GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (16-14-3-1) at Pittsburgh Penguins (8-16-4-3).
TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are showing up on the Atlanta Thrashers' schedule at
the perfect time.
Without a goal in its last three games, Atlanta will look to avoid a
season-high fourth straight loss when it faces the league's worst defensive
After getting shut out in two straight games, the last thing the Thrashers
needed to see Thursday was Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils coming off
their worst defensive performance of the season.
New Jersey limited Atlanta to just 15 shots and Brodeur stopped them all,
sending the Thrashers to their third straight shutout loss, 3-0.
Atlanta, which still leads Tampa Bay by three points in the Southeast
Division, has been outscored 12-0 in its last three games. Although it has been
held without a goal for more than 182 minutes, Atlanta is still has an Eastern
Conference-high 98 goals.
"Right now, we are not scoring many goals, but everyone better remember we
can score goals, and I think we'll get back to that sooner or later,"
Thrashers goaltender Pasi Nurminen said.
Left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, the team leader with 18 goals and 35 points,
hasn't scored in eight games -- his longest drought of the season.
"It's just a matter of time. Ilya has too much talent and too much
dedication," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "Teams are paying special
attention to Kovy, so it makes it tougher on him to get some open space, plus
on top of this, he had a couple of good chances, but right now he's hurrying up
The Penguins, tied for the fewest points in the league with 23, have allowed
a league-high 110 goals.
Pittsburgh played a strong defensive game in Thursday's 2-1 overtime loss at
Carolina, but matched a season low with 11 shots.
"It was one of those games where we were just chasing the puck around. We
were lucky to get a point," Penguins rookie Ryan Malone said.
Six of Pittsburgh's eight wins this season have come at home, including the
last three in a row.