GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (24-30-6-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (31-15-11-5).
TIME: Saturday, 1 p.m. EST.
Facing the possibility of matching their longest losing streak of the
season, the Philadelphia Flyers need their most recent acquisition to make an
Alex Zhamnov looks to help his new team avoid a fourth straight defeat as
the center makes his Philadelphia debut in a matchup with the Atlanta
The Flyers acquired Zhamnov from Chicago on Thursday in a deal that sent
center Colin Fraser and defenseman Jim Vandermeer to the Blackhawks.
Philadelphia also received a fourth-round pick in the June draft, and Chicago
got a second-round pick.
The trade fills a big need for the Flyers, with centers Jeremy Roenick
(concussion, broken jaw) and Keith Primeau (concussion) sidelined.
"Zhamnov is a tremendous hockey player," Flyers general manager Bob Clarke
said. "With the injuries that we have right now, we are assuming and hoping
that both Primeau and Roenick are coming back. If they both don't or if one of
them doesn't, we're still deep at center."
Zhamnov, 33, had back surgery early in the season and has missed 35 games.
In 23 games with Chicago, he had six goals and 12 assists.
"My back is fine," Zhamnov said. "It's getting better and better. I don't
see any problems with my back right now.
"Philly is a great team. I look forward to being here. I spent eight years
in Chicago and I didn't have the chance to really fight for the Stanley Cup."
The trade was announced before Philadelphia's home contest with Boston. The
Bruins beat the Atlantic Division-leading Flyers 4-3 to send them to their
third straight defeat following a five-game winning streak.
Philadelphia lost a season-high four in a row from Jan. 8-13.
"When you lose, it's frustrating," Philadelphia goalie Sean Burke said.
"The team was rolling along and getting wins and picking up points. We've let
it slip a little right now."
Atlanta beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime on the road Thursday for
its second straight win and third in four contests following a 10-game winless
Ilya Kovalchuk scored with 10.1 seconds left in regulation, and Shawn
McEachern scored on the power play 1:12 into overtime to give Atlanta the win.
The Thrashers improved to 3-3 on their season-high seven-game road trip,
moving them within 10 points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern
"It's a big win, first because we desperately need to get back in the
race," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said.
Atlanta goalie Byron Dafoe returned home from the road trip after injuring
his back slipping on ice outside the team's hotel Wednesday night. Frederic
Cassivi was recalled to back up Pasi Nurminen.
STANDINGS (through Feb. 19): Thrashers - 56 points, 2nd place, 17 PB,
Southeast Division. Flyers - 78 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Kovalchuk, 32 goals, 33 assists and 65 points;
Francis Lessard, 127 PIM. Flyers - Mark Recchi, 22 goals, 36 assists and 58
points; Donald Brashear, 131 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 19): Thrashers - Power play: 14.0 percent (43
for 308), 27th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.7 percent (245 for 286), 2nd. Flyers
- Power play: 22.4 percent (53 for 237), 3rd. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent
(228 for 269), 14th.
GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Nurminen (20-21-5, 2 SO, 2.82 GAA); Cassivi (no
appearances). Flyers - Burke (12-18-5, 1, 2.89); Antero Niittymaki (3-0-0,
SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 5; Flyers, 5-1. At Atlanta, Niittymaki made 20 saves in
his second NHL start, and Simon Gagne, Recchi, Sami Kapanen and Tony Amonte
scored in the second period to lead the Flyers.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 11-17-2-2 on the road; Flyers - 18-7-2-3 at