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Chris Gratton scores twice, Thrashers beat Predators 5-4

ATLANTA - Free-agent newcomer Nik Antropov scored his first goal for Atlanta, and Josh Gratton added two goals in the Thrashers' 5-4 exhibition victory over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night.

Antropov had three assists in his debut Monday night in a 4-2 home win over Carolina. He signed a US$16 million, four-year contract with Atlanta after playing for Toronto and the New York Rangers last season.

Bryan Little and Joey Crabb added goals for Atlanta (2-1-1). Martin Erat scored twice for Nashville (3-1-0), and Peter Olvecky and Mike Santorelli also scored.

Ondrej Pavelec, bidding to open the season as the Thrashers' starting goalie with Kari Lehtonen sidelined after back surgery, made 33 saves. Pavelec had 32 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss at Tampa Bay on Friday.

Erat's second goal cut the Thrashers' lead to a goal with less 1:40 left, but the Predators couldn't beat Pavelec again to force overtime.

Dan Ellis made 11 saves on 13 shots before turning the Nashville goaltending over to Pekka Rinne midway through the second period. Rinne allowed three goals on eight shots.

Gratton, who has just three goals in 83 career NHL games, had a goal with 32 seconds left in the first period and scored again with 70 seconds remaining in the second period on a perfect feed from Tim Stapleton.

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