NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 17th (All times eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (43-19-7) at Atlanta Thrashers (29-29-12), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers will have payback on their minds tonight when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena for the second meeting between the clubs in less than a week.
The Flyers hosted Atlanta this past Saturday at Wells Fargo Center and the Thrashers recorded an overtime victory despite trailing Philadelphia by a 3-0 score after two periods. It marked the first time the Flyers had blown a lead of three goals after two periods of play since Nov. 21, 1987 versus the New York Islanders.
Philadelphia was able to rebound from that frustrating loss with Tuesday's road victory over the Florida Panthers. That win allowed the Flyers to remain one point ahead of Washington for the Eastern Conference lead and Philly is still holding that advantage heading into today's action.
The Flyers have compiled a 3-0-1 record since losing a season-worst four straight games from Feb. 26-March 6.
Philadelphia trailed the Panthers by a 2-1 count after one period, but Jeff Carter scored twice in the second to lift the Flyers to the 3-2 decision at BankAtlantic Center.
Scott Hartnell picked up the first-period score for the Flyers and Brian Boucher made 20 saves to record the win.
"We seemed to be in control after the second period," Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said. "We played good defensively."
Boucher could get the start again tonight after rookie Sergei Bobrovsky allowed five goals on 41 shots in Saturday's loss to the Thrashers. Boucher is 4-5-0 with two ties and a 2.35 goals-against average in his career against Atlanta.
Tonight's tilt marks the middle portion of a three-game road trip for the Flyers. Philly, which is 22-9-3 as the guest this year, will complete the swing Saturday in Dallas.
Atlanta lost its first game following Saturday's comeback win over the Flyers, as the Thrashers were dealt a 4-2 setback Tuesday evening in New Jersey. The Devils trailed by a 2-1 score after 20 minutes, but scored the game's final three goals. Tim Stapleton and Chris Thorburn scored for Atlanta, while Ondrej Pavelec made 20 saves in defeat.
"It was a tough one ... We're disappointed. We have to focus on the next one," Pavelec said.
Pavelec started Saturday's game against Philadelphia, but he was pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots. Chris Mason was credited with the victory after stopping 11-of-12 shots and he could get the start tonight.
The Thrashers enter tonight with 70 points, tying them with New Jersey for the 11th seed in the East. The clubs are six points behind Buffalo for the conference's final playoff spot.
Atlanta has lost three of its last four on home ice and is 15-14-7 as the host this year.
The Thrashers have won five of the last six encounters with the Flyers, but Philadelphia has won 10 out of 12 in Atlanta.
03/17 10:50:55 ET