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Islanders-Thrashers Preview @NHL
Islanders-Thrashers Preview

GAME: New York Islanders (9-9-0) at Atlanta Thrashers (7-9-1).

TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Atlanta Thrashers' goaltending carousel continues.

One day after placing Mike Dunham on injured reserve for the second time this season, the tough-luck Thrashers seek a fourth straight victory when they host the New York Islanders.

The Thrashers will have to forge ahead without Dunham, who injured his groin for the second time this season in Saturday's 9-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Dunham also missed six games in October due to an unrelated groin injury.

He joins Steve Shields, who is recovering from a knee injury, and rookie Kari Lehtonen, out since injuring his groin in the opener, on the shelf as the Thrashers have used five different starting goalies in 17 games.

Adam Berkhoel will become the starter in front of Michael Garnett, who was recalled from the minors on Tuesday. Garnett made his NHL debut on Oct. 7 and made two starts - both losses - before being sent down on Oct. 27.

In Saturday's win that snapped the Hurricanes' franchise-record nine-game win streak, Ilya Kovalchuk tallied twice during a five-goal first period to back Berkhoel, who made 14 saves in relief of Dunham.

"Kovalchuk started us again with another of his rockets," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "Then we just kept building and they got into penalty problems and we took advantage of them."

Kovalchuk has six goals in the last two games. He has only four goals in 13 career games against the Islanders, but did score twice against them in a 4-3 loss on Oct. 25.

The Islanders made history Monday in a 3-2 win over the Penguins. Jason Blake scored in the ninth round of a sudden-death shootout, beating Jocelyn Thibault in the longest shootout so far.

Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro stopped the Penguins' final six shooters, including Mark Recchi, Ziggy Palffy and John LeClair, to give New York its second shootout victory.

"I thought we played a great first two periods and not so well in the third, and they took it to us, but our goaltender played great all night," said Shawn Bates, who scored his sixth goal of the season in the second period to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead.

DiPietro has three wins in his past four starts, allowing eight goals.

New York has won three straight against Atlanta.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 15): Islanders - 18 points, 3rd place (tied), 7 PB, Atlantic Division. Thrashers - 15 points, 4th place, 12 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Alexei Yashin and Miroslav Satan, 9 goals; Alexei Zhitnik, 12 assists; Yashin, 20 points; Janne Niinimaa, 44 PIM. Thrashers - Kovalchuk, 11 goals; Marc Savard, 18 assists and 24 points; Eric Boulton, 45 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 15): Islanders - Power play: 15.3 percent (17 for 111), 22nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.9 percent (109 for 133), 17th. Thrashers - Power play: 23.2 percent (30 for 129), 3rd. Penalty killing: 78.9 percent (94 for 119), 27th.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - DiPietro (7-7-0, 3.21 GAA); Garth Snow (2-2-0, 3.69). Thrashers - Berkhoel (2-2-0, 3.12); Garnett (0-2-0, 6.34).

SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 25; Islanders, 4-3. At Uniondale, N.Y., Yashin scored twice on the power play in a 5-minute span of the second period and DiPietro made 33 saves as New York overcame a 2-1 deficit.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 4-6-0 on the road; Thrashers - 4-4-0 at home.

Associated Press
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