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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 16th (All times eastern)

New York Islanders (31-19-4) at Atlanta Thrashers (31-28-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Thrashers try to draw closer to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference tonight when they welcome the New York Islanders to Philips Arena.

With 68 points, the Thrashers are ninth in the East -- three behind the eighth-place Canadiens. Tenth-place New York is two behind Atlanta.

On Sunday, Marc Savard scored a power-play goal 2:45 into overtime to cap Atlanta's 3-2 comeback win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Savard added an assist and Ilya Kovalchuk also had a goal and a helper for the Thrashers, who have won four of their last five contests overall. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen made 33 saves in the victory.

Atlanta, which is seeking its first-ever postseason berth, opens a three-game homestand and will welcome Philadelphia on Saturday.

The Islanders, meanwhile, have won four straight games as they continue their late push for a playoff spot. On Tuesday, Alexei Yashin scored twice as New York routed the New Jersey Devils, 6-1, at Continental Airlines Arena.

Sean Bergenheim tallied a goal and two assists, Shawn Bates notched a goal and an assist and Jeff Tambellini registered his first NHL goal for New York, which has won six of its last seven contests. John Erskine scored his first of the season and Rick DiPietro made 16 saves for the Isles.

On the injury front, however, the team lost defenseman Alexei Zhitnik for the remainder of the regular season due to a broken ankle. The veteran blueliner is in his first season with the club after signing as a free agent.

New York will visit Florida on Friday.

The Islanders are 2-0 against the Thrashers this season, and have won four straight meetings overall.

New York is 4-0-1 (1 tie) in its last five trips to Georgia.

03/16 10:20:32 ET


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