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Wheeler, Maxwell, Ladd lead Atlanta past Senators

Blake Wheeler and Ben Maxwell each had a goal and an assist, Andrew Ladd scored the deciding shootout goal and the Atlanta Thrashers stayed on the fringe of the playoff race with a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

Marek Svatos had his third and fourth goals, Chris Neil his sixth and Erik Condra his sixth for Ottawa.

Wheeler scored his 16th, Bryan Little his 17th, Mark Stuart his second and Maxwell his first career goal for Atlanta.

The Thrashers have won two of three, but began the game with only a mathematical chance of making the postseason. With 76 points — nine behind Buffalo for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot — 11th-place Atlanta also trails Carolina and Toronto in the standings.

Ottawa, which is last in the Eastern Conference and was eliminated from playoff contention on Friday, had won two straight and four of five.

Ladd, the fourth and final Atlanta skater in the shootout, had the only goal. Senators goalie Craig Anderson stopped Rob Schremp, Little and Wheeler before Ladd beat him stick side.

Anderson, who stopped 43 of 47 shots, ended an eight-game winning streak in shootouts that dated to December 2009 with Colorado.

After Wheeler's tip-in made it 1-0 early in the first period, he started a rush with a takeaway in the Atlanta zone 10:15 into the second. Wheeler passed from the right circle under defenseman's Filip Kuba's stick for Little, whose wrister beat Anderson glove side.

Nineteen seconds later, Wheeler controlled Dustin Byfuglien's missed shot off the wall and beat Anderson from the and firing from the left circle.

Neil cut the lead to 3-2 at the 13:37 mark of the second by controlling the puck against defenseman Zach Bogosian against the rear boards and beating Chris Mason outside the left crease.

With 17:52 left in regulation, Atlanta led 4-2 on Stuart's tip-in, but Condra made it 4-3 at the 12:48 mark and Svatos tied it with a tip-in 7:40 later.

Svatos made it 1-1 in the second with an unassisted backhander.

NOTES: Jason Spezza assisted on Condra's goal and has 12 points in last nine games, including eight assists. ... Anderson dropped to 8-5-0 in 13 games since his trade last month from the Avalanche. He stopped 42 shots in a 3-1 road win over Atlanta. ... RW Daniel Alfredsson (back) is with the team on the three-game road trip, but coach Cory Clouston said he will not play. ... D Sergei Gonchar (concussion) did not make the trip.