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Atlanta Thrashers vs. Philadelphia Flyers @NHLdotcom
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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 immediate impact.

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 Thrashers.

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 streak.

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 Conference.

"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, 1.00).

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 home.

Associated Press
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