NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, November 7th (All times eastern)
Atlanta Thrashers (6-3-3-1) at Columbus Blue Jackets (3-7-0-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets, hoping some rest has cured their woes, try to halt a seven-game losing streak tonight when they welcome the Atlanta Thrashers to Nationwide Arena.
Columbus has been off since Saturday's 3-0 loss in Calgary, which dropped it to 0-6-0-1 during the current slide. The Jackets tested Flames goaltender Jamie McLennan with a meager 13 shots during the night, and were shut out for the second time this season.
Marc Denis finished with 31 saves in defeat, and sophomore winger Rick Nash had his goal-scoring streak snapped at three. Nash, the top pick in the 2002 Entry Draft, is fifth in the National Hockey League with eight tallies overall so far.
The Blue Jackets, 3-2-0 at home, will host Calgary on Sunday.
Atlanta, meanwhile, ended a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) with a 7-4 pounding of host Buffalo on Wednesday. Ilya Kovalchuk and Randy Robitaille each had a goal and two assists, and Patrik Stefan scored on a penalty shot to pace the effort. Yannick Tremblay and Serge Aubin added a score and a helper apiece for the Thrashers, who are tied with Tampa Bay for first in the Southeast Division at 16 points.
Kovalchuk continued his torrid start and leads the NHL with 12 goals -- three more than his closest competitors. He has contributed multiple-point efforts in six of his 13 games and also tops the league in overall scoring, with 20 points.
Kovalchuk's heroics have been especially welcomed with Dany Heatley out indefinitely due to injuries suffered in the tragic September auto accident, but the health problems have now worsened for Atlanta. Center Marc Savard, who was second to Kovalchuk on the team with five goals and 14 points, is expected to miss 8-10 weeks following ankle surgery.
The Thrashers, 3-2-1-1 on the road, play the second portion of a three-game trip tonight and will visit the NY Islanders on Saturday.
Atlanta edged Columbus, 2-1, at Philips Arena on opening night and has won three straight meetings. The Thrashers have taken two of the three clashes played in Ohio.
11/07 10:14:08 ET