OTTAWA (AP) - Dany Heatley put his name alongside Marian Hossa's in the Ottawa Senators' record book and came close to erasing it.
Heatley scored twice to tie the Senators' record for goals in a season and lift Ottawa to a 6-4 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers - his former team - on Monday night.
The second-leading goal scorer in Thrashers history, Heatley added his name to the Senators' record book in his first season in Ottawa. He has 45 goals to tie the single-season mark set in 2002-03 by Hossa - the key player the Senators traded to Atlanta in the offseason to acquire Heatley.
"It's a great feeling definitely to do it here but in regards to playing those guys, I'm just happy we got the win," Heatley said.
He might have broken the record but couldn't lift a shot over Kari Lehtonen's outstretched right pad on a breakaway in the second prior to scoring his second of the game later in the period.
"We knew the scouting report on him and I did the exact same thing that they told us not to do," Heatley said. "It's tough to get it up when you're reaching and you've got your arms extended, but I thought I could still sneak it in and he made a good save."
Jason Spezza had a goal and two assists, and Patrick Eaves, Bryan Smolinski and Brian McGrattan also scored for Ottawa, which had three power-play goals. The Senators lead the Eastern Conference with 107 points.
Ilya Kovalchuk, the Thrashers' career leader in goals, gave Atlanta a brief advantage in the second period with his 48th of the season. It was one of three power-play goals scored by Atlanta, which fell seven points behind Tampa Bay at the bottom of the playoff cutoff in the East. The Thrashers have only eight games remaining.
"We can't give up six goals when we're in a playoff race, that's too much," Kovalchuk said. "Eight games left - we have to prepare ourselves better than tonight."
Hossa - and Scott Mellanby also scored with the man advantage for the Thrashers. Jim Slater added an even-strength goal in the third to draw Atlanta within two.
Kovalchuk scored at 2:28 of the second to give the Thrashers a 2-1 lead but he took a penalty later in the period for slashing Chris Neil's right wrist.
"Sometimes you take a slash, sometimes you give a slash," Kovalchuk said. "That's bad. Next time, I'm not going to do it."
Kovalchuk was booed loudly every time he touched the puck for the rest of the game.
Spezza got credit for the first of Ottawa's two 5-on-3 goals in the second to tie it at 4:58, just 29 seconds after Thrashers left wing Brad Larsen was called for tripping Heatley.
Eaves then redirected Anton Volchenkov's pass into an open right side for the second of Ottawa's three power-play goals 23 seconds later, giving the Senators a 3-2 lead at 5:21.
"We gave them every opportunity to get back in the game and take the lead," said Thrashers defenseman Andy Sutton, whose boarding minor at 11:50 led to Heatley's second goal of the game just 8 seconds later on Ottawa's second 5-on-3 of the period. "When you give skilled guys that much time and room, they're going to make you pay. That's the situation we put ourselves in and that's what we're going to have to live with now."
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson missed the game because of the flu, leaving Ottawa without seven regular players, including goalie Dominik Hasek, forwards Mike Fisher and Martin Havlat, and top defensemen Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden and Chris Phillips.
"We jumped on them early, but it wasn't often enough," Thrashers center Marc Savard said.
Senators center Tyler Arnason left the game after he was checked hard by defenseman Garnet Exelby. Arnason got up after taking the hit but looked dazed as he began to make his way to the bench, nearly falling over backward at one point. He was helped off the ice by teammates and didn't return.
Neil followed him to the dressing room before play resumed as Kovalchuk chopped him across the right forearm after Neil lifted his stick before the ensuing faceoff at 11:27.
"We were only up 3-2 at the time," Neil said. "He didn't set a good precedent for his teammates. He's one of their skill players, a leader in that dressing room, and taking a penalty like that, it puts them behind the 8-ball. You don't see a guy like Daniel Alfredsson doing that, you know - that's a good leader."
Heatley, who scored the only goal of the first 16:40 in, got Ottawa's second 5-on-3 goal of the second to give the Senators a two-goal lead at 11:58. Smolinski scored his 16th goal 1:44 into the third, and McGrattan made it 6-2 with his second at 8:49.
Mellanby got Atlanta's third power-play goal at 12:22 to draw the Thrashers to 6-3. Slater cut the deficit to two at 14:19.
Notes: Neil returned before the end of the second period and finished the game. He said Kovalchuk apologized to him at the end of the game. "He was afraid I was going to do something to him or something," Neil said. ... The Senators' win, combined with their six goals, triggered a restaurant chain's promotion of a free slice of pizza for every fan in attendance. It was the 12th time this season that Ottawa has delivered on the promotion. ... Arnason has a possible mild concussion.
|Dany Heatley (44) ASST: Jason Spezza (60), Chris Kelly (18)|
1 - 0 OTT
|PPG - Marian Hossa (34) ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (42)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Ilya Kovalchuk (48) ASST: Steve McCarthy (5), Marc Savard (63)|
2 - 1 ATL
|PPG - Bryan Smolinski (16) ASST: Jason Spezza (61), Brian Pothier (25)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Patrick Eaves (17) ASST: Andrej Meszaros (28), Jason Spezza (62)|
3 - 2 OTT
|PPG - Dany Heatley (45) ASST: Brian Pothier (26), Andrej Meszaros (29)|
4 - 2 OTT
|Bryan Smolinski (17) ASST: Peter Schaefer (30), Chris Neil (17)|
5 - 2 OTT
|Brian McGrattan (2) ASST: Chris Kelly (19)|
6 - 2 OTT
|PPG - Jim Slater (9) ASST: Greg De Vries (23), Bobby Holik (15)|
6 - 3 OTT
|Scott Mellanby (9) ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (43), Marc Savard (64)|
6 - 4 OTT
|Greg De Vries Hooking against Bryan Smolinski|
|Chris Neil Roughing against Bobby Holik|
|Anton Volchenkov Holding against Marian Hossa|
|Anton Volchenkov Tripping against Marian Hossa|
|Andy Sutton Interference against Denis Hamel|
|Brad Larsen Tripping against Dany Heatley|
|Ilya Kovalchuk Slashing against Chris Neil|
|Andy Sutton Boarding against Patrick Eaves|
|Antoine Vermette Holding against Vyacheslav Kozlov|
|Antoine Vermette Hooking against Jaroslav Modry|
|Jason Spezza Too many men/ice - bench|
|Andrej Meszaros Tripping against Ilya Kovalchuk|