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Atlanta Thrashers vs. New York Rangers

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GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (2-3-0) at New York Rangers (2-1-2).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT.

Henrik Lundqvist went up against one of the NHL's best goalies in his last outing and walked away with the first win of his career.

Lundqvist hopes to get another victory when the New York Rangers host the Atlanta Thrashers.

Lundqvist made 20 saves in Thursday's 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. The 23-year-old rookie made his second career start because Kevin Weekes was nursing a groin strain. Al Montoya, who was recalled from Hartford of the AHL the day before, was the backup.

"It felt really good," Lundqvist said. "I felt so happy to get that first win."

The win, which snapped a three-game losing streak for the Rangers, came against star goalie Martin Brodeur.

"He's a great goalie," Lundqvist said. "It's fun to see him play and it's great to play against all these players who are the greatest in the world."

Martin Rucinsky and Ville Nieminen scored in a span of 17 seconds in the first period, and Blair Betts and Jaromir Jagr also found the net for the Rangers. Jagr's goal was the 541st of his career, tying him for second place with Stan Mikita on the all-time list for goals scored in the NHL by a European. Jari Kurri is the leader with 601.

Jagr has four goals this season, all on the power play.

The Thrashers were pounded 9-1 by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday for their second straight defeat. Marc Savard scored the lone goal for Atlanta, which was outshot 16-3 in the third period.

Rookie goalie Michael Garnett made his first start and allowed all nine goals. Garnett made his first appearance Wednesday night in Atlanta's 2-0 loss to Montreal after Mike Dunham injured his groin.

The Thrashers went 0-for-7 on the power play on Friday, leaving them 0-for-16 over their last two games. Ilya Kovalchuk played in his second game since re-signing with the Thrashers, but is still scoreless.

The Thrashers picked up 63 penalty minutes from two third-period fights, which prompted Toronto coach Pat Quinn to say Atlanta coach Bob Hartley "has a reputation of sending his guys out head hunting."

"I'm going to say that Pat Quinn can say what he wants," Hartley said. "I don't care."

STANDINGS: Thrashers - 4 points, 3rd place (tied), 2 PB, Southeast Division. Rangers - 6 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Peter Bondra and Savard, 3 goals; Savard, 6 assists and 9 points; Greg de Vries, 23 PIM. Rangers - Jagr, 4 goals; Martin Straka, 6 assists; Jagr and Straka, 6 points; Darius Kasparaitis, 16 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 13): Thrashers - Power play: 21.1 percent (8 for 38), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.5 percent (28 for 32), 11th. Rangers - Power play: 20 percent (7 for 35), 8th (tied). Penalty killing: 88.6 percent (31 for 35), 8th.

GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Dunham (2-2-0, 2.51 GAA); Garnett (0-1-0, 5.36). Rangers - Weekes (1-1-1, 3.31); Lundqvist (1-0-1, 1.95); Montoya (no appearances).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Thrashers, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 9, 2004; Rangers, 2-0. At Atlanta, Dunham, then with the Rangers, had 25 saves as New York beat Atlanta for the first time since Feb. 8, 2002.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 1-1-0 on the road; Rangers - 1-0-1 at home.


Associated Press
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