OTTAWA -- This win felt a lot like a loss to coach John Paddock and the Ottawa Senators.
The Senators came close to blowing a five-goal lead before hanging on for a 6-4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday.
With the Thrashers trailing 5-0 in the third, Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk scored three times and the Thrashers fought back to within a goal before Daniel Alfredsson sealed the win with his second goal of the night, a short-handed effort into an empty net.
"For us, it feels like a loss," Paddock said. "It's just a good lesson. You win the game, but it still feels like a loss. You don't let up. You just can never let up because something can go wrong."
The Senators held on to win their fifth straight.
Randy Robitaille scored his first two goals for Ottawa before leaving with an injury.
Robitaille, signed as a free agent earlier this season, scored twice to stake Ottawa to a 2-0 lead early in the second period, but was hit by Thrashers defenseman Garnet Exelby and didn't return.
The side of Robitaille's face was swollen badly after the game, but he was otherwise OK and it's not known if he'll miss any time.
The Senators (10-1-0) almost blew it without him.
"You play for pride," Thrashers general manager and interim coach Don Waddell said. "We talked about it between the periods. We play for pride or we pack up and head for Tampa."
The Thrashers travel to play the Lightning on Saturday.
Alfredsson scored twice and set up two others and rookie Nick Foligno and Patrick Eaves also had goals for Ottawa, which needed just 15 saves from goalie Ray Emery, who was making only his second start of the season.
Atlanta (4-9-0), playing the sixth game of a seven-game road trip, lost for the first time in three games.
Eric Perrin, who also picked up an assist, had the other goal for the Thrashers, who struggled for most of the night to get any offense going before getting their four goals in the third period. They managed just four shots on Emery in the first period and only two in the second.
Slava Kozlov chipped in with two assists.
The Senators were playing without Jason Spezza, who suffered a groin injury in practice and is listed as day-to-day.
Robitaille was playing on the Senators' top line along with Alfredsson and Heatley as a result of the injury to Spezza.
It didn't take him long to make the most of the opportunity. At the 1:48 mark of the first period, the journeyman center, signed as a free agent on Oct. 16, took a pass from Alfredsson and beat Hedberg with a low shot for his first goal as a Senator and first since March 24, while with the New York Islanders.
The Senators then scored two goals on their first two shots of the second period, just 50 seconds apart.
Robitaille took a pass in the slot from Alfredsson and beat Hedberg for his second goal and Eaves snapped a shot from the slot that beat the goaltender to the short side to make it 3-0.
That would be among Robitaille's final contribution to the game, however. He was run over in the slot by Exelby and had to be helped to the dressing room after appearing to bang his head on the ice when he fell. No penalty was called on the play.
Before the second period was over, Alfredsson beat Pavelec after being set up by Heatley and Ottawa led 5-0.
Kovalchuk spoiled Emery's shutout bid midway through the third and started Atlanta's rally when he snapped a shot between the goaltender's pads on a 2-on-1 break.
Ottawa's Chris Neil took a four-minute roughing penalty late in the game and Kovalchuk notched his second and third goals on a pair of hard shots to make it an interesting finish.
"We just said, 'Let's play for each other,"' Kovalchuk said. "Neil took a not necessary penalty. I got a chance to score and I got another chance."
- The game was the 400th of Kovalchuk's career.
- The Thrashers wrap up their road trip Saturday night at Tampa against the Lightning.
- The Senators play a home-and-home series against the Boston Bruins on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.