ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Thrashers finally addressed their weakness in penalty kill situations by avoiding penalties.
A little discipline Wednesday night carried the Thrashers a long way in a 5-0 victory over Pittsburgh.
The Thrashers killed the Penguins' only three power-play opportunities and outshot the visitors 20-8 in the decisive second period when they took a 3-0 lead.
Jim Slater scored his first career goal and Mike Dunham stopped 24 shots as the Thrashers collected only six penalty minutes.
Entering the game, the Thrashers were No. 29 in the league in penalty kill situations.
"Discipline is such a key factor in the way that hockey has been played in this league so far," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said.
"We played with a lead and we played with confidence. When you stay away from the box, you even out the playing time so much better. You prevent guys from getting in there and losing too much momentum."
The Thrashers, who entered the game with a plus-36 shot differential through 14 games, outshot the Penguins 39-24 overall.
Marc Savard had a goal and two assists. Marian Hossa, Slava Kozlov and Peter Bondra each had a goal and an assist and Ilya Kovalchuk had two assists for the Thrashers.
Savard set up Slater's third-period goal for a 4-0 lead.
"Jimmy Slater tonight was fantastic," Hartley said. "He had wings. He dominated that game and scored his first goal."
Slater was the Thrashers' first-round draft pick in 2002. He was recalled from Chicago of the AHL on Oct. 22.
Pittsburgh goalie Sebastien Caron left the game with a strained left quadriceps late in the game.
"It's too early to say much about it," Caron said. "You don't want to stay in and let it get worse."
Pittsburgh, held without a win in its first nine games, settled for a 3-2 road trip. With a win, the Penguins would have claimed their best five-game road trip in franchise history.
"Overall we have played some good hockey on this trip, but tonight I think we were a step slow," Pittsburgh coach Eddie Olczyk said. "We did not take the advantage on any of our opportunities."
Kozlov said it is especially important to avoid penalty situations against Pittsburgh to keep Mario Lemieux away from power-play chances.
"Against Mario, that's the key," Kozlov said. "You have to stay away from the penalty because he is so very dangerous. We didn't give him too many opportunities to score."
The Thrashers gave up four second-period goals in a 7-5 loss at Pittsburgh on Oct. 27. Atlanta almost returned the favor following a scoreless opening period Wednesday night, taking a 3-0 lead with goals by Hossa, Savard and Kozlov.
Atlanta scored the first goal of the game about five minutes into the period on a power play when Hossa, denied at the net only seconds earlier, scored on a pass from Kozlov.
The power play followed a two-minute tripping penalty on Lemieux.
Hossa, acquired before the season from the Ottawa Senators for Dany Heatley, has points in 11 of Atlanta's 15 games.
Savard gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead with his sixth goal, set up by Hossa and Niclas Havelid.
With less than four minutes left in the period, Kozlov took a pass from Kovalchuk and scored from in front of the net for a 3-0 lead.
With the goal and assist, Kozlov extended his team-best point streak to seven games (three goals, eight assists). He has assists in five straight games.
About 11 minutes into the third period, Slater scored on a pass from Savard for the Thrashers' fourth goal. Bondra also was credited with an assist.
Less than a minute after entering the game following the injury to Caron, backup goalie Jocelyn Thibault quickly gave up a goal to Bondra on Savard's second assist with less than three minutes left in the game.
Dunham recorded his first shutout of the season.
"It was nice to get a shutout but I think it's more important that we played a solid 60-minute game," Dunham said. "We needed something to go our way, and tonight it did."
Notes: The Penguins did not have a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the second period. ... Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, the league's top-scoring rookie, had four shots. ... The Thrashers recalled G Adam Berkhoel from Chicago to provide depth with Steve Shields battling a sore knee. The Thrashers continue to await the return of starter Kari Lehtonen, who has missed more than a month with a groin injury. Lehtonen was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 6 and could return around Thanksgiving.
|PPG - Marian Hossa (7) ASST: Vyacheslav Kozlov (9), Ilya Kovalchuk (9)|
1 - 0 ATL
|Marc Savard (6) ASST: Marian Hossa (11), Niclas Havelid (4)|
2 - 0 ATL
|Vyacheslav Kozlov (4) ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (10)|
3 - 0 ATL
|Jim Slater (1) ASST: Marc Savard (10), Peter Bondra (8)|
4 - 0 ATL
|Peter Bondra (8) ASST: Marc Savard (11)|
5 - 0 ATL
|Sergei Gonchar Hooking|
|Andy Sutton Cross checking against Mario Lemieux|
|Ryan Whitney Hi-sticking against Brad Larsen|
|Mario Lemieux Tripping against Marian Hossa|
|Sergei Gonchar Hooking against Jim Slater|
|Mark Recchi Hooking|
|Serge Aubin Holding against Ryan Malone|
|Richard Jackman Hooking against Serge Aubin|
|Marian Hossa Holding|