Bondra's return to Washington not as sweet for Caps

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Peter Bondra's return to Washington was
greeted with cheers. It didn't take long for him to draw boos from
his former fans.

The Capitals' career leader in several categories scored his
first goal against his longtime club and added two assists to send
the Atlanta Thrashers on their way to a 7-3 victory over Washington
on Friday night.

"Obviously, I have a lot of memories here," Bondra said, "but
at the same time I'm going to put all my energies into moving
forward and doing my best for the Thrashers."

He received loud applause during pregame introductions, and he
quickly showed why he was a fan favorite during his 14 years with
the Capitals.

With 11 seconds left on a power play, Bondra tapped a loose puck
past goalie Olie Kolzig 6:24 into the game to make it 1-0. The goal
gave Bondra at least one against every NHL team; he didn't score in
his lone previous game against Washington.

"For us, to score first, I think that was the key. That goal
maybe gives us a little confidence," Bondra said.

When the red light flashed, many in the stands initially
cheered, perhaps out of respect or simply a reflex after all those
years of saluting goals by No. 12. That quickly was drowned by
jeers from the announced crowd of 13,021.

"It wasn't a real boo. Maybe if it had been a full house it
would be different," Bondra said.

He produced more goals (472), points (825) and power-play goals
(137) than anyone ever has in a Capitals uniform. Washington traded
him to Ottawa during last season's salary dump, and the Capitals
made him an offer during the offseason, but Bondra chose Atlanta.

"We wanted to play Peter real hard because we know he can make
an impact on a hockey game. We've seen that here," Capitals coach
Glen Hanlon said. "But trying and doing are two different

Atlanta, shut out in a season-opening loss to Florida, scored
its first four goals Friday on power plays. Washington killed all
nine penalties it faced in its opening win.

"As patient as we were in Game 1, we were just running around
too much," Hanlon said. "A little overaggressive."

Marc Savard had a goal and his 200th career assist, Marian Hossa
had a goal and two assists, and Bobby Holik, Jaroslav Modry, Eric
Boulton and Vyacheslav Kozlov also scored for Atlanta.

Bondra, Modry and Boulton were signed as free agents this
offseason, while Hossa came over from Ottawa in the Dany Heatley

"Our power play was really clicking. Lots of skill, lots of
speed and lots of experience," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said.

Mathieu Biron, Brian Willsie and Andrew Cassels scored for
Washington, which was outshot 33-10 through two periods and 39-22
overall. Jeff Halpern had his fourth assist of the season, and 2004
No. 1 overall draft pick Alexander Ovechkin recorded his first
assist after scoring twice in his NHL debut Wednesday.

Bondra assisted on Holik's goal 5:03 into the second period to
make it 3-1, and also on Savard's score that made it 4-1 at 10:18.

Active all over the ice, Bondra hardly looked like someone who's

"He's playing," Hartley said, "with the excitement of a

Atlanta made its big edge stand up, never allowing Washington to
get closer than a two-goal deficit. It was 5-3 in the waning
moments and, after the Capitals pulled Kolzig, Kozlov and Hossa put
in empty-netters in the last 1½ minutes.

"We were talking before the game: 'We have to jump on them and
get the lead right away," Hossa said. "And that's what we

Game notes
The last 3½ minutes were played minus one official, because
linesman Tim Nowak left after apparently getting injured. ...
Attendance was 3,304 lower than opening night at the 18,277-seat
arena. ... Atlanta GM Don Waddell met Friday in New York with the
agent for holdout forward Ilya Kovalchuk, making progress on a new
contract. ... The teams face each other at Atlanta on Saturday. ...
Of Bondra's 478 career goals, he's scored the most against Tampa
Bay: 40 in 52 games.