for this game

Lehtonen, Hossa too much for Panthers

Oct 8, 2006 - 1:46 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- One day after setting a franchise record for most goals in a season opener, the Florida Panthers could not solve Kari Lehtonen.

Lehtonen made 22 saves and Marian Hossa scored two goals and set up another as the Atlanta Thrashers rolled to a 6-0 triumph over the Panthers.

Florida opened its campaign Friday with an 8-3 victory over Boston, receiving tremendous offensive efforts from newcomer Todd Bertuzzi and Joe Nieuwendyk, who combined for three goals and four assists. Just 24 hours later, the Panthers were completely shut down by Lehtonen.

"They did to us tonight what we did to Boston last night," Florida's Chris Gratton said. "We looked like a team that got in at 2:00 in the morning. They came out and played a perfect game."

The second overall pick in the 2002 draft, Lehtonen stopped eight shots in each of the first two periods and six more in the third to record his first shutout of the season and fourth career.

"It's great to get the shutout, but I have to get this out of my head and focus on the next game," Lehtonen said. "We have 80 more to play. I have to thank my teammates."

Atlanta gave its Finnish netminder plenty of support as Hossa and linemate Vyacheslav Kozlov teamed up for three goals and three assists in the middle session, with both of Hossa's tallies coming on the power play.

"We had some key power-play goals," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "And when you convert, you're going to win in the new NHL."

Jon Sim, Bobby Holik and defenseman Andy Sutton also scored for the Thrashers, who improved to 10-3-5 all-time at home against the Panthers.

Making his debut for Florida, Ed Belfour allowed four goals on nine shots before being replaced less than seven minutes into the second period.

Sim opened the scoring at 6:54 of the first period, firing a bad-angle shot from the right side between Belfour's pads. Holik made it 2-0 with 6:21 remaining in the session with a slap shot from the right faceoff circle that also found its way between the netminder's pads for a shorthanded tally.

"The first two I should have had," Belfour said. "They made a couple of good plays in the second period. There's no excuse, I just have to play better. It's one of those days that didn't go my way."

The goals came on the first two shots of the period by the Thrashers, who totaled just 11 in Thursday's season-opening shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Kozlov scored just 93 seconds into the middle session and Hossa converted a power play at 6:45 to chase Belfour in favor of Alex Auld, who surrendered another man-advantage tally by Hossa with 5 1/2 minutes left in the period.

"The game just kind of went for us tonight," Hossa said. "We worked hard and the goals went for us. We had a good flow."

Sutton capped the scoring with a backhander from the doorstep less than six minutes into the third.

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