GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (21-29-6-2) at Vancouver Canucks (31-16-7-3).
TIME: Friday, 10 p.m. EST.
The Atlanta Thrashers couldn't stop the Vancouver Canucks from scoring at
will in their last meeting. The Thrashers, though, should be happy just to be
able to put a goaltender back in their net.
After finishing out their last game without a goalie, the Thrashers get set
to face a team that routed them 8-0 last season when the clubs meet at GM
Atlanta lost its sixth straight Tuesday night, falling 5-1 to Edmonton in a
contest marred by a huge third-period brawl. All 12 players on the ice received
fighting majors and 10 of them, including goalies Ty Conklin and Pasi Nurminen,
were given game misconducts. The fight resulted in 164 of the game's 198
Since Atlanta starting goaltender Byron Dafoe left after the first period
with a groin injury, the Thrashers had no backup and were forced to finish the
last 1:49 with six skaters after Nurminen was tossed.
"It looked like everybody was going, so I didn't think that far," Nurminen
said of the fight with Conklin that left his team without a goalie.
The Thrashers will need Nurminen to keep his gloves and mask on Friday
against a high-scoring Canucks team that pounded them in their last meeting.
Vancouver captain Markus Naslund had a goal and five assists for a career-high
six points in the 8-0 rout.
Thrashers fourth-string goalie Frederic Cassivi allowed all the Canucks'
goals in that loss, but Nurminen is likely to get the start Friday as Atlanta
looks to end a 10-game winless slide (0-8-2).
Nurminen will be charged with preventing a repeat performance by Naslund,
the NHL point leader who hasn't scored a goal in three games, his longest
drought in more than a month.
The Canucks have slumped along with their captain, dropping three of four
(1-2-0-1) since a five-game winning streak.
Vancouver beat defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey 4-0 on Feb. 5, only
to lose 3-2 to Calgary on Wednesday night in its first game since the All-Star
Jarome Iginla broke a tie 28 seconds into the third period and Roman Turek
made 13 of his 32 saves in the final period to hold off the Canucks.
Sami Salo and Jarkko Ruutu scored for Vancouver, which squandered a two-goal
lead to lose for the first time in four home games and remain two points behind
Colorado and Detroit for first place in the Western Conference.
"We probably got what we deserved tonight," said Canucks coach Marc
Crawford, whose team opened a three-game homestand. "Hopefully we can take a
night like this and chalk it up to experience. We've still got some growing to
do and some maturing to do as a team."
Vancouver left wing Matt Cooke returned to practice this week after missing
a month with a knee injury and may play Friday. The Canucks can use his help up
front after the loss of Magnus Arvedson, who is out for the season with a torn
The Canucks, 14-8-5-0 at GM Place, close their homestand against the Mighty
Ducks on Sunday.
The Thrashers are 0-2 on a season-high seven-game road trip that ends next