NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Ottawa
(Monday, April 3rd)
Final Score: Ottawa 6, Atlanta 4
Ottawa, ON (Sports Network) - Dany Heatley netted two goals to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 6-4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers at Scotiabank Place.
Jason Spezza had a goal and two assists and Bryan Smolinski added a goal and an assist for the Senators, who have won two of their last three games.
Ray Emery, who earlier in the day was named NHL Defensive Player of the Month, made 33 saves in the win for Ottawa, which has 107 points and sits atop the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of second-place Carolina. Ottawa trails Detroit by five points for the top spot overall in the NHL.
Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists and Marian Hossa, Jim Slater and Scott Mellanby tallied goals for the Thrashers, who have dropped three of their last four games.
Kari Lehtonen was torched for six goals on 28 shots for Atlanta, which with the loss and a win by Tampa Bay suffered a serious blow to its attempt to reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Atlanta, with 78 points, is seven points behind the Lightning for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The two squads will meet up for games on April 6 and April 11.
The Senators drew first blood with 3:20 left in the first period. Spezza had the disc along the left boards and fired a pass to the high slot, where Heatley one-timed it into the left corner of the net.
The Thrashers, though, grabbed a 2-1 lead with power-play goals separated by 58 seconds in the second period.
Kovalchuk brought the disc down the left side and from deep whipped the puck off of the net. Hossa picked the puck up and fired it between the legs of Emery 1:30 in. Moments later Kovalchuk fired a wrist shot from the left circle for his 48th goal of the season.
However, Ottawa took a 4-2 lead into the second intermission with three unanswered goals.
On a 5-on-3 power play Brian Pothier sent the puck from the left point to Spezza down low. Spezza fired a centering pass that deflected off of a Thrashers stick and into the net 4:58 into the second. Just 23 seconds later, Patrick Eaves redirected a pass from Andrej Meszaros into the net for his 17th goal of the season.
The Senators completed the burst when on a 5-on-3 advantage Heatley stuffed the puck in from the right side for his 45th goal of the season with 8:02 left.
Ottawa grabbed a 5-2 lead when on a 2-on-1 rush Peter Schaefer feathered the puck between the defender to Smolinski, who got down low and lifted the disc over the stacked pads of Lehtonen 1:44 into the third period. Brian McGrattan made it a 6-2 game with his second goal of the season 8:49 into the final period.
Mike Dunham replaced Lehtonen in net after the goal but did not face any shots for the remainder of the contest.
The Thrashers fought tooth-and-nail and got two goals separated by less than two minutes to make it a 6-4 game.
Slater netted his ninth goal of the year with 7:38 left in the game to make it 6-3. On the power play Kovalchuk let fly with a slap shot from the right point that Mellanby redirected past Emery with 5:41 to play.
However, Atlanta was unable to muster any more offense despite having a power play and pulling its goaltender.
Ottawa travels to Buffalo for a matchup on Wednesday...The Thrashers continue their three-game road trip at Florida on Wednesday...The teams finished the season series with each squad getting two wins...Heatley has tied Hossa for most goals by a Senator in a season...Ottawa went 3-for-5 with the man advantage...The Thrashers connected on three of their seven power plays.
04/04 00:43:00 ET