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by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
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The potent offense of the Philadelphia Flyers has been slowed the last two games. Facing a team down its top three goaltenders could change that.

The Flyers try to avoid losing a third straight game for the first time this season as they host the Atlanta Thrashers.

Philadelphia had a nine-game home winning streak snapped Wednesday night with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Joni Pitkanen scored two power-play goals in the third period for the Flyers, who outshot the Penguins, 47-29.

The Flyers, who had won six straight overall before Monday's 5-2 loss at Tampa Bay, generated plenty of good scoring chances against Pittsburgh. Mike Knuble and Mike Rathje were stopped on point-blank shots in overtime, and the Flyers left rookie star Sidney Crosby uncovered to receive a breakout pass before scoring the winning goal.

"I don't think we played real well," said Peter Forsberg, who set up both of Pitkanen's goals and leads the NHL with 27 assists. "The last couple games we were sliding a bit and not playing smart hockey. We have been giving up the puck."

Before the last two losses, Philadelphia had scored at least four goals in seven of its previous eight games.

The Thrashers also displayed an impressive attack recently, outscoring opponents 19-2 during a three-game winning streak, before losing 7-3 to the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.

Adam Berkhoel, making his fifth start of the season, made 32 saves and allowed all seven goals.

"What happened to us tonight is behind us," Berkhoel said. "We know how we can play, and when we're all clicking we are a scary team."

On Wednesday, the Thrashers placed backup goaltender Mike Dunham on injured reserve for the second time this season with a groin injury.

Kari Lehtonen was Atlanta's No. 1 goalie, but has been out since injuring his groin in the season opener. With Steve Shields also sidelined by a knee injury, Michael Garnett was recalled from Chicago of the AHL on Tuesday to serve as Berkhoel's backup.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 17): Thrashers - 15 points, 4th place, 14 PB, Southeast Division. Flyers - 24 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Ilya Kovalchuk, 11 goals; Marc Savard, 20 assists and 26 points; Andy Sutton, 46 PIM. Flyers - Simon Gagne, 17 goals; Forsberg, 27 assists and 33 points; Pitkanen, 38 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 17): Thrashers - Power play: 21.9 percent (30 for 137), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.6 percent (113 for 131), 27th. Flyers - Power play: 21.4 percent (26 for 121), 5th. Penalty killing: 76.3 percent (87 for 114), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Berkhoel (2-3-0, 0 SO, 3.72 GAA); Garnett (0-2-0, 6.34). Flyers - Robert Esche (8-3-1, 3.08); Antero Niittymaki (3-1-1, 3.71).

SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 5; Flyers, 4-3. At Philadelphia, Gagne had his second career hat trick, and Forsberg added a goal and two assists as the Flyers improved to 8-2-1 all-time at home against the Thrashers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 3-5-1 on the road; Flyers - 9-1-1 at home.
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