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Thrashers now tied for first place
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ATLANTA — Eric Perrin and Slava Kozlov scored on Atlanta’s first two shootout opportunities to help the Thrashers beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 Wednesday night.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 39 shots before denying Washington’s Alexander Semin and Boyd Gordon in the shootout. Lehtonen, who also had an assist, made a glove save on Gordon’s shot to finish the win.

The win left Atlanta, Washington and Carolina tied for first in the Southeast Division.

The Thrashers improved to 7-4 in shootouts and 13-4 in overtime. They were only 1:21 away from winning 2-1 in regulation, but Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 48th goal from the left circle to overtime.
Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist in possibly his final Atlanta home game.

Lehtonen set up Hossa’s goal in the final minute of the second period. Hossa also had an assist on Eric Perrin’s goal earlier in the second.

Viktor Kozlov gave Washington a 1-0 lead early in the second. The Thrashers answered with two goals in the final four minutes of the period.

Hossa and the Thrashers will not play another home game until Feb. 28, two days after the NHL’s Feb. 26 trade deadline. Thrashers general manager and interim coach Don Waddell said Wednesday he still hopes to re-sign Hossa, but he acknowledged a trade is an option.

Washington seemed to be on the attack throughout the first period, outshooting the Thrashers 18-3.
Lehtonen made several strong saves in the period, including a glove save against Gordon 4:17 into the game that was upheld with an officials’ review. Lehtonen’s glove slid behind the line after making the save.

Lehtonen’s play, and Atlanta’s lack of scoring opportunities made the game resemble the teams’ Feb. 2 game at Washington when the Thrashers managed only two shots in the opening period but won 2-0.
Lehtonen couldn’t repeat the shutout as the Capitals took a 1-0 lead early in the second period. Lehtonen blocked a shot by Ovechkin, but was out of position to stop a follow-up shot by Kozlov at the 2:56 mark.

The Thrashers appeared to tie it less than 2 minutes later, but a review showed Perrin kicked the puck into the net.

Hossa set up another scoring chance for Perrin later in the period. Hossa came away with the puck near the boards behind the net and passed to Perrin. His shot went past defenseman Jeff Schultz, who may have blocked Kolzig’s view of the play. The goal 16:29 into the second tied the game at 1-1.

Hossa gave the Thrashers the lead with an unusual assist from Lehtonen with only 56 seconds left in the second period. Lehtonen made a stop and then quickly shot the puck straight up the ice to Hossa, who had only Kolzig ahead of him before scoring the breakaway goal.

Atlanta fans chanted “Kari! Kari” following the play.

Notes: Lehtonen recorded his second assist of the season. His first came on Dec. 18 against Tampa Bay. ... Atlanta All-Star Ilya Kovalchuk has two goals and no assists in his last nine games.

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