Winnipeg (2-0-0) at Ottawa (2-1-0)

Cloudy Currently: Kanata, ON
Temp: 30° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EDT Sat Oct 10, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Ilya Kovalchuk’s(notes) hot start has given the Atlanta Thrashers some early season confidence. A trip to Ottawa may not slow him down.

Having played a large role in the Thrashers’ undefeated start, Kovalchuk looks to continue his success in road games against the Senators on Saturday night.

Kovalchuk has scored two goals in each of Atlanta’s two contests, including a 4-2 win at St. Louis on Thursday night in the opener of a five-game road trip.

The veteran winger also had an assist in a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay last Saturday night. His 301 goals and 105 power-play goals lead the NHL since the start of his rookie season in 2001-02.

“He’s big every night,” Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec(notes) said. “He’s unbelievable. Two games and four goals, that’s a lot.”

Kovalchuk is the only player to score 40 goals or more in each of the last five seasons. Some of that success is due to some strong performances at Ottawa.

The three-time All-Star has 11 goals and six assists in 13 road games against the Senators (2-1-0), but the Thrashers are 5-8-0 in those contests. Atlanta, feeling good about itself with a pair of strong efforts after going 35-41-6 last season, hopes to change its fortunes at Scotiabank Place.

The Thrashers prevailed Thursday despite getting outshot 31-22. Rich Peverley(notes) has joined Kovalchuk to give Atlanta an early boost, posting two goals and two assists.

The center had 35 points (13 goals and 22 assists) in 39 games for the Thrashers last season.

Evander Kane(notes), the fourth overall pick of this year’s draft, scored his first goal Thursday. The 18-year-old winger has a point in both games.

Kane has also been an effective penalty killer, helping Atlanta stop six of its opponents’ seven power-play chances after ranking 29th in that category last season.

Ottawa is 0 for 7 with the man advantage but has won two straight after opening the season with a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers last Saturday. Mike Fisher(notes) scored 32 seconds into overtime to give the Senators a 3-2 win over the Islanders in their home opener Thursday night.

Matt Carkner(notes), who appeared to have little chance of making the team going into training camp, had a goal and an assist and has been one of the Senators’ top defensemen. Carkner, a second-round pick by Montreal in 1999 who played in two NHL games before this season, also blocked four shots Thursday.

Rookie center Peter Regin(notes), who also needed a strong camp to earn a spot on the team, has two goals in three games after finding the back of the net once in 11 contests last season. He has helped offset a slow start by fellow center Jason Spezza(notes), who has one assist and a minus-3 rating.

Spezza has three goals and two assists in his last two games against the Thrashers. Ottawa and Atlanta tied last season’s series 2-2-0.

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Saturday, Oct 10