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Kozlov, Hossa give Thrashers shootout win over Capitals

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Thrashers are off to their best start
ever and starting to look like one tough team.

Vyacheslav Kozlov and Marian Hossa each scored in a shootout to
give Atlanta a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday
night.

The Thrashers have won five of their last six games and are in
first place in the Southeast Division with 11 of a possible 14
points after seven games.

"We never quit. That's what is big about this team," said
Hossa, who had a pair of goals and an assist in regulation. "We
showed a lot of character and got a big two points."

Kozlov beat Capitals goaltender Brent Johnson to open the
shootout. Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen then stopped Alexander
Semin before Hossa beat Johnson. Lehtonen blocked Alex Ovechkin's
shot to finish off the 2-0 shootout.

"I yelled when he (Ovechkin) missed it. I didn't say
anything," Lehtonen said. "I just yelled. I was so happy to get
those two points."

Hossa got the tying goal with 33 seconds left in regulation to
send it into overtime. His seventh goal came when he took a pass
from Ilya Kovalchuk and knocked it over the right shoulder of
Johnson.

Ovechkin scored in a three-goal Capitals second period to give
Washington a 3-2 lead at 15:48.

"I gave up a couple of easy goals in the second period. They
kind of stole the lead. That was frustrating to me," Lehtonen
said.

The Thrashers jumped in front with a power-play goal in the
first period. Hossa redirected a shot by Kovalchuk past Johnson,
making only his second start, at the 5:02 mark. It came only 14
seconds after the Capitals' Kris Beech was penalized for holding.

Kozlov knocked in his third goal from in close on a slick pass
from Hossa to give the Thrashers a 2-0 lead 1:04 into the second
period.

"They've got a good hockey club with Hossa and Kovalchuk,"
Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "They're also getting the saves
they didn't get last year."

Washington bounced back after Kozlov's goal, scoring three times
in the second period. Dainius Zubrus converted his third at 3:39
and Semin picked up his seventh goal on a power play at 14:51 off a
faceoff from the left circle.

Less than a minute later, Ovechkin, who as a rookie a year ago
scored 52 goals, got his third goal of the season, scoring from up
close to put the Capitals in front.

"Right now it feels like a loss," Zubrus said. "We got some
good shots, but that was when their goalie made his best saves."

Atlanta outshot Washington 39-25 in regulation, including
1-for-19 in the final period with Johnson making several
outstanding stops. The Thrashers were only 1-for-7 on power plays
and had a chance to score early in the third period when they had a
two-man advantage for 1:15, but were stymied by the Capitals'
defenders.

Game notes
Lehtonen is now 5-0 against Washington. ... Lehtonen also
gave up three goals in one period (first) in a 4-3 loss to Carolina
on Oct. 13.