NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 9th (All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (35-25-5) at Atlanta Thrashers (28-26-10), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of playoff hopefuls will try to avoid third consecutive losses tonight when the Atlanta Thrashers host the Nashville Predators at Philips Arena.
Both the Thrashers and Predators came out of the Olympic break with back-to- back victories, but have since dropped two straight.
With less than 20 games remaining on their schedules, neither team can afford a long losing streak at this stage of the season. Atlanta is currently 10th in the East and three points out of a playoff spot. Nashville is seventh in the Western Conference and just one point ahead of Detroit, which is holding on to the West's eighth and final postseason slot.
Atlanta, which made its only trip to the postseason in the spring of 2007, has been outscored 10-2 in its last two games. The Thrashers were dealt a 6-2 loss Saturday in Tampa and were blanked 4-0 the following night by visiting Carolina. Manny Legace stopped 27 shots to pick up his first shutout of the season in Carolina's win on Sunday.
Ondrej Pavelec turned aside 29-of-33 shots for the Thrashers.
"The game was obviously not what we wanted to happen," Thrashers head coach John Anderson said. "There is still time. We have to lick our wounds and get right back at it."
Atlanta is 15-11-4 as the host this year and had won three straight on home ice prior to the loss against the Hurricanes. The Thrashers' next test is in Columbus on Thursday but the club will then begin a five-game homestand, starting with Friday's test against the New York Rangers.
Meanwhile, Nashville, which is 17-13-3 as the guest this year, is kicking off a four-game road trip tonight.
The Preds were dealt a 4-2 loss Sunday by visiting Vancouver after Jannik Hansen scored the game-winner in the third period. All told, the Canucks scored three times in the final stanza to erase a 2-1 deficit after 40 minutes.
Jason Arnott and Jordin Tootoo each had a goal for the Predators, while Pekka Rinne gave up three goals on 27 shots.
"For the most part we did a pretty good job," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "They're a good hockey team and you have to limit their chances and I think we did. They just made the most of the ones they did have."
Trotz will aim for his 400th career victory tonight and he can become just the seventh coach in NHL history to reach that mark with one team. Trotz is Nashville's only head coach since the franchise entered the league for the 1998-99 season.
Predators defenseman Shea Weber is expected to miss his second straight game tonight with an upper-body injury suffered Friday against Detroit. Weber is Nashville's top scoring defenseman with 36 points on the year.
Nashville posted a 4-3 home win over the Thrashers on January 30. The Preds have taken three of the last four meetings in the series, but they have just one win in their last five trips to Atlanta.
03/09 10:36:22 ET