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Hossa, Thrashers jump on Panthers, coast to 6-0 win

ATLANTA (AP) -- Marian Hossa knew the Atlanta Thrashers needed to
play well the entire game, not just one period.

Hossa had two goals and an assist, and Kari Lehtonen stopped 22
shots to power the Atlanta Thrashers to a 6-0 win over the Florida
Panthers on Saturday night.

Slava Kozlov added a goal and two assists for the Thrashers, who
lost a 3-2 shootout to Tampa Bay in their season opener on Thursday
night.

"The first game we played good in the first period, but we did
not in the other two," Hossa said of the opener in which the
Thrashers scored two first-period goals then went scoreless.

"Tonight we knew we had to play a full 60 minutes. We did
everything right tonight and Kari was awesome."

Lehtonen, in his second season, earned his fourth career
shutout.

"That's always great (getting a shutout)," he said. "The hard
thing is to get this out of my head and focus on the next game."

Atlanta opened the scoring on a goal by Jon Sim only 6:54 into
the game, beating Florida goalie Ed Belfour on a 30-foot blast from
the right circle. Bobby Holik made it 2-0 on short-handed goal when
he put a shot between Belfour's legs at the 13:39 mark.

Hossa and Kozlov then took over the scoring in the second
period.

Kozlov scored front up close on a perfect pass from Hossa only
1:33 into the period. Hossa then made it 4-0 on a power play at
6:45 when he tipped in a nice pass from Ilya Kovalchuk in front of
the net.

Panthers coach Jacques Martin replaced Belfour with Alex Auld,
who was in goal for Florida's 8-3 season-opening victory over
Boston on Friday night. Belfour had only five saves against the
Thrashers, missing both shots in the second period before being
lifted.

"I have no excuses. I just have to play better," said Belfour,
a 41-year-old free agent who played with Toronto last season. "I
thought I had a good warmup, but obviously that didn't carry over
to the game."

Hossa then added his third goal of the season and second of the
night on another power play with a wraparound goal, sneaking it
past Auld at 14:27.

Andy Sutton scored 5:44 into the third period to give the
Thrashers a 6-0 lead.

Lehtonen, limited by injuries to only 39 games last season as a
rookie, made his toughest save with an outstanding stop on a shot
from Todd Bertuzzi at point-blank range in the opening period. He's
6-1 against Florida with two shutouts.

Atlanta, which led the league with 58 power-play goals last
season, had two against Florida.

Game notes
Hossa has five points in two games. ... The Thrashers
reassigned goalie Fred Braithwaite to their Chicago farm club of
the American Hockey League prior to the game. ... The Thrashers,
who matched a team-low 11 shots on goal in their opener, had 14
shots in the second period alone and finished with 34.