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NHL Game Summary - Ottawa at Atlanta



(Monday, January 2nd)

Final Score: Atlanta 8, Ottawa 3

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Vyacheslav Kozlov netted his fourth career hat trick and added an assist to lead the Atlanta Thrashers past the Ottawa Senators, 8-3, at Philips Arena.

Marian Hossa had two goals and an assist and Ilya Kovalchuk added a goal and three assists for the Thrashers, winners of their last two games.

Michael Garnett, stopped 12 of 14 shots before leaving the game in the second period for unknown reasons. Kari Lehtonen stepped into the net and stopped 12 of 13 shots for Atlanta, which defeated Ottawa for the first time in five attempts in Atlanta.

Dany Heatley, Chris Neil and Chris Kelly scored for the Senators, who had a four-game winning streak stopped. Ray Emery stopped only 19 of 27 shots in the loss. Dominik Hasek was supposed to start the game, but he hurt his back in pre-game warmups and is not expected to miss any time. Ottawa had won three and tied one game in its previous four trips to Atlanta.

Heatley, who requested to be traded from Atlanta and was playing there for the first time since being dealt, was booed every time he touched the puck. He was sent to the Senators this past offseason in exchange for Hossa and Greg de Vries. Heatley wanted to move on after a September 2003 auto accident, in which he was the driver that killed his Atlanta teammate Dan Snyder. Heatley was later sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and some other charges and missed most of the 2003-04 season with several injuries.

"I wasn't putting too much emphasis on it," said Heatley of returning to Atlanta. "I think that you have to put it behind you. We wanted to get on the road again and win the game, but the bottom line is that we lost."

The Thrashers opened up the scoring in the contest on a power-play goal by Kovalchuk, his 25th of the season, at the 8:17 mark of the opening period.

Atlanta increased its lead on a goal by Kozlov. Hossa brought the puck into the Ottawa zone and made a drop pass to Scott Mellanby at the top of the right circle. Mellanby fired the puck onto the stick of Kozlov, who was charging into the zone. Kozlov sent a one-timer into the net from the left circle at the 14:21 mark of the first period.

The Thrashers were not done and made it a 3-0 game on a shorthanded goal towards the end of the opening 20 minutes. Serge Aubin brought the puck into the zone and sent a pass to Hossa at the outside edge of the right circle. Hossa cut towards the front of the net and slid the puck past Emery for his 20th goal of the season with 1:01 left.

Atlanta continued to pour it on and made it 4-0 just 37 seconds into the second period. Hossa got the puck in the slot, slid towards the left circle and let fly with a wrister that went over Emery's right shoulder.

However, Ottawa answered that with its first goal of the game. Neil got the puck down low on the right side of the net, skated out front and sent a backhander that beat Garnett on the stick side just 29 seconds after the Hossa goal.

That goal sparked some life into the Senators and they made it a 4-2 game at the 5:17 mark of the second. Zdeno Chara attempted to send a pass from the left point to the right point, however, a Thrasher player deflected the pass and the puck went down to the side of the Thrasher net. Kelly picked it up and sent a backhander that squeezed through Garnett's five-hole for his third goal of the season.

However, the Thrashers regained their three-goal margin just 31 seconds later as Kozlov deflected a Garnet Exelby point shot into the net

Garnett left the game shortly after the goal and was replaced by Lehtonen.

Kozlov completed the hat trick with 3:55 left in the second period. He one- timed a pass from Niclas Havelid on the right side of the net to make it a 6-2 Thrasher advantage.

"I put three goals in the bank," said Hossa. "But the most important thing is it's two points. We are trying to make the playoffs and it's a huge win for us."

Atlanta increased its lead to 8-2 in the final period. Emery was beaten stick by de Vries' wrist shot 8:32 into the period. Aubin tipped in a pass on the left side of the net for his fifth goal of the season with 6:56 to play.

Ottawa got one back when Heatley's wrist shot hit Lehtonen's glove and got behind the goaltender just 19 seconds after the Aubin goal. The place echoed with boos after the goal.

"Yeah, at least they are doing something, making some noise," said Heatley of the crowd. "If they want to do that, then that's what they want to do."

Game Notes

Hossa has four shorthanded goals this season, which breaks the Atlanta single- season record set by Shane Donovan during the 2000-01 season...Ottawa plays at Washington on Wednesday...The Thrashers face the Hurricanes in Carolina for a Southeast Division matchup on Wednesday...Atlanta went 2-for-6 on the power play...Ottawa was blanked on its six power play opportunities.

01/02 18:58:52 ET


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