NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 3rd
(All times eastern)
Atlanta Thrashers (33-38-6) at Florida Panthers (38-28-11), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers seek a season-high fourth win in a row
tonight that will keep them in the thick of the playoff chase, as they take on
the Atlanta Thrashers -- a club that has enjoyed its role of spoiler -- at
The Panthers have won three straight contests for the fifth time this season,
but haven't posted four wins in a row since a seven-game win streak from March
2-16 of last season.
Craig Anderson has been in net for each of last three victories, guiding
Florida to wins over Philadelphia, Dallas and Ottawa. He has allowed seven
goals in that span and stopped a total of 102 shots, including 30 in a 5-2
victory against the Senators on Tuesday.
Anderson is 2-0-1 with a 2.26 goals against average in his career versus the
Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists against Ottawa, helping Florida stay
alive in the playoff hunt. The Panthers are ninth overall in the Eastern
Conference, two points back of the New York Rangers with a game in hand.
Nathan Horton, Richard Zednik, Bryan McCabe and Stephen Weiss all added goals
-- with Zednik notching the 200th of his career -- and Cory Stillman had two
assists to give him six points over his last three games.
Florida, which has notched 15 goals over its last three games, plays the
middle portion of a three-game homestand tonight and is 20-11-7 as the host
The Panthers face an Atlanta team that won't be going to the postseason this
year but is still having its say on how the playoff picture finishes. The
Thrashers have won three straight and are 10-3-0 over their last 13 games.
Eight of those wins have come against teams still in the playoff hunt,
including a 3-2 overtime triumph against Buffalo on Wednesday.
Ilya Kovalchuk netted the game-winner on a breakaway with 29.9 ticks left in
OT and had an assist in regulation. He has scored in each of his last five
games in addition to posting a point in 19 of his last 21 tests.
Kovalchuk has four goals and two assists this year against Florida and has 55
career points in 42 games against the club.
Slava Kozlov has also been red-hot for Atlanta as of late. He scored versus
the Sabres to give him a point in 10 of his last 11 games. Kozlov has posted
seven goals and 10 assists in that period.
Johan Hedberg turned aside 30-of-32 shots in place of Kari Lehtonen, who
missed the contest due to an upper-body injury that will likely keep him out
of tonight's game as well.
Atlanta, 16-19-4 on the road this year, plays the first of back-to-back road
games tonight before ending the season with three straight at home.
The Panthers have taken three of four from the Thrashers this season and eight
of the last 10 meetings overall, as well as four of five and six of the last
eight played in Florida.
04/03 10:45:49 ET