goal-mouth scramble midway through the second period. Toronto outshot Atlanta 16-2 in the scoreless first period.
"Usually it's good to get a lot of shots like that early so you get into the game right away," Atlanta goalie Damian Rhodes said. "Then we got going a bit in the second period.
"It could have been a different game had we scored first. When Toronto got one goal, it was enough for them."
The Maple Leafs opened the scoring at 2:25 of the second period when Antropov swatted the puck away from defenseman Darryl Shannon and onto Johnson's stick. Johnson lifted a high backhander over Rhodes' shoulder for his fifth goal of the season.
"Once the first goal went in, it gave the guys" confidence, said Toronto coach Pat Quinn. "They were getting frustrated on the bench.
Johnson also did all the work on Toronto's second goal, outskating two Atlanta forwards, going around another and getting a shot on Rhodes. Khristich flipped in the rebound at 17:39.
Alexander Karpovtsev made it 3-0 at 5:40 of the third, with the Maple Leafs in the midst of a two-minute 5-on-3 man advantage. Khristich rounded out the scoring with a power-play goal from the high slot at 16:09.
1ST 2ND 3RD FINAL --- --- --- ----- Atlanta 0 0 0 0 Toronto 0 2 2 4