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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, December 8th (All times eastern)

Atlanta Thrashers (14-13-1) at Washington Capitals (9-17-2), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams that have already made coaching changes this season will square off tonight, as the Atlanta Thrashers take on the hosting Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.

Atlanta got off to an 0-6-0 start before firing Bob Hartley and replacing him on an interim basis with general manager Don Waddell. Washington, meanwhile, is at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and got rid of Glen Hanlon in late November following a loss to Atlanta. Bruce Boudreau was promoted from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League to replace Hanlon.

The Thrashers have turned their season around under Waddell and are now in second place in the Southeast Division with a 14-13-1 mark. That has them four points behind front-running Carolina.

Atlanta continued its winning ways on Friday, knocking off the New York Rangers, 4-2. Slava Kozlov scored the game-winning goal with 5:17 to play and also added an assist.

Pascal Dupuis, Eric Boulton and Marian Hossa also scored for the Thrashers, who have won three of their last four games. Johan Hedberg stopped 30 shots in the victory.

Atlanta swept back-to-back home games against the two New York clubs and will aim to improve on its 8-7-1 road mark tonight before returning home for two more tests.

The Capitals won their first two games under Boudreau, but have since lost four of five after Friday's 3-2 setback to the Devils on Scott Stevens night in New Jersey.

Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich each scored a goal while Olaf Kolzig made 19 saves in net for the Capitals, who played without Michael Nylander (undisclosed), Boyd Gordon (broken hand) and Chris Clark (groin).

Washington opens a four-game homestand tonight at the Verizon Center, where it has lost seven of its last eight games and is just 3-8-1 this season.

The Capitals defeated the Thrashers in the season opener for both clubs on October 5, but has since lost two in a row to Atlanta. The Thrashers have won seven of the last 11 in the series and four of five in Washington.

12/08 10:26:27 ET

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