TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EDT.
Despite Kovalchuk's season debut, the Thrashers were unable to get any of their 32 shots past Montreal's Yann Danis in a 2-0 loss Wednesday.
Kovalchuk, signed to a five-year, $32 million deal on Saturday after tying for the league lead with 41 goals in 2003-04, had five shots on goal against the Canadiens.
"It felt good to be back on the ice," said Kovalchuk, who has four goals and six assists in 11 career games against Toronto. "We have a really good team right now. This was one game. We should just forget about it tonight, watch the video tomorrow, work hard and fix the problems and find our game."
The Thrashers have been shut out in half of their four games this season, scoring all 15 of their goals in a home-and-home sweep of Washington.
Atlanta may be without goalie Mike Dunham, who was forced to leave Wednesday's game with a groin injury.
Michael Garnett replaced him early in the first period and stopped 29 of 30 shots in his NHL debut. The 22-year-old Garnett was called up from Chicago of the American Hockey League last week to back up Dunham while No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen recovers from a groin injury.
Atlanta's Marc Savard is among the NHL leaders with eight points - all of them coming against the Capitals.
Toronto is coming off its first victory of the season, 4-2 over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Jeff O'Neill scored the go-ahead goal and Kyle Wellwood added his first NHL goal for the Maple Leafs, who lost their first three games by one goal, including two shootout losses to Ottawa.
Backup goalie Mikael Tellqvist started in the second of back-to-back contests for Toronto and made 31 saves to win his season debut.
"Hopefully, I can ride this wave a little and get a chance to play again," Tellqvist said.
Starting goalie Ed Belfour has allowed five goals in each of his last two games.
STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 4 points, 5th place, 4 PB, Northeast Division. Thrashers - 4 points, 3rd place (tied), 2 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Five tied with 2 goals; Tomas Kaberle, 5 assists; Bryan McCabe and Kaberle, 5 points; McCabe and Aki Berg, 8 PIM. Thrashers - Peter Bondra, 3 goals; Marc Savard, 6 assists and 8 points; Jaroslav Modry, 12 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 12): Maple Leafs - Power play: 19.3 percent (6 for 31), 11th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 75.0 percent (15 for 20), 25th (tied). Thrashers - Power play: 21.0 percent (8 for 38), 8th. Penalty killing: 87.5 percent (28 for 32), 10th.
GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Belfour (0-1-2, 0 SO, 3.81 GAA); Tellqvist (1-0-0, 2.00). Thrashers - Dunham (2-2-0, 2.51); Garnett (0-0-0, 1.15).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 3-0-0-1.
LAST MEETING: March 29, 2004; Maple Leafs, 4-2. At Toronto, Gary Roberts had a goal and an assist and Belfour made 22 saves as Toronto rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 0-0-1 on the road; Thrashers - 1-1-0 at home.