NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, October 14th (All times eastern)
New York Islanders (1-1-0-0) at Atlanta Thrashers (2-0-0-0), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Already off to their first-ever 2-0 start, the Atlanta Thrashers try to make it three straight wins tonight when they welcome the New York Islanders to Philips Arena.
In the wake of the tragic auto accident that took the life of teammate Dan Snyder and seriously injured star forward Dany Heatley, the Thrashers have defeated both Columbus and Washington. On Saturday, a day after Snyder's funeral, Atlanta notched a 4-3 decision in DC.
Ronald Petrovicky scored twice and Pasi Nurminen made 27 saves to back the victory. Randy Robitaille had a goal and two assists and Ilya Kovalchuk netted his second marker of the season for the Thrashers.
Atlanta's fast start is a far cry from last fall, when the club went 0-8-1-1 in the month of October. That, however, was under former coach Curt Fraser, who will return to Atlanta as an Islanders assistant. Fraser was fired last December and eventually replaced by current benchman Bob Hartley.
The Thrashers will head back to the road after tonight, visiting the NY Rangers on Thursday.
The Islanders, meanwhile, are 1-1 through two games. After being embarrassed in a 6-1 loss to host Washington, New York bounced back with a 6-0 win at Buffalo on Saturday. Mark Parrish and Alexei Yashin each scored two goals and Rick DiPietro stopped 13 shots to post his first career shutout. Arron Asham and Mariusz Czerkawski also scored for the Islanders, while Jason Blake, Oleg Kvasha and Kenny Jonsson added two assists apiece.
Czerkawski, who returned to the Islanders after watching his career flounder in Montreal, has scored in each of the first two games. The Polish winger is attempting to get back to the point where he was a few years back for the club, when he notched consecutive 30-goal campaigns in 1999-2000 and 00-01.
Saturday's tilt marked the first NHL win for new head coach Steve Stirling, who replaced the fired Peter Laviolette this past offseason.
New York will return to Nassau Coliseum and face Florida on Saturday.
The Islanders went 3-1 against the Thrashers last season and are 7-2-1 in the last 10 encounters. New York has won in consecutive trips to Philips Arena and is 4-1-1 in the last six.
10/14 10:53:20 ET