ATLANTA – Peter Bondra got the best of his former team for the second straight night, scoring two goals and adding an assist to help the Atlanta Thrashers beat the Washington Capitals 8-1.

The Thrashers put their home opener out of reach in the third period as Scott Mellanby, Serge Aubin, Marc Savard, Marian Hossa and Patrik Stefan each scored a goal. Savard finished with four assists. Aubin had two.

After scoring their first four goals on a power play Friday, the Thrashers took a 2-0 lead with a one-man advantage on Saturday. Bondra’s second goal of the season, coming 6:50 into the first period, swept past goaltender Olie Kolzig’s glove side on a 20-foot wrist shot left of the crease.

Bondra now has nine points this season against the Capitals, who traded him to Ottawa in February 2004 following a 14-year career with Washington.

The victory completed a successful day for Atlanta, which re-signed Ilya Kovalchuk, the team’s all-time leading scorer, to a five-year contract worth approximately $32 million. Kovalchuk’s first game could come Wednesday at Montreal.

Atlanta, which set a single-game franchise record with a five-goal third period, beat the Capitals 7-3 on Friday night in Washington. The previous high for the Thrashers, a four-goal third period, came Dec. 12, 1999 against Tampa Bay in their first season.

Jamie Heward’s power-play goal for Washington with 55 seconds remaining in the first period cut the lead to 2-1.

Bondra, however, made it 3-1 at the 14:55 mark of the second. His takeaway, coming just a few seconds after the Thrashers returned to even strength, allowed him to feed Stefan as his teammate skated out of the penalty box.

Stefan quickly passed to Jaroslav Modry, who missed a 50-foot slap shot near the top of the left circle, but Bondra instantly took the rebound six feet to the right of the crease and scored on a backhander.

Defenseman Greg de Vries made it 2-0 with a 58-foot wrister he fired from the top of the slot and past Kolzig’s glove side.

Notes: Atlanta goalie Mike Dunham improved to 2-1 after saving 19 of 20 shots. Kolzig faced 42 shots. … With seven power-play goals the last two nights, the Thrashers set a two-game franchise record. … Capitals defenseman Steve Eminger and Atlanta right-winger Ronald Petrovicky were hit with five-minute majors for fighting with 9:17 left in the game.

AP-ES-10-08-05 2204EDT


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