ATLANTA – Jeff O’Neill scored a goal in each period for his second hat trick against Atlanta in two seasons and the Toronto Maple Leafs routed the Thrashers and rookie goalie Michael Garnett 9-1 on Friday night.

O’Neill scored his 200th career goal to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead in the first period. His second goal was the first of three for Toronto in the middle period, and he added a third when the Maple Leafs blew the game open with four goals in the final period.

O’Neill picked up where he left off against the Thrashers before the lockout. He had a hat trick in a 4-3 win over Atlanta on Jan. 16, 2004, while playing with Carolina.

The Maple Leafs scored seven goals in 14 power-play opportunities.

Play was halted midway through the final period when a fight broke out between Tornoto’s Eric Lindros and Atlanta’s Niclas Havelid among others. When play resumed, another brawl was touched off after Maple Leafs forward Darcy Tucker, who had a goal and three assists, was knocked to the ice behind the Thrashers’ net.

Atlanta’s Andy Sutton was ejected after being charged with an attempt-to-injure penalty.

Tucker and Jason Allison also scored in the second period as Toronto pulled away for its first road win.

The game matched Toronto’s 40-year-old goalie Ed Belfour against the 22-year-old Garnett, making his first NHL start. Garnett made his first appearance Wednesday night in a 2-0 loss to Montreal after Mike Dunham injured his groin.

The Thrashers were also without No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen, who is on the injured list with a more serious groin injury. Lehtonen has missed four games.

Belfour had allowed five goals in each of his previous two games, but he stopped 20 Atlanta shots.

The Thrashers were 0-for-7 on power plays, leaving them 0-for-16 in their last two games.

O’Neill took a pass from Allison and scored a power-play goal 8:49 into the first period. Tucker also was credited with an assist on O’Neill’s second of the season.

O’Neill added to his totals about four minutes into the second period when he moved past Atlanta’s Jaroslav Modry and scored in close.

Midway through the second period, Allison charged the net and flipped a shot past Garnett for a 3-0 lead.

The same Toronto line added a fourth goal late in the second period. Tucker scored on a pass from Bryan McCabe, who posted three assists.

The onslaught continued less than two minutes into the third. With only four seconds left in a power play, Kyle Wellwood was credited with a goal when Atlanta forward Scott Mellanby pushed the puck off his skate as he was defending near the net.

Less than three minutes later, Lindros made it 6-0 with another power-play goal.

Down 6-0, the Thrashers finally scored about five minutes into the final period. Marian Hossa passed to Marc Savard, who pushed the puck past Belfour for his third goal of the season.


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