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New York
Rangers
42-27-13
Atlanta
Thrashers
34-40-8

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Rangers-Thrashers Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

Associated Press

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Rangers-Thrashers Preview
New York Rangers vs. Atlanta Thrashers

The Atlanta Thrashers have bounced back after a dismal start to the season, but they'd like to be playing a lot better at home.

The Thrashers look to reach .500 at Philips Arena when they play host to the New York Rangers on Friday night.

The defending Southeast Division champions started 2007-08 with six straight losses, resulting in longtime coach Bob Hartley being fired. With general manager Don Waddell behind the bench, the Thrashers have bounced back nicely since then - their 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday moved them to 13-13-1.

However, the victory was just the Thrashers' fifth in 11 home games. The game also opened a stretch in which Atlanta plays seven of nine at home.

"Right now our record is better on the road than at home," said Marian Hossa, who scored a short-handed goal and also had an assist. "With so many games at home, it's very important to win these games."

One of those home wins was a 5-3 victory over the Rangers on Oct. 18 in Waddell's debut. Hossa and Todd White each had a goal in that game as Atlanta won its fourth straight regular-season game against New York (15-11-2).

"It seemed like four guys work better than five on four," Hossa said. "It was good. The penalty kill stepped up."

Kari Lehtonen made 30 saves in his second start since missing 16 games with a groin injury, and stopped Bill Guerin and Miroslav Satan in the shootout. Lehtonen, who was injured in the October win over the Rangers, is 4-1-0 with a 2.61 goals-against average in six career regular-season starts against them.

After starting the season with six straight road losses, New York has gone 6-0-1. But the Rangers lost for the third time in four home games after falling 6-2 to Toronto on Thursday.

Henrik Lundqvist, who is tied with San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov for the league lead with 14 wins, allowed four goals and was pulled after two periods. That came after allowing all four goals in a shutout loss to Carolina on Monday - prior to that, Lundqvist had gone 18 straight games without giving up more than three tallies.

"I don't know the reason," said Lundqvist, who's surrendered only 11 goals while winning his last five road starts. "I know I have to play better. ... I need to work harder in practice and get my game back."

Rangers coach Tom Renney said he hadn't decided whether Lundqvist or Stephen Valiquette - who made just his third appearance of the season against the Maple Leafs - would start versus Atlanta.

Defensemen Dan Girardi and Fedor Tyutin scored on the power play in Thursday's loss for the Rangers, who got two man-advantage goals for the third time in four games.

"We know we didn't play very well. Tomorrow we get another chance to prove we are a good hockey club," Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr said.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 24 '08 ATL 1 at NYR 2 - SO B. Shanahan
Jan 22 '08 ATL 0 at NYR 4 S. Avery
Dec 07 '07 NYR 2 at ATL 4 V. Kozlov
Oct 18 '07 NYR 3 at ATL 5 B. Little