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Rick DiPietro makes 27 saves as Islanders sink Thrashers 6-0

Rick DiPietro stopped 37 shots for his second shutout of the season, and Shawn Bates, Viktor Kozlov and Mike Sillinger each had a goal and an assist in the Islanders' 6-0 victory over the Thrashers on Saturday night.

After blowing a lead in the last minute and losing in overtime to Washington at home Friday night, the Thrashers ran into a hot goalie.

"I was able to see a lot of the shots," DiPietro said. "The defence also did a good job of clearing rebounds."

Miroslav Satan, Alexei Yashin and Andy Hilbert also scored for the Islanders, winners for only the second time in their last five games. It was DiPietros eighth career shutout.

"The way we played tonight is a good indication that we're starting to grow as a team," DiPietro said. "The shutout is nice, but I'm just happy to get the two points."

Johan Hedberg stopped 26 shots for Atlanta, but lost for the third time in eight decisions. The Thrashers are winless in five straight (0-3-2) after a previous five-game winning streak.

"The last four or five games, we've been slipping," Hedberg said. "In parts of games, we play really strong, and then we have some breakdowns which cost us."

The Islanders capitalized on an Atlanta turnover to take a 1-0 lead at 8:04 of the opening period. Thrashers defenceman Greg deVries coughed up the puck from behind the net. Kozlov's shot was stopped by Hedberg, but the rebound bounced to Satan, who kicked the puck up to his stick and flicked it into the open left side of the net.

The Islanders broke open a close game with a pair of goals 41 seconds apart in the middle period.

Yashin, who was making his first appearance since spraining his knee Nov. 25 against Washington, picked up his 11th goal at 10:54. Yashin started the play by winning a draw in the Atlanta zone, then burying the rebound of Bates' shot.

"His coming back was big," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "Alexei is a big part of our team, and you know he's missed when the guys keep asking when he's coming back."

Yashin, who missed eight games with the injury, picked up his 11th goal in 23 games. Hilbert notched his third goal at 11:35 when he flipped a backhander over Hedberg's left shoulder. Bates made it 4-0 at 16:41 on a pass-out from Richard Park.

New York has not lost a game in regulation this season that it has led after two periods (15-0-1).

Kozlov was wide open to bury a 10-foot wrist shot for a 5-0 lead at 10:34 of the third period. Mike York picked up his 300th NHL point with a secondary assist on the goal.

Sillinger added a short-handed goal at 15:28.

Atlanta's locker room was closed for nearly 15 minutes after the loss. Forward Bobby Holik was too frustrated to break down his team's recent problems in detail.

"It's a bad night to analyze," Holik said. "We just don't play as a team. There's not much else to say."

Notes: Earlier in the day, the Islanders traded veteran defenceman Alexei Zhitnik to Philadelphia for defenceman Freddy Meyer and a draft pick. To fill the void, New York recalled blue-liner Chris Campoli from their Bridgeport farm team, and returned forward Blake Comeau. New York forward Chris Simon left the game in the first period with what the team termed a lower body injury. The Islanders finished their fifth set of back-to-back games with the win. They are 2-2-1 in the first game, and 5-0-0 in the second game, the first time since 1981 they won five consecutive second-night, back-to-back games.



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