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New York
Rangers
43-30-9
Atlanta
Thrashers
35-41-6
OT
33 SOG
29 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTT
NYR
ATL
game preview

Rangers-Thrashers Preview

Wednesday, 12.10.2008 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Rangers-Thrashers Preview
New York Rangers vs. Atlanta Thrashers

Though the Atlanta Thrashers have had a terrible first two months of the season, they've managed to find success against New York-based teams.

Even the Rangers now seem vulnerable.

The Atlantic Division-leading Rangers, struggling through one of their worst stretches of the season, look to avoid a loss to the lowly Thrashers when the teams meet Wednesday night.

Atlanta (9-14-3) is only one point ahead of Tampa Bay for the worst record in the league, but it has gone 4-1-0 against New York teams. The only loss came against the Rangers, 3-2 on Oct. 30.

But New York (18-10-2), which has lost three of four, will have to figure out a way to end its scoring problems if it hopes to beat Atlanta for the fourth straight time.

The Rangers lost 3-0 to Calgary on Sunday night. It was their second home shutout loss in their last four games.

New York has been outscored 15-4 during that stretch and hasn't won in regulation since beating Phoenix at home on Nov. 24. The Rangers are 3-for-30 on the power play in their last eight contests, and have allowed an NHL-worst eight short-handed goals.

"We're not playing well. We just have to put together a 60-minute game," New York center Scott Gomez said. "We have to find a way."

One of the few bright spots for the Rangers on Sunday was the play of rookie defenseman Corey Potter, who was recalled from Hartford of the AHL to make his NHL debut. New York needed a defenseman with Wade Redden (lower body) day-to-day.

Potter was paired with Dmitri Kalinin on the backline, and looked confident. He also had two solid scoring chances in the second period.

"He showed poise, he did good things with the puck," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "When he had no plays, he made the right choices. It was a good starting point for him, no question."

The Rangers' blueline will face an Atlanta team coming off one of its best offensive performances of the season, beating the New York Islanders 5-1 on Saturday night.

The Thrashers snapped a five-game winless streak (0-4-1), earning a win over the Islanders for the second time this season. They also have two victories over Buffalo.

Atlanta will now attempt to end a four-game home losing streak.

"We can't get any more desperate than this," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "Our hope lies in our despair."

Ilya Kovalchuk, the subject of trade rumors due to Atlanta's poor start, had a goal and two assists versus the Islanders. The star winger had two goals in his previous 10 contests.

Kovalchuk, who has just nine goals through 26 games after scoring 52 last season, has been held off the scoresheet in his last three games against the Rangers.

In net, meanwhile, the Thrashers finally got a strong effort from Johan Hedberg, who stopped 28 shots against the Islanders for his first win since beating Toronto on Nov. 25. He surrendered 15 goals in his previous four games.

Atlanta has given up at least four goals in 14 games this season, going 2-12.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 26 '09NYR 4 at ATL 5 - SOT. White
Feb 03 '09ATL 2 at NYR 1 - SOV. Kozlov
Dec 10 '08NYR 3 at ATL 2 - OTS. Gomez
Oct 30 '08ATL 2 at NYR 3D. Girardi
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
N. Zherdev3191625+71920
M. Naslund31101222-51440
S. Gomez2651318-82403
B. Dubinsky3151217-14324
C. Drury318715-8641
D. Girardi3131215+0811
W. Redden3021315-11810
A. Voros318614-26731
M. Rozsival3121214-111621
R. Callahan317310-51520
P. Mara31189-24900
N. Dawes21336+0600
D. Kalinin31066-171400
B. Betts30325-2200
M. Staal31145+31900
D. Fritsche15134-2200
F. Sjostrom29213-61000
C. Orr31123-47200
L. Korpikoski21123-4401
P. Prucha11101-1500
P. Rissmiller2000-2000
C. Potter1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
H. Lundqvist2616-8-2607402.36.919
S. Valiquette73-2-0151712.49.912
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
I. Kovalchuk27101727-12322
V. Kozlov27121123-41441
B. Little27111122+5622
T. White2771421+2830
R. Hainsey2751116-8830
J. Williams277714-8642
M. Reasoner27459+61800
C. Armstrong27459-42400
E. Christensen21178-8800
J. Slater27257-21500
E. Perrin27257-5410
M. Schneider18257-71810
T. Enstrom27167+02201
N. Oystrick19246+01300
N. Havelid27156+41800
C. Thorburn27325-12700
E. Boulton24224-15300
G. Exelby27044-44700
J. Crabb6123+3700
B. Sterling3101-2000
B. Valabik9011+22700
Z. Bogosian8000-21300
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Hedberg125-4-2383453.55.890
K. Lehtonen92-5-2313193.44.903
O. Pavelec82-5-0232283.17.899