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Ottawa
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43-31-8
Atlanta
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34-40-8

30 SOG
45 SOG
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Senators-Thrashers Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Senators-Thrashers Preview
Ottawa Senators vs. Atlanta Thrashers

It doesn't seem like any team is capable of slowing down the Ottawa Senators right now. The Atlanta Thrashers certainly haven't been able to this season.

Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa seeks its seventh straight victory and fourth in as many games this season against the Thrashers when the teams meet Thursday night at Philips Arena.

Ottawa (22-7-3) again appears to be the class of its conference, trailing only league-best Detroit with 47 points. No other team in East even has 40 points.

The Senators have outscored opponents 29-12 during their six-game win streak, two shy of their season high set Oct. 13-Nov. 6.

Jason Spezza scored two goals for the second time in three games, and Martin Gerber made 26 saves in Ottawa's 3-2 victory Tuesday at Boston. The win gave the Senators an eight-point cushion over the second-place Bruins in the Northeast Division.

"For us, it was really important. We knew it was a four-point game," Gerber said.

Dany Heatley, the team leader with 20 goals, was limited to one assist Tuesday after he became the first player in Senators history to score two goals in three consecutive games.

Heatley, who spent his first three seasons with Atlanta, has seven goals and five assists in 11 games against his former team.

Gerber appeared to be losing his hold on the starting job after he went 0-2-1 with a 5.95 goals-against average from Nov. 22-Dec. 1. Ray Emery won three straight starts before he was sidelined with a hip injury on Dec. 12, and now Gerber has gone 3-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA in his last four appearances.

The Senators improved to 3-0 this season against the Thrashers with a 7-3 home victory on Saturday. Heatley scored twice and Antoine Vermette had a goal and two assists as Ottawa outshot Atlanta 44-25.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson and Vermette each have six points in the season series as the Senators have outscored the Thrashers 16-8.

Ottawa center Mike Fisher sat out Tuesday with an abdominal strain and is not expected to play Thursday. He is fourth on the team with eight goals and 20 points.

Atlanta (15-17-1) ended a four-game skid with a 6-2 victory Tuesday over struggling Tampa Bay.

Garnet Exelby, Mark Recchi and Slava Kozlov each scored in the first period for the Thrashers, who gave up 22 goals during the losing streak.

"It was an excellent first period," Thrashers coach and general manager Don Waddell said. "The key tonight was our start. I thought we took the game over right off the bat."

Atlanta had been outscored 6-1 in the first period in its previous four games.

Ilya Kovalchuk assisted on Recchi's goal and scored his league-leading 27th goal in the third period.

"It was a huge game. We got a good start, a quick couple of goals put them on their heels," said Kovalchuk.

Atlanta's biggest star can't be blamed for the team's lack of success this season against the Senators. Kovalchuk has six goals in the three meetings, giving him 18 goals and nine assists in 22 contests versus Ottawa.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 32 of 34 shots after he allowed two goals on 20 shots in relief of Johan Hedberg in Saturday's loss at Ottawa.

Lehtonen - Thursday's likely starter - is 4-4-0 with a 2.86 GAA in 10 career games against the Senators.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Dec 20 '07 OTT 2 at ATL 3 T. White
Dec 15 '07 ATL 3 at OTT 7 J. Corvo
Nov 01 '07 ATL 4 at OTT 6 D. Alfredsson
Oct 10 '07 OTT 3 at ATL 1 A. Vermette