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Atlanta
Thrashers
41-33-8
New York
Islanders
36-40-6

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Thrashers-Islanders Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Thrashers-Islanders Preview
Atlanta Thrashers vs. New York Islanders

GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (35-29-6) at New York Islanders (32-32-5).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Atlanta Thrashers are playing like a team desperate to earn its first-ever playoff berth.

The Thrashers, who have posted two straight third-period comebacks, will try to record their fourth victory in a row as they visit the slumping New York Islanders.

Atlanta trailed 4-1 early in the third period Thursday before scoring four unanswered goals en route to a 6-5 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils. Peter Bondra scored 1:03 into the extra session to give the Thrashers their 11th win in 14 games.

That game followed a 5-4 shootout win Tuesday in which Atlanta overcame a two-goal deficit to force the game beyond regulation.

"They're (games) are getting tougher and tougher," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "I don't know if someone will make a movie on us, but they would have a good script."

The Thrashers' recent surge has given them the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race and a one-point lead over the Montreal Canadiens. Atlanta, which has scored 16 goals during its current winning streak, also established a new single-season franchise record for wins with Thursday's victory.

Marian Hossa had two assists and extended his scoring streak to three games, while Slava Kozlov had a goal and an assist for the Thrashers, who won despite being outshot 41-30.

Kari Lehtonen, who made 36 saves Thursday, backstopped the Thrashers to their only win against the Islanders this season, a 4-2 victory March 16.

That loss started a three-game losing streak for the Islanders, who have lost four of their last five. New York led 3-1 early in the second period Friday before giving up three consecutive goals in a 4-3 overtime defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I know we blew a two-goal lead," said Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro, who made 22 saves. "But if go into the third period tied on the road - no matter who you're playing against - you feel all right. We had a chance to win it at the end and just didn't do it."

Jason Blake, Trent Hunter and Sean Bergenheim scored for the Islanders, who have gone 0-for-9 on the power play in their last three games.

New York is in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, seven points behind Atlanta with 13 games left.

The Islanders have won five straight at home and have defeated the Thrashers in six of their last eight games at Nassau Coliseum.

STANDINGS: Thrashers - 76 points, 3rd place, 22 PB, Southeast Division. Islanders - 69 points, 4th place, 20 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Ilya Kovalchuk, 44 goals; Marc Savard, 60 assists and 86 points; Andy Sutton, 112 PIM. Islanders - Miroslav Satan, 28 goals; Mike York, 36 assists; Alexei Yashin, 57 points; John Erskine, 115 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Thrashers - Power play: 19.1 percent (90 for 471), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.6 percent (344 for 432), 25th. Islanders - Power play: 16.9 percent (64 for 378), 22nd. Penalty killing: 78.6 percent (324 for 412), 28th.

GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Lehtonen (18-12-0, 2 SO, 2.75 GAA); Mike Dunham (4-4-1, 1, 2.79). Islanders - DiPietro (26-20-5, 3.13); Garth Snow (4-9-0, 3.70).

SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: March 16; Thrashers, 4-2. At Atlanta, Hossa scored a short-handed goal and added an assist while Lehtonen made 28 saves to lead the Thrashers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 15-16-2 on the road; Islanders - 17-14-2 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 25 '06 ATL 1 at NYI 5 M. York
Mar 16 '06 NYI 2 at ATL 4 S. Mellanby
Nov 16 '05 NYI 7 at ATL 3 M. Satan
Oct 25 '05 ATL 3 at NYI 4 J. Blake