OTTAWA - Dany Heatley scored twice, and Antoine Vermette had a goal and two assists in the Ottawa Senators' 7-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.
Eastern-Conference leading Ottawa (21-7-3) won its fifth straight following a seven-game losing streak. Atlanta has dropped four in a row.
|Senators defenceman Wade Redden celebrates his team's seventh and final goal against the Atlanta Thrashers (Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images).|
Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice for the Thrashers, and Eric Perrin added Atlanta's other goal. Marian Hossa had two assists in the loss.
Johan Hedberg started for Atlanta but he was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals on 24 shots. Kari Lehtonen took over in net and gave up two goals on 19 shots.
Martin Gerber made his second straight start for Ottawa and wasn't tested often as the Thrashers had only six shots in each of the first two periods. He was busier in the third when the Thrashers had 13 shots and enjoyed nearly four minutes of 5-on-3 power-play time.
Two full minutes of that two-man advantage came when Heatley and Corvo took penalties, but as soon as they got out of the penalty box they were sprung on a 2-on-1 break. Heatley converted a pass from Corvo to give the Senators a 6-3 lead.
It was the 200th goal of Heatley's NHL career, and made him the first Senators player to score at least two goals in three consecutive games.
Ottawa was in control entering the third, holding a 5-2 lead and a 34-12 advantage in shots. The final shot total was 44-25.
Kovalchuk cut Atlanta's deficit to 5-3 with a shot from the point that flew past Gerber during the Thrashers' two-man advantage.
The Senators opened a 2-0 lead on goals by Foligno and Kelly.
Foligno opened the scoring 2:30 in when he lunged from behind the net to swipe in a loose puck in the crease. Chris Neil started the play by putting his own rebound off the post and then off the back of Hedberg.
Eight minutes later, Kelly jammed a pass from Vermette behind Hedberg for a 2-0 lead.
The Thrashers quickly got that goal back as Kovalchuk beat Gerber with a shot just nine seconds after Kelly scored.
Meszaros restored the Senators' two-goal lead with a power-play tally four minutes later.
Corvo and Heatley gave the Senators a 5-1 lead by the 8:21 mark and sent Hedberg to the bench.
Perrin scored late in the period after taking a nice cross-ice feed from newly acquired Mark Recchi and put a one-timer past Gerber.
Notes: The Senators have scored first in 20 of their 31 games and have an 18-1-1 record in those games ... Spezza's first assist of the game was the 200th of his NHL career. He leads the NHL with 30 assists ... Centre Mike Fisher left the game with a strained abdominal muscle and didn't return ... The Senators next play Tuesday in Boston against the Bruins (7 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200) before a rematch with the Thrashers two nights later in Atlanta.