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Thrashers 4, Capitals 3, SO @NHLdotcom

ATLANTA (AP) -The Atlanta Thrashers are off to their best start ever and starting to look like one tough team.

Vyacheslav Kozlov and Marian Hossa each scored in a shootout to give Atlanta a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

The Thrashers have won five of their last six games and are in first place in the Southeast Division with 11 of a possible 14 points after seven games.

"We never quit. That's what is big about this team," said Hossa, who had a pair of goals and an assist in regulation. "We showed a lot of character and got a big two points."

Kozlov beat Capitals goaltender Brent Johnson to open the shootout. Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen then stopped Alexander Semin before Hossa beat Johnson. Lehtonen blocked Alex Ovechkin's shot to finish off the 2-0 shootout.

"I yelled when he (Ovechkin) missed it. I didn't say anything," Lehtonen said. "I just yelled. I was so happy to get those two points."

Hossa got the tying goal with 33 seconds left in regulation to send it into overtime. His seventh goal came when he took a pass from Ilya Kovalchuk and knocked it over the right shoulder of Johnson.

Ovechkin scored in a three-goal Capitals second period to give Washington a 3-2 lead at 15:48.

"I gave up a couple of easy goals in the second period. They kind of stole the lead. That was frustrating to me," Lehtonen said.

The Thrashers jumped in front with a power-play goal in the first period. Hossa redirected a shot by Kovalchuk past Johnson, making only his second start, at the 5:02 mark. It came only 14 seconds after the Capitals' Kris Beech was penalized for holding.

Kozlov knocked in his third goal from in close on a slick pass from Hossa to give the Thrashers a 2-0 lead 1:04 into the second period.

"They've got a good hockey club with Hossa and Kovalchuk," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "They're also getting the saves they didn't get last year."

Washington bounced back after Kozlov's goal, scoring three times in the second period. Dainius Zubrus converted his third at 3:39 and Semin picked up his seventh goal on a power play at 14:51 off a faceoff from the left circle.

Less than a minute later, Ovechkin, who as a rookie a year ago scored 52 goals, got his third goal of the season, scoring from up close to put the Capitals in front.

"Right now it feels like a loss," Zubrus said. "We got some good shots, but that was when their goalie made his best saves."

Atlanta outshot Washington 39-25 in regulation, including 1-for-19 in the final period with Johnson making several outstanding stops. The Thrashers were only 1-for-7 on power plays and had a chance to score early in the third period when they had a two-man advantage for 1:15, but were stymied by the Capitals' defenders.

Notes: Lehtonen is now 5-0 against Washington. ... Lehtonen also gave up three goals in one period (first) in a 4-3 loss to Carolina on Oct. 13.

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