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Isles try to end slump vs. Thrashers

by John Kreiser /

THRASHERS (15-11-3) at ISLANDERS (5-16-5)


Last 10 -- Atlanta 8-2-0; New York 1-7-2

Season series -- It's the second meeting of the season between the Eastern Conference rivals. The Thrashers won the first one, earning a 2-1 overtime victory at home on Nov. 21 on a goal by Dustin Byfuglien.

Big story -- The Thrashers come to Long Island looking to bounce back after a disappointing 4-2 home loss to Colorado on Friday night. They find an Islanders team that has won just once in its last 19 games and has dropped four in a row, including a 5-2 loss at Boston on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Thrashers -- The next time the Thrashers get a three-day break in the schedule, they might expect a different regimen. Atlanta came out flat against Colorado on Friday and ultimately paid the price in the loss to the Avalanche, which ended a six-game home winning streak.

"It was the first time in a long time we had a few days off between games and we didn't react well," said Atlanta coach Craig Ramsay, whose team last played on Monday. "As the coach, I have to take a lot of the blame. Whether we practiced too hard or whatever, we were just not ready."

Islanders -- There's not much to be happy about on the Island these days. Thursday's loss at Boston dropped them to 1-15-3 in their last 19 games. They've scored more than two goals just three times during those 19 games.

"We just have to get back to that [winning] mentality," forward Matt Moulson told Newsday. "At some point, we're going to really have a breakthrough game and hopefully carry that confidence into a streak."

Who's hot -- Byfuglien has an assist on Friday and has 14 points in his last 10 games. He leads all NHL defensemen with 10 goals and 30 points. … Isles center Frans Nielsen has 7 points in his last six games.

Injury report -- Thrashers forward Fredrik Modin (ribs) is day-to-day. … Islanders defenseman Radek Martinek sat out Friday's practice. He took a shot by Boston's Zdeno Chara in the arm on Thursday but returned to the game, as did center John Tavares, who took a Chara blast in the elbow but expects to play. The Isles are still without several regulars for the long term, including Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo (shoulder surgery), Milan Jurcina (hamstring) and Trent Hunter (knee surgery).

Stat pack -- The two shorthanded goals allowed by the Thrashers on Friday were the first they've surrendered all season. Atlanta was the last team to give up a shorthanded goal. … The Islanders have lost all 16 games (0-14-2) in which they've allowed the first goal. They are 0-for-41 on the power play since Nov. 6, the last time they scored with the extra man.

Puck drop -- Nielsen's penalty-shot goal in Boston was his second of the season. Both of his penalty-shot goals have come while killing penalties. He's the first Islander to get two in a season and just the second (along with Benoit Hogue) to score two as an Islander.

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