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Kings play host to Thrashers in home opener

by Brian Hunter
THRASHERS (1-1-0) at KINGS (1-1-0)

Season series:
This is the only meeting of the 2010-11 regular season between these clubs. In their most recent matchup, the Thrashers dominated with a 7-0 victory in Atlanta on Nov. 13, 2009. Evander Kane was one of three players to score twice, finishing with a 3-point effort, and goalie Ondrej Pavelec stopped all 38 shots he faced for his first NHL shutout.

Big story:
It's the home opener for Los Angeles, a team with increased expectations this season thanks to a young, star-filled roster coming off a 101-point campaign. Atlanta is starting a three-game California swing to conclude a four-game road trip which began Saturday in Tampa Bay.
Team Scope:
Thrashers: Chris Mason remains the starting goaltender for the immediate future as Pavelec recovers from a scary incident on opening night in which he collapsed on the ice 2:25 into the game. Mason relieved and earned the win over Washington, then made 31 saves the following night in a 5-3 loss in Tampa, a game Atlanta trailed 4-0 before rallying to score the next three goals. Pavelec was released from the hospital Sunday after it was determined a type of fainting spell caused him to collapse and then suffer a subsequent concussion.

"Preliminary results indicate Ondrej had a neurocardiogenic syncope episode (a type of fainting spell), which caused him to fall and hit his head on the ice, leading to the subsequent concussion and loss of consciousness," a statement released by the team read. "He was cleared to return home following a battery of testing on his heart and brain. For precautionary measures, he is undergoing further tests on his heart as well as blood and genetic testing this week. If all goes as expected, he will be medically cleared following those results and will be available to resume playing at the conclusion of any symptoms from his concussion."

Kings: Opening on the road, Los Angeles earned a split against Vancouver and Calgary. Their 2-1 shootout win over the Canucks on Saturday was sweet revenge for the Kings after their first-round playoff elimination at the hands of Roberto Luongo and company last spring, but they weren't nearly as sharp the next evening, managing just a Dustin Brown goal with 5:54 to play in a 3-1 loss to the Flames -- their 10th straight defeat in an arena now known as the Scotiabank Saddledome.

"I don't think it's our best game tonight," coach Terry Murray told the L.A. Times, "but you've got to give them credit and be ready for Tuesday and be a lot more detailed in every aspect of the game."

Who's hot: Ben Eager, acquired in the big offseason trade with the salary-shedding Blackhawks, recorded a goal and an assist for the Thrashers against the Lightning. … Kings goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier have combined to stop 55 of 58 shots over the first two games, a .948 save percentage.

Injury report: In addition to Pavelec being out, Atlanta also has forwards Jim Slater (wrist), Patrice Cormier (broken foot) and Andrew Kozek (hernia surgery) on injured reserve. … Los Angeles defenseman Matt Greene (shoulder surgery) and forwards Scott Parse (groin) and Ray Kaunisto (foot) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack: Thrashers rookie Alexander Burmistrov, the eighth pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, has averaged just over 13 minutes of ice time in his first two games, recording six shots on goal and a plus-2 rating. … Kings rookie Brayden Schenn, the fifth pick in 2009, has averaged 14:13 of ice time in his first two games and is tied for third on the club with seven shots.

Puck drop:
Pavelec, who hopes to return to the ice in the not-too-distant future, released the following statement on Tuesday:

"I want to thank all the doctors, trainers and emergency personnel who took such good care of me. I would also like to thank my teammates, all the fans and everyone in the hockey community who have reached out to me and offered their support and well-wishes over the last few days. I hope to be back in action as soon as possible."
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