NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, January 8th
(All times eastern)
Atlanta Thrashers (13-23-5) at New Jersey Devils (23-13-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will try to rebound from their first
loss of 2009 when they welcome the lowly Atlanta Thrashers for this evening's
encounter at Prudential Center.
The Devils began the new year with consecutive wins before dropping a close
decision at Carolina on Tuesday. New Jersey has split its last eight games and
is currently third in the Atlantic Division with 49 points.
Cam Ward made 25 saves and Tuomo Ruutu netted the game-winner, as Carolina
held off the Devils, 3-2, at RBC Center.
Patrik Elias registered a goal and an assist for the Devils. Scott Clemmensen
was beaten three times on 28 shots and fell to 15-7-1 on the season.
New Jersey played its fifth straight game without defenseman Colin White, who
has been sidelined with an unspecified upper-body injury. However, White
practiced on Wednesday is expected to play in tonight's contest.
The Devils are 13-7-1 as the host this season and will aim for their third
straight home victory tonight. Following this evening's test, Jersey will
embark on a season-high six-game road trip that begins Saturday in Los
The Thrashers have struggled mightily in recent weeks, losing six of their
last seven games. As a result, Atlanta has fallen into last place in the
Southeast Division, but is currently one point behind Tampa Bay for the fourth
Atlanta has also lost its last two contests and is coming off Tuesday's
setback in Pittsburgh. Petr Sykora tallied twice to lead the Penguins to the
3-1 decision at Mellon Arena.
Ilya Kovalchuk, who leads Atlanta with 40 points on the season, scored the
lone goal in Tuesday's loss. Kari Lehtonen was surrendered all three goals on
29 shots in defeat.
The Thrashers played without centerman Bryan Little, who suffered a rib injury
in Atlanta's previous contest -- a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday. Little,
who leads Atlanta with 19 goals this year, is questionable for tonight's
Atlanta has lost three straight games as the visitor and is playing the middle
portion of a three-game road trip tonight. The Thrashers are just 6-11-3 as
the road club this season.
The Devils are 2-0 against the Thrashers this season and have outscored
Atlanta by a 7-1 margin in those tilts. Jersey has taken two straight and five
of the last six encounters overall and the Thrashers have dropped three of
their last four tests in the Garden State.
01/08 10:42:13 ET