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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 23rd (All times eastern)

New Jersey Devils (34-26-8) at Atlanta Thrashers (34-29-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Thrashers try to maintain eighth place in the Eastern Conference tonight when they welcome the New Jersey Devils to Philips Arena.

Atlanta, with 74 points, sits one ahead of the ninth-place Montreal Canadiens in the race for the final playoff spot in the East. The Habs will host Toronto this evening.

On Tuesday, Jim Slater scored during the seventh round of a shootout to give Atlanta a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Thrashers scored three times in the third period, and Steve McCarthy's goal with 1:08 left in regulation sent the game into overtime. Brad Larsen, Marc Savard and Bobby Holik also netted goals for the Thrashers.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots for Atlanta, which has won four of its last five games and seven of nine overall

Holik extended his point streak to five games, having tallied three goals and four assists during the run.

Tuesday's game marked the Thrashers' franchise-record 34th win, and they are four shy of the team record of 78 points set in 2003-04.

Atlanta will visit the NY Islanders on Saturday.

New Jersey, meanwhile, has lost its last two games, including Tuesday's 2-1 setback in Philadelphia. Peter Forsberg tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Flyers.

Brian Gionta scored the Devils' only goal and Martin Brodeur stopped 19 shots for New Jersey, which has dropped four of its last five games overall.

The Devils check in with 76 points, which is good for seventh in the Eastern Conference -- two points ahead of Atlanta.

Jersey will host Boston on Friday.

Atlanta is 3-0 against New Jersey this season, and has taken four of the last five meetings.

03/23 10:21:38 ET


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