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Thrashers tie Isles; Heatley speaks

By Associated Press
Published October 15, 2003

ATLANTA - Marc Savard scored early in the third period and the Thrashers twice came back from one-goal deficits to tie the Islanders 2-2 Tuesday night.

Atlanta (2-0-1) still has the best start in franchise history, an amazing beginning following a tragic preseason. Dan Snyder died from injuries sustained in a car wreck that also injured All-Star teammate Dany Heatley, who was driving and subsequently was charged with vehicular homicide.

Friday, Heatley joined the team at Snyder's funeral in Elmira, Ontario, but through it all, the Thrashers kept playing solidly.

Before the game, Heatley expressed sadness for the wreck in his first public comments since he crashed his Ferrari into a wall.

"I am deeply saddened and very sorry over the loss of my close friend and teammate, Dan Snyder," Heatley said in a statement. "I am deeply moved by the strong show of support his family and I have received from the town of Elmira and sincerely thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.

"The entire Snyder family ... have demonstrated amazing strength and compassion during this very painful time."

Heatley, MVP of last season's All-Star game, broke his jaw and tore two ligaments in his knee. He had surgery to repair the knee, and the Thrashers said they expect him to play this season.

Frantisek Kaberle had a great chance to give Atlanta its third straight victory, skating in alone on Rick DiPietro. But Kaberle, a defenseman, didn't get enough on the shot, and DiPietro slapped it away.

CANADIENS 5, CAPITALS 1: Yanic Perreault had two goals and an assist, and Donald Audette also had three points as Montreal won its home opener.

Audette, Andreas Dackell and Stephane Quintal also scored for Montreal, which has won two straight while outscoring opponents 9-1 since a season-opening 5-2 loss in Ottawa on Thursday.

Fresh from his 18th career shutout Saturday in Toronto, Jose Theodore stopped 16 shots for the Canadiens, who were founded in 1909 - eight years before the NHL was formed. They are 53-19-15 in home openers since the NHL began in 1917.

Robert Lang scored for Washington, which played without suspended forward Mike Grier while he served a one-game penalty imposed earlier in the day for elbowing the Maple Leafs' Robert Reichel as the Capitals began a six-game road trip Monday with a 2-2 tie in Toronto.

The Capitals, also without defensemen Brendan Witt and John Gruden for a second straight game because of injuries, are 0-2-1 since a 6-1 victory over the Islanders in their opener Thursday.

Alexander Semin, chosen 13th overall in last year's draft, assisted on Lang's goal in his NHL debut as he joined fellow 19-year-old players Boyd Gordon and Steve Eminger in Washington's lineup.

FLYERS: Left wing Donald Brashear injured his knee at practice and did not accompany the team to California for the start of a four-game road trip. The extent of the injury was not known.

PANTHERS: Petr Taticek, Florida's second choice and the ninth overall selection in the 2002 draft, signed a three-year deal and was returned to his junior hockey team in Sault St. Marie, where he had 57 points in 54 games last season. Also, Florida placed right wing Valeri Bure on injured reserve with a groin injury.

[Last modified October 15, 2003, 01:33:50]

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