Thrashers halt skid at 4 behind Pavelec's 50 stops in goal

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators will be happy not to see Ondrej Pavelec anytime soon.

The Atlanta Thrashers goalie stopped 50 shots en route to a 3-1 win over the Senators on Saturday.

"Right now I feel like Jacque Plante 50 years ago," said Pavelec, whose helmet flew off after he took a puck to the face.

The 22-year-old netminder was outstanding and the main reason why the Thrashers were able to leave Ottawa with a victory. His teammates managed just 21 shots.

"He was fabulous," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "One of the best games I've ever seen in goal. He made us win."

Before this season, Pavelec had played 19 games in the NHL and wasn't expected to be the Thrashers' starting goalie. But Pavelec has made the most of No. 1 netminder Kari Lehtonen's absence caused by back surgery.

His latest effort helped the Thrashers (5-4-1) snap a four-game losing streak.

"We didn't play well at all," said Rich Peverley, who scored the Thrashers' second goal. "At times it felt like we were just standing around. [Pavelec] handed us the win, he was tremendous."

The Senators outshot the Thrashers 25-3 in the third period, but couldn't solve Pavelec.

The Thrashers, who have struggled early in games, took control by jumping out to a 2-0 lead after two periods on goals by Zach Bogosian and Peverley. Maxim Afinogenov also scored for Atlanta.

Pascal Leclaire, who stopped 18 shots, could hardly be blamed for the loss as he was the victim of a couple of unlucky bounces. Mike Fisher scored the lone goal for the Senators (6-4-2).

"A couple of bounces didn't go our way, and it was just unfortunate," Leclaire said. "The guys played a great game and we just ran into a hot goalie."

Both Atlanta goals were scored after the Senators failed to win faceoffs in their own end.

On the first goal, Marty Reasoner beat Nick Foligno cleanly and dropped the puck to Bogosian, whose shot got past Leclaire before the goalie reacted at 12:13 of the first period.

"It was the start we wanted to get," Bogosian said.

The Thrashers made it 2-0 in the second despite being outshot 18-5. Peverley won a draw, and after a duel along the boards, Nik Antropov threw the puck out front where Peverley got a piece of it. The puck bounced in off Ottawa defenseman Chris Campoli with 8:09 left in the period.

Ottawa entered the game with the fourth-worst faceoff winning percentage in the NHL.

The Senators cut the deficit to 2-1 during a two-man advantage with 4:27 remaining in the game when Fisher squeezed in a shot from the side of the net.

"We did some good things and worked hard, but just didn't get some of the breaks we needed to," Fisher said. "One of those games where you run into a hot goalie and can't do anything about it."

Afinogenov put the game out of reach at 18:29 when he beat Leclaire between the legs.

The Senators, losers of two in a row, will have a few days to work on things before they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

Game notes
The Senators were without C Jason Spezza (back, day-to-day) and D Anton Volchenkov (elbow, 2/3 weeks). The Thrashers were without Ilya Kovalchuk (broken foot, four weeks), D Boris Valabik (ankle, 4-6 weeks), G Kari Lehtonen (back surgery, undetermined) and D Ron Hainsey (undisclosed, day-to-day). C Jason Krog was a healthy scratch.