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Senators 3, Thrashers 1 @NHLdotcom

ATLANTA (AP) - Dany Heatley wishes every trip back to Atlanta could be this pleasant.

He still heard plenty of boos, but nothing like his first return visit.

"Once it happened the first time, I wasn't expecting anything different tonight," Heatley said. "But it was nice to get the win here tonight."

Daniel Alfredsson opened Ottawa's three-goal flurry in the first 5:02, and the Senators held Atlanta to just 17 shots in a 3-1 victory over the Thrashers on Friday night.

The Senators, second in the Eastern Conference with 89 points, have won five of six. Ottawa was coming off a 6-2 loss at Florida on Wednesday, but led 3-0 after taking just four shots.

Atlanta lost for the first time in four games.

Heatley, the NHL rookie of the year in 2001-02 for the Thrashers, requested a trade seven months ago so he could leave behind the tragedy of his 2003 car wreck, which killed teammate and close friend, Dan Snyder.

Many fans jeered him when the Senators played their first game in Atlanta, which the Thrashers won 8-3 two months ago. Because Ottawa built such a quick lead, fans had little to cheer or boo.

"The first time we got spanked pretty good," Heatley said. "We were trying to play a simple game once we got the lead."

Alfredsson stole Bobby Holik's soft pass to Slava Kozlov, and scored his 36th goal, over the left shoulder of goalie Kari Lehtonen just 1:43 into game.

"We controlled the puck pretty well," said Alfredsson, who tied Heatley for seventh in the NHL in goals. "We got off to a good start start, and obviously that gave us the win. It put them back on their heels. That allowed us to play a lot smarter."

Added Holik, whose minus-2 effort dropped him to minus-13 for the season, "I have to take the blame for a couple of those goals, and there's not much else to say. I've got to be better and help the team more."

Chris Kelly's sixth goal, a wrister that beat Lehtonen in nearly the same spot, gave the Senators a 2-0 lead 58 seconds later.

Bryan Smolinski capped the early outburst with his 14th goal. Taking Tyler Arnason's pass from the right circle, Smolinski faced a nearly empty net as he tapped in a shot between the bottom of the left circle and the crease.

Senators goalie Ray Emery had 16 saves to improve to 14-5-1 in place of injured starter Dominik Hasek. Emery allowed eight goals in a loss at Atlanta two months ago and six goals at Florida two nights before.

"They have a skilled team, so for them to get only 17 shots, that means we did a good job defensively," Emery said. "We limited their chances and we definitely got ours."

Lehtonen finished with 32 saves. He ended a three-game winning streak after going 7-2 over his last nine overall.

"There were a couple of turnovers, and they came pretty hard," Lehtonen said. "We were not patient enough. They put the puck deep, and I should have had two of those goals also. It's just hard to come back after that."

Ilya Kovalchuk's 41st goal, coming at the 4:26 mark of the second, gave him 21 on the power play to tie the New York Rangers' Jaromir Jagr for the NHL lead.

Kovalchuk tied his career high in single-season goals, which he set in 2003-04.

Heatley took four shots, three in the second.

"We lost a tough one in Florida and we wanted to forget that," Heatley said. "We have been able to forget them. We're going to drop a game now and then."

Notes: Arnason, acquired in a trade Thursday from Chicago, had one assist. ... Defenseman Steve McCarthy, acquired from Vancouver, isn't expected to play his first Thrashers game until Sunday at the New York Rangers. ... Garnet Exelby didn't dress after the Atlanta defenseman took an elbow to the face in a shootout victory Wednesday over the Rangers.

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