ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Thrashers finally addressed their
weakness in penalty kill situations by avoiding penalties.
A little discipline Wednesday night carried the Thrashers a long
way in a 5-0 victory over Pittsburgh.
The Thrashers killed the Penguins' only three power-play
opportunities and outshot the visitors 20-8 in the decisive second
period when they took a 3-0 lead.
Jim Slater scored his first career goal and Mike Dunham stopped
24 shots as the Thrashers collected only six penalty minutes.
Entering the game, the Thrashers were No. 29 in the league in
penalty kill situations.
"Discipline is such a key factor in the way that hockey has
been played in this league so far," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley
"We played with a lead and we played with confidence. When you
stay away from the box, you even out the playing time so much
better. You prevent guys from getting in there and losing too much
The Thrashers, who entered the game with a plus-36 shot
differential through 14 games, outshot the Penguins 39-24 overall.
Savard set up Slater's third-period goal for a 4-0 lead.
"Jimmy Slater tonight was fantastic," Hartley said. "He had
wings. He dominated that game and scored his first goal."
Slater was the Thrashers' first-round draft pick in 2002. He was
recalled from Chicago of the AHL on Oct. 22.
Pittsburgh goalie Sebastien Caron left the game with a strained
left quadriceps late in the game.
"It's too early to say much about it," Caron said. "You don't
want to stay in and let it get worse."
Pittsburgh, held without a win in its first nine games, settled
for a 3-2 road trip. With a win, the Penguins would have claimed
their best five-game road trip in franchise history.
"Overall we have played some good hockey on this trip, but
tonight I think we were a step slow," Pittsburgh coach Eddie
Olczyk said. "We did not take the advantage on any of our
Kozlov said it is especially important to avoid penalty
situations against Pittsburgh to keep Mario Lemieux away from
"Against Mario, that's the key," Kozlov said. "You have to
stay away from the penalty because he is so very dangerous. We
didn't give him too many opportunities to score."
The Thrashers gave up four second-period goals in a 7-5 loss at
Pittsburgh on Oct. 27. Atlanta almost returned the favor following
a scoreless opening period Wednesday night, taking a 3-0 lead with
goals by Hossa, Savard and Kozlov.
Atlanta scored the first goal of the game about five minutes
into the period on a power play when Hossa, denied at the net only
seconds earlier, scored on a pass from Kozlov.
The power play followed a two-minute tripping penalty on
Savard gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead with his sixth goal, set up by
Hossa and Niclas Havelid.
With less than four minutes left in the period, Kozlov took a
pass from Kovalchuk and scored from in front of the net for a 3-0
With the goal and assist, Kozlov extended his team-best point
streak to seven games (three goals, eight assists). He has assists
in five straight games.
About 11 minutes into the third period, Slater scored on a pass
from Savard for the Thrashers' fourth goal. Bondra also was
credited with an assist.
Less than a minute after entering the game following the injury
to Caron, backup goalie Jocelyn Thibault quickly gave up a goal to
Bondra on Savard's second assist with less than three minutes left
in the game.
Dunham recorded his first shutout of the season.
"It was nice to get a shutout but I think it's more important
that we played a solid 60-minute game," Dunham said. "We needed
something to go our way, and tonight it did."
The Penguins did not have a shot on goal in the first 10
minutes of the second period. ... Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, the
league's top-scoring rookie, had four shots. ... The Thrashers
recalled G Adam Berkhoel from Chicago to provide depth with Steve
Shields battling a sore knee. The Thrashers continue to await the
return of starter Kari Lehtonen, who has missed more than a month
with a groin injury. Lehtonen was placed on injured reserve on Oct.
6 and could return around Thanksgiving.