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Thrashers thumped, Kovalchuk faces suspension

Oct 1, 2006 - 3:26 AM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Thrashers lost their final preseason game. They also may have lost their top goal scorer for the beginning of the regular season.

Scott Hartnell had a goal and an assist and defenseman Kimmo Timonen set up three tallies as the Nashville Predators closed out their preseason with a 5-1 triumph over the Thrashers, who likely will be without Ilya Kovalchuk for their regular-season opener.

With Atlanta trailing, 1-0, late in the first period, Kovalchuk was on the wrong end of a hard check by Jordin Tootoo. The former Maurice Richard Trophy co-winner responded with a kick, drawing a match penalty for intent to injure and a review by the league office, which should result in a suspension.

The Thrashers were called for several more penalties shortly thereafter, and the Predators responded with three power-play goals in a 3:19 span. Hartnell began the spurt with two seconds remaining in the first and Steve Sullivan tallied 37 seconds into the second for a 3-0 lead.

David Legwand scored at 3:17 of the middle session to cap the run of man-advantage goals. J.P. Dumont wrapped up the overall scoring with 1:50 left in the period.

Defenseman Marek Zidlicky set up two goals and Sullivan added an assist for the Predators, who host the Chicago Blackhawks in their season opener Thursday.

Blue-liner Garnet Exelby scored the lone tally for Atlanta, which begins its regular season at home against Tampa Bay on Thursday.

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