ATLANTA (AP) – Ronald Petrovicky finished off his first three-goal game with an empty-net goal and the Atlanta Thrashers snapped a five-game losing streak, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 Friday night.

Petrovicky, recently benched for six straight games by coach Bob Hartley, had only one point in three games since returning to the lineup. But he broke out against the Blue Jackets with the hat trick, scoring twice in the second period.

Petrovicky’s third goal – and fifth of the season – came after Columbus pulled goalie Marc Denis with just over a minute left.

The Thrashers bounced back after falling six games below .500 – a low point for the season. Columbus, playing back-to-back nights after a Thursday night win over the New York Islanders, fell to 3-12 on the road.

The Blue Jackets were without center and assists leader Manny Malhotra, placed on injured reserve Friday because of a shoulder injury. Malhotra, injured Thursday night, is out indefinitely.

Marc Savard and Serge Aubin also scored for the Thrashers, and Michael Garnett stopped 26 shots. Jaroslav Balastik and Nikolai Zherdev scored for Columbus.

The Thrashers broke a 1-1 tie with three goals in the second period, the first two by Petrovicky, who had been held without a goal since Oct. 22, when he had two goals against New Jersey. Ilya Kovalchuk assisted on each of Petrovicky’s goals.

Atlanta made it 4-1 when Aubin charged the net and flipped the puck past Columbus goalie Pascal Leclaire before crashing into the boards behind the net.

Columbus cut it to 4-2 when Nikolai Zherdev scored by slapping a rebound off Garnett past the goalie into the net.

Savard gave the Thrashers a 1-0 lead with his 12th goal on a pass from Marian Hossa less than 6 minutes into the game.

With 1:30 left in the opening period, Atlanta’s J.P. Vigier was called for hooking, setting up Balastik’s power-play goal with 40 seconds left in the period.

LeClaire stopped 11 of 15 shots. He was pulled after Atlanta took the 4-1 lead. Denis replaced Leclaire in goal.

Notes: Balastik’s goal was the second of his NHL career. … The Blue Jackets are 1-15 when their opponent scores the first goal. … Kovalchuk has not scored a goal in six straight games. He has four assists in that period, including two Friday night. … The Thrashers placed forward Peter Bondra and goalie Steve Shields on injured reserve Thursday.

AP-ES-12-09-05 2140EST

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.