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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, January 20th (All times eastern)

Edmonton Oilers (21-23-5) at Atlanta Thrashers (23-23-3), 2 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams hoping to rebound from recent lopsided losses will battle this afternoon, as the Atlanta Thrashers welcome the Edmonton Oilers to Philips Arena.

Atlanta ran into a Buffalo squad on Friday that had lost a franchise-record 10 straight games, but the Sabres responded with a huge offensive outburst in a 10-1 victory over the Thrashers.

Colin Stuart scored for Atlanta, which has lost four of its last six but is just one point behind Carolina for first place in the Southeast Division. The Hurricanes are idle today.

Friday was the first time in franchise history the team had given up 10 or more goals in one game. In addition, the nine-goal loss matches a franchise- worst, set against New Jersey on March 10, 2000.

Starter Johan Hedberg was rocked for seven goals on 28 shots in defeat. Kari Lehtonen, who played a little over 27 minutes in relief, allowed three goals on 21 shots.

NHL goal-leader Ilya Kovalchuk failed to record a point and was a minus-4 in the loss. Kovalchuk, who has 37 goals on the season, hasn't found the back of the net in three straight games and has just one goal in five career games against Edmonton.

Atlanta will try to improve on its 12-11-2 mark at home tonight before playing back-to-back road tests against the New York Rangers on Tuesday and Thursday.

Things weren't much better for Edmonton on Friday, as it was pounded by the Hurricanes, 7-2. Patrick Thoresen and Andrew Cogliano scored for the Oilers, who have dropped three straight games and allowed the most goals in a game all season.

Mathieu Garon was dented for six goals on 33 shots in the loss. Dwayne Roloson allowed one goal over the final 7:15 of the contest in relief.

After winning his previous four starts, Garon has now dropped back-to-back tests, giving up nine goals in that span. However, he has never allowed a goal in his career against Atlanta, going 2-0-0 with a pair of shutouts in two career starts.

Defenseman Joni Pitkanen missed Friday's game after injuring his groin on Thursday. Pitkanen, who also missed 13 games earlier this year due to a back ailment, is questionable for today's game and has six goals and seven assists in 33 games this year.

Edmonton has lost the first two contests of its current five-game road trip that next heads to Tampa Bay and Florida. The Oilers are 9-11-4 on the road this season.

The Oilers will be playing in Atlanta for the first time since a 3-0 victory on December 8, 2002. Edmonton is 3-0 with a tie in its last four against the Thrashers and 5-2 with a tie all-time against the club.

01/20 10:27:46 ET

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