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Post-game report: Ottawa 3 Atlanta 1

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators

ATLANTA (AP) - 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.

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.

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 had allowed eight goals in a loss at Atlanta two months ago and six goals at Florida two nights before.

Lehtonen finished with 32 saves.

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.

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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