OTTAWA — Colby Armstrong's speedy scoring gave Ondrej Pavelec and the Atlanta Thrashers some crucial breathing space.
Armstrong scored a pair of goals 31 seconds apart in the third period and Atlanta ended a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
With the Thrashers holding a one-goal advantage following Slava Kozlov's 14th goal midway through the first, Armstrong scored on a power play 2:10 into the third before beating Martin Gerber again at 2:41 to increase Atlanta's lead to 3-0.
Thrashers coach John Anderson gave Armstrong an opportunity to extend his productive shift.
"The funny thing was he scored two and I made him go back out," Anderson said. "He didn't spend a lot of time on it, maybe 35 seconds, and he's looking down at his skate and I said, 'Just get back out there.' He comes off about 20 seconds later — his skate's broken, so I made him go out there with a broken skate, unfortunately, but I just wanted him to maybe have a chance to score a hat trick in one shift."
Pavelec stopped 28 shots, losing a bid for his first career shutout on Chris Kelly's goal with 1:18 remaining.
"Anytime it's coming down to the wire, you want to do it for the guy," Armstrong said. "He played great for us and it was a little bit of a screen shot, a good play by them, but too bad we couldn't preserve that shutout for him. The big thing is we got the two points, and I'm sure he'd agree with that, but it's too bad we couldn't get that cherry on top."
The 21-year-old Pavelec was pulled in the first period of Friday's 7-3 loss to Boston after allowing three goals on four shots.
Todd White scored into an empty net for the Thrashers, who ended a 0-2-1 skid and won for just the third time in 14 games (3-9-2).
"That's our best one so far — on the road," coach John Anderson said. "We've had a couple of better ones at home, but certainly on the road — it was a textbook road game."
Gerber stopped 21 shots in his third start in four games. He had allowed one goal in his previous two outings, including a 24-save performance for his 10th career shutout in Ottawa's 2-0 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday.
The Senators have been held to four goals overall in their last four games. Ottawa's top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza has combined to produce just one point between them — Alfredsson's eighth goal of the season on Saturday — during the same stretch.
"We have the skill and character in the room but we're just not getting the most out of everybody right now," Alfredsson said.
Kozlov gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead on a power play midway through the first. A video review confirmed that the veteran left wing's deflection of Ron Hainsey's shot past Gerber 10:50 in did not come with the puck above the height of the crossbar.
Armstrong put Atlanta up 2-0 with his fifth goal 2:10 into the third period. He added his sixth of the season 31 seconds later to make it a three-goal lead, a franchise record for the fastest two goals by one player in a road game.
<B>Notes:<P> Bill Mosienko holds the record for the fastest hat trick in NHL history. The Hall of Fame center scored three goals 21 seconds apart on the same shift in Chicago's 7-6 win at New York on March 23, 1952. ... Chosen 41st overall by Atlanta in the second round of the 2005 entry draft, Pavelec is 6-8-0 in 17 appearances with the Thrashers overall, including a 3-5-0 mark in 10 games this season. ... Jon Sim holds the Thrashers' record for fastest two goals. Sim scored 22 seconds apart against Carolina on Oct. 13, 2006. ... Armstrong broke a team record previously held by Ilya Kovalchuk for the fastest pair of goals by one player in a road game. Kovalchuk scored two goals 58 seconds apart in Boston on Dec. 5, 2002.