NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 11th (All times eastern)
New York Rangers (29-23-4) at Atlanta Thrashers (24-22-10), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of struggling teams will try to get back in the win column tonight, when the New York Rangers visit the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena.
The Rangers have lost five in a row heading into tonight, while Atlanta has lost four straight and 11 of its last 13 games. New York is currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings with 62 points and the Thrashers are four points back in ninth place.
New York fell to 0-4-1 in its last five games with Monday's close regulation setback in Detroit. Jimmy Howard stopped a season-high 45 shots to help the Red Wings hold on for the 3-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
Derek Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky tallied for the Rangers and Martin Biron made 32 saves in defeat.
It's unclear if Biron will get a third straight start or if No. 1 netminder Henrik Lundqvist will get back on the ice. Lundqvist hasn't played since getting pulled by head coach John Tortorella in last Friday's loss to the New Jersey Devils.
In other news, Rangers forward Chris Drury is expected to miss six weeks with a left knee injury that will require surgery. Drury had missed the last two games because of soreness in the knee. The 12-year veteran has played in only 23 games this season and has just four assists.
Tonight marks the end of a three-game road trip for New York, which is 17-11-1 as the guest this season.
The Thrashers were also dealt a close regulation loss in their last trip to the ice, as they dropped a 5-4 decision Monday in Toronto. Tim Brent scored what proved to be the game-winning goal midway through the third period for the Maple Leafs.
Dustin Byfuglien posted a power-play goal to snap a 13-game pointless streak for the struggling Thrashers. Byfuglien picked up his first point since scoring a goal in Montreal on Jan. 2. He 17 goals and 25 assists on the season and is fourth among NHL defenseman with 42 points.
Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd and Nik Antropov each found the back of the net and Ondrej Pavelec surrendered five goals on 32 shots in the loss.
"We are getting to the point where we have to win, and I think the vast majority of our players gave all they had to win. But the small errors keep cropping up," said Atlanta head coach Craig Ramsay.
Atlanta forward Fredrik Modin left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and he is questionable for tonight.
The Thrashers have lost two straight and six of their last seven home tests, dropping them to 12-11-5 as the host this season.
The Rangers and Thrashers have split a pair of meetings this season. Atlanta posted a 6-4 win in New York on Oct. 27 and the Rangers recorded a 3-2 shootout decision at Philips Arena on Jan. 22. Atlanta has taken six of eight overall in the series and five of eight on home ice.
02/11 10:46:16 ET