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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Sunday, November 16th (All times eastern)

Florida Panthers (7-9-2-0) at Atlanta Thrashers (7-7-3-1), 5 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Thrashers try to get back above .500 this evening when they start a two-game homestand against the Florida Panthers at Philips Arena.

On Saturday the Thrashers suffered their season-high third straight loss, as they were blanked by the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-0. Byron Dafoe stopped 31- of-35 shots for Atlanta, which has dropped four of its last five and is 7-7-3-1 on they season.

The Thrashers have scored just four goals during their three-game slide with the NHL's leading goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk netting just one over his last five games. The 20-year-old Russian sniper leads the league with 13 markers and tops Atlanta with 21 points.

Pasi Nurminen (7-5-3, 2.48 GAA, .913 save percentage) will start for the Thrashers tonight.

Atlanta, 3-2-2 on home ice this season, will face the red-hot Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

Florida, meanwhile, enters tonight's contest on a winning note, as Valeri Bure and Kristian Huselius each posted a goal and an assist in the Panthers' 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Olli Jokinen also found the back of the net for the Panthers, who improved to 2-1 under GM/interim head coach Rick Dudley. Dudley is filling in for fired head coach Mike Keenan.

Roberto Luongo stopped 33 shots for Florida, which will be completing a three- game road trip tonight. The Panthers are 4-5-1 away from home this season.

Steve Shields, Luongo's backup, will most likely be between the pipes tonight. Shields, acquired from Boston on October 5, is 5-0 lifetime against the Thrashers, and has given up just seven goals in those games. He beat them earlier in the season and made 33 saves in his Panthers' debut on October 25.

Florida has won their last two matchups against the Thrashers and is 4-2-1 in the last seven meetings. The Panthers have also won two straight in Dixie, where they are 4-1-3 in their last eight trips.

Eight of the last 10 games in this series have been decided by one goal or less.

11/16 10:35:14 ET

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