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Senators ride big first period to 5-1 victory over Thrashers

NHL.com @NHL

OTTAWA - Dany Heatley had a goal and two assists - all in the first period - as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 5-1 Wednesday night.

Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Brendan Bell and Shean Donovan also had goals for the Senators (9-10-4), who have now won three of their past four games since ending a six-game losing streak. Alex Auld made 22 saves in his ninth straight start in front of an announced crowd of 17,215 at Scotiabank Place.

Eric Boulton had the only goal for the Thrashers (8-14-3), who were 5-4 losers in Montreal Tuesday night. Andrej Pavelec stopped 29 shots in the loss.

The Senators slowed the pace in the scoreless third period Tuesday and held the Thrashers to just five shots over the final 20 minutes while registering only seven themselves. They were content to just sit back and push the puck into the neutral zone until an opening became available.

Donovan found one of those openings and turned it into the game's final goal as he stepped around defenceman Garnet Exelby and put a shot past Pavelec at 16:29.

Bell had the only goal of the second period and it was also his first as an Ottawa Senator. The native of Ottawa, who spent four seasons playing junior with the Ottawa 67's, received a loud ovation when the goal announcement was made.

Bell also assisted on Heatley's goal that opened the scoring at 1:18 of the first period. Bell delivered a perfect pass from across the ice to the side of the Thrashers goal, where Heatley completed the scoring play with a one-timer over top of Pavelec.

The Thrashers tied the game at 2:53 when Boulton collected his first goal of the season on a shot from the boards that eluded Auld.

Spezza gave the Senators the lead back with a power-play goal at 6:12, and Alfredsson put the home team up by a pair with a breakaway goal at 15:31. Heatley assisted on those two goals, as did Filip Kuba.

Notes: The last time Alfredsson, Spezza and Heatley all scored in the same period was Oct. 10, 2005. ... The Senators are 3-0-0 this season when wearing their new third jersey.

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