The teams meet again Friday in Atlanta.
It was the third assist of the game for Kovalchuk, who also scored once. Mark Recchi added a goal and an assist in helping Atlanta win for the second time in three games. Johan Hedberg got the win with a 32-save performance.
Carolina overcame deficits of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3. The Hurricanes got the final goal of regulation from Carolina's Erik Cole with 4:31 to play in the third.
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