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Thrashers 5, Capitals 2 @NHLdotcom

WASHINGTON (AP) - Marian Hossa helped the Atlanta Thrashers start a new streak in the new year.

Hossa scored twice, Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists, and the Thrashers beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 Sunday.

Hossa, traded to Atlanta by Ottawa in the offseason, scored the Thrashers' first two goals and jump-started a victory that prevented a losing streak. They had earned at least one point in a franchise-record nine straight games before a loss in Buffalo on Dec. 30.

"It's huge for us after we lost in Buffalo. ... Our power play didn't work as good as we'd like to, but tonight we came up strong," said Hossa, who was dealt to the Thrashers for Dany Heatley.

Scott Mellanby and Marc Savard added a goal and an assist apiece for the Thrashers (17-17-6), who scored three power-play goals and have won three of four road games.

The Senators, the NHL's winningest and highest-scoring team, will be in Atlanta on Monday for the first time since the trade.

"It's going to be an interesting game for me and for other players," said Hossa, who spent seven seasons with Ottawa. "But I just have to be myself and play the same game."

Alexander Ovechkin scored a goal for the sixth straight game and Dainius Zubrus also tallied for Washington.

The Capitals, who played a New Year's Eve matinee, were listless after getting down early and managed only 21 shots.

"There's really no excuse for it," forward Matt Bradley said. "It's not like we're tired. We had a good rest after the game."

Hossa was denied on a breakaway by goaltender Olaf Kolzig 12:55 into the first period, but he put the Thrashers on top at 15:25 by snapping in a shot from the left circle for his 18th goal.

He struck again 3:21 into the second period on a power play. Hossa took Vyacheslav Kozlov's center-point pass deep in the right circle and whacked a shot behind Kolzig.

"We knew they'd be looking for line matchups. ... Obviously, if we could get on the board first, we would take away a little bit of their matching," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "We'd see a little more Ovechkin, but at the same time we could control our own game."

A hooking call on Ovechkin helped the Thrashers go ahead 3-0 on Mellanby's power-play tally midway through the second. Mellanby pushed in the rebound of Jaroslav Modry's drive from the right point.

Zubrus cut the lead to 3-1 with a man-advantage goal less than four minutes later. He squeezed a shot between Kari Lehtonen and the left post from 6 feet out.

A scrum at the end of the second period yielded two minor penalties on the Capitals, and Atlanta started the third on a 5-on-3 power play. Kovalchuk scored his team-high 24th goal on a slap shot from the left circle at 1:41 to make it 4-1.

Savard's goal, a one-timer off Mellanby's pass out of the left corner, put the Thrashers ahead 5-1 about two minutes later. Ovechkin got his 24th goal with 4:45 remaining.

Notes: Hossa had his second two-goal game of the season. His first was Dec. 6. ... The Capitals fell to 12-4-3-1 in New Year's Day home games. ... Washington C Jeff Halpern left in the second period with a lower body injury and didn't return. ... After the game, Washington sent C David Steckel to AHL Hershey and G Maxime Daigneault to ECHL South Carolina.

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