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Kozlov records hat trick to lead Thrashers past Senators

Nov 9, 2006 - 2:56 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Slava Kozlov was the latest member of the Atlanta Thrashers who made sure people would leave Philips Arena with a little less head gear.

Kozlov recorded a hat trick as the Thrashers rallied for a 5-4 victory over the struggling Ottawa Senators, who are in the midst of their longest losing streak in more than 10 years.

It marked the second straight game in which a Thrasher registered a hat trick after superstar Ilya Kovalchuk accomplished the feat in Monday's 5-3 win here against Boston.

With Kozlov leading the way, the Thrashers overcame a pair of two-goal deficits en route to their second four-game winning streak of the season.

Kozlov scored twice in the second period, then completed his fifth career hat trick at 8:09 of the final session by ripping a slap shot past Martin Gerber to snap a 4-4 tie. It was his eighth goal of the season.

"We controlled the game in the third period and that's why we won," Kozlov said.

Kovalchuk had scored his 13th goal of the season 4:08 into the third period to tie the game at 4-4.

Brad Larsen also scored and former Senator Marian Hossa had three assists for the Thrashers, who took over the NHL lead with 27 points.

"Right now, we're piling up points," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "They will have the same value as (they will) in early April."

Jason Spezza, Chris Kelly and Antoine Vermette each collected a goal and an assist for the Senators, who have lost five straight games for the first time since February 22-March 9, 1996.

"That's as hard a working game that we've had this year," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "We had lots of scoring chances. I've never talked to the guys after we lost a game in the two years I've been here and tonight I did. I thought they played extremely hard, very focused and didn't give up many scoring chances at all. I was real proud of their effort."

It looked like the Senators were on their way to ending their drought after Kelly scored his second goal of the season at 6:06 of the second period, giving Ottawa a 3-1 lead.

Kozlov tallied on the power play at 8:41. But just 58 seconds later while the Senators still were shorthanded, Vermette scored on a breakaway to make it 4-2.

Vermette's goal led to Hartley replacing goaltender Johan Hedberg with Kari Lehtonen, who stopped all 19 shots he faced.

"I got out there and got lucky in the first two minutes," Lehtonen said. "After that, I found my game and hockey was fun again."

However, Kozlov tallied with less than two minutes left in the period off a pass from Niko Kapanen to pull the Thrashers within 4-3.

Roughly four minutes into the third, Kovalchuk tied it with a beautiful wrist shot that beat Gerber under his right arm.

"In the third period, I felt that we skated much better," Hartley said. "We won the puck. We made some smart decisions. We worked very well and we orchestrated a good comeback."

Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson scored in the first period which ended with the Senators holding a 2-1 lead.

"As a group, I thought we played pretty sold," said Senators right wing Dany Heatley, who assisted on Alfredsson's goal. "As solid as we have played in the last month. There were a lot of chances. I think we hit four or fives posts tonight."






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