DETROIT - Marian Hossa gave himself and the Atlanta Thrashers a big boost.
Hossa scored the team's first three goals, and Kari Lehtonen made 46 saves in a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. "It's great to get three goals and help the team," Hossa said. "But also help with the self confidence." It was Hossa's seventh career hat trick, and the first in nearly a year - Jan. 16, 2007. Eric Perrin and Slava Kozlov also scored, while Tobias Enstrom and Mark Recchi each added two assists for Atlanta.
"It's a lot of fun. Obviously, I have a lot of family and friends here - about 40 tickets or so. It was well worth it," said Don Waddell, Atlanta's executive vice president, general manager and coach.
Waddell is from Detroit and a former Red Wings assistant general manager.
"I have to say, I was looking forward to this day, and now that it's here and gone I'm pretty happy about it," he said.
Nicklas Kronwall scored for NHL-leading Detroit, which has lost three straight. Chris Osgood stopped 13 shots before being pulled in favour of Dominik Hasek less than halfway through the game.
"They were better than us early," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "They scored on their opportunities and we didn't."
Hossa, who has 19 goals, opened the scoring with a power-play goal 7:33 in when he skated out of the corner to the front of the net and beat Osgood.
His second goal came with 5:38 left in the opening period when Hossa stripped the puck from Detroit defenceman Brett Lebda in the Red Wings zone and put a shot between Osgood's torso and arm.
He made it 3-0 just 1:14 into the second period on a wrister from the high slot.
"They were some of the greatest goals, too," Waddell said. "His first goal, coming out of the corner; his second goal; and the third goal, a one-timer off the quick pass there. Those are great goals."
Perrin's power-play goal made it 4-0 at 7:28 and sent Osgood to the bench.
It was the first time since he rejoined Detroit in 2006 that Hasek has come in during a game. Detroit is usually hesitant to bring him off the bench cold because of his history of groin injuries.
"Mike told me after the third goal to get ready, so I stretched a little bit," Hasek said. "I stretched for about five minutes. I felt comfortable going in."
The Thrashers didn't have a shot for the remainder of the period while Detroit took 19 at Lehtonen from that point until the end of the period. The Red Wings had 16 shots in the third period.
"They just showed they never give up," Lehtonen said. "I'm sure some teams would be done after a 4-0 lead, but they kept coming and coming and I was very lucky to be able to keep the score the way it was."
And though he was busy stopping pucks, he also found time to be a spectator.
"I never played against Detroit before and just to see (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg, it's just amazing skill level," Lehtonen said. "It was nice to be there. I think I had the best seat in the house to watch those guys do their tricks and I was lucky enough to make the saves tonight."
Kronwall foiled Lehtonen's shutout bid with 6:18 left, but Kozlov got his 13th goal with a minute left.
Notes: Detroit RW Dallas Drake didn't play because of a sore right knee. ... Atlanta D Steve McCarthy (oblique strain) missed his fifth game and C Jim Slater (lower body) missed his ninth contest. ... Osgood has allowed nine goals in 92 minutes, 28 seconds, spanning his last two games since signing a three-year contract extension.