Heatley scored twice to tie the Senators' record for goals in a
season and lift Ottawa to a 6-4 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers
-- his former team -- on Monday night.
The second-leading goal scorer in Thrashers history, Heatley
added his name to the Senators' record book in his first season in
Ottawa. He has 45 goals to tie the single-season mark set in
2002-03 by Hossa -- the key player the Senators traded to Atlanta in
the offseason to acquire Heatley.
"It's a great feeling definitely to do it here but in regards
to playing those guys, I'm just happy we got the win," Heatley
He might have broken the record but couldn't lift a shot over
Kari Lehtonen's outstretched right pad on a breakaway in the second
prior to scoring his second of the game later in the period.
"We knew the scouting report on him and I did the exact same
thing that they told us not to do," Heatley said. "It's tough to
get it up when you're reaching and you've got your arms extended,
but I thought I could still sneak it in and he made a good save."
Jason Spezza had a goal and two assists, and Patrick Eaves,
Bryan Smolinski and Brian McGrattan also scored for Ottawa, which
had three power-play goals. The Senators lead the Eastern
Conference with 107 points.
Ilya Kovalchuk, the Thrashers' career leader in goals, gave
Atlanta a brief advantage in the second period with his 48th of the
season. It was one of three power-play goals scored by Atlanta,
which fell seven points behind Tampa Bay at the bottom of the
playoff cutoff in the East. The Thrashers have only eight games
"We can't give up six goals when we're in a playoff race,
that's too much," Kovalchuk said. "Eight games left -- we have to
prepare ourselves better than tonight."
Kovalchuk scored at 2:28 of the second to give the Thrashers a
2-1 lead but he took a penalty later in the period for slashing
Chris Neil's right wrist.
"Sometimes you take a slash, sometimes you give a slash,"
Kovalchuk said. "That's bad. Next time, I'm not going to do it."
Kovalchuk was booed loudly every time he touched the puck for
the rest of the game.
Spezza got credit for the first of Ottawa's two 5-on-3 goals in
the second to tie it at 4:58, just 29 seconds after Thrashers left
wing Brad Larsen was called for tripping Heatley.
Eaves then redirected Anton Volchenkov's pass into an open right
side for the second of Ottawa's three power-play goals 23 seconds
later, giving the Senators a 3-2 lead at 5:21.
"We gave them every opportunity to get back in the game and
take the lead," said Thrashers defenseman Andy Sutton, whose
boarding minor at 11:50 led to Heatley's second goal of the game
just 8 seconds later on Ottawa's second 5-on-3 of the period.
"When you give skilled guys that much time and room, they're going
to make you pay. That's the situation we put ourselves in and
that's what we're going to have to live with now."
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson missed the game because of
the flu, leaving Ottawa without seven regular players, including
goalie Dominik Hasek, forwards Mike Fisher and Martin Havlat, and
top defensemen Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden and Chris Phillips.
"We jumped on them early, but it wasn't often enough,"
Thrashers center Marc Savard said.
Senators center Tyler Arnason left the game after he was checked
hard by defenseman Garnet Exelby. Arnason got up after taking the
hit but looked dazed as he began to make his way to the bench,
nearly falling over backward at one point. He was helped off the
ice by teammates and didn't return.
Neil followed him to the dressing room before play resumed as
Kovalchuk chopped him across the right forearm after Neil lifted
his stick before the ensuing faceoff at 11:27.
"We were only up 3-2 at the time," Neil said. "He didn't set
a good precedent for his teammates. He's one of their skill
players, a leader in that dressing room, and taking a penalty like
that, it puts them behind the 8-ball. You don't see a guy like
Daniel Alfredsson doing that, you know -- that's a good leader."
Heatley, who scored the only goal of the first 16:40 in, got
Ottawa's second 5-on-3 goal of the second to give the Senators a
two-goal lead at 11:58. Smolinski scored his 16th goal 1:44 into
the third, and McGrattan made it 6-2 with his second at 8:49.
Mellanby got Atlanta's third power-play goal at 12:22 to draw
the Thrashers to 6-3. Slater cut the deficit to two at 14:19.
Neil returned before the end of the second period and
finished the game. He said Kovalchuk apologized to him at the end
of the game. "He was afraid I was going to do something to him or
something," Neil said. ... The Senators' win, combined with their
six goals, triggered a restaurant chain's promotion of a free slice
of pizza for every fan in attendance. It was the 12th time this
season that Ottawa has delivered on the promotion. ... Arnason has
a possible mild concussion.