NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 20th (All times eastern)
Detroit Red Wings (47-15-9) at Atlanta Thrashers (29-36-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Detroit Red Wings begin a three-game road trip tonight, as they visit the Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena.
Detroit has won four straight on the road and is 21-10-5 as the guest this year. The playoff-bound Red Wings were last in action on Tuesday, when they hosted Philadelphia and earned a 3-2 victory.
Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg scored just 1:32 apart in the third period as Detroit rallied from a two-goal deficit. Pavel Datsyuk and Franzen recorded a goal and assist each for the Red Wings, who have won four of five and are unbeaten in their last 16 at home versus the Flyers (14-0 with two ties).
Chris Osgood made 24 stops in the victory, earned without Tomas Holmstrom (knee) and Valtteri Filppula (lower body) in the lineup.
The Red Wings are closing in on their fourth straight Central Division crown. Detroit and its 103 points own a 19-point edge over second-place Chicago. The Red Wings are also one point up on San Jose for the best record in the West and the NHL. Eastern Conference-leading Boston has 100 points.
Detroit won its first seven all-time matchups with Atlanta before the Thrashers bounced back with consecutive victories. However, the Red Wings ended that brief run with a 5-3 home win on October 24.
Former Thrasher Marian Hossa had two goals and an assist in that meeting and has posted 15 goals and 23 points in 20 career games against his former club. Tonight will mark his first contest in Atlanta since being dealt to Pittsburgh at last season's trade deadline. Hossa, who began his career with Ottawa, played with the Thrashers from 2005-08.
Atlanta, which has lost three of its four all-time home games against Detroit, won a franchise-record six straight games in a row -- including the last two without Ilya Kovalchuk -- before Tuesday's 6-2 loss in Pittsburgh.
Kovalchuk also missed that contest with an upper-body injury but is probable for this game. He leads Atlanta with 36 goals on the season.
Bryan Little and Eric Boulton had the goals for Atlanta, which had been riding the hot play of goaltender Kari Lehtonen. Lehtonen made a career-high 49 saves on Monday against Washington to help extend the Thrashers' win streak, but was rested the following night in favor of Johan Hedberg.
Hedberg was victimized for all six goals on 31 shots
Atlanta is 14-18-2 at home this year and has won three straight as the host.
03/20 10:46:53 ET