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Panthers-Thrashers Preview @NHLdotcom
Panthers-Thrashers Preview

GAME: Florida Panthers (11-18-4) at Atlanta Thrashers (13-16-4).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Florida Panthers will try to end a 12-game road losing streak when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers, a team they haven't beaten away from home in six years.

The Panthers, who are taking their fourth shot at their first three-game winning streak of the season, haven't won the road since Oct. 25 at Pittsburgh. Their last win in Atlanta came on Dec. 11, 1999.

Olli Jokinen scored in overtime for his first goal in six games as the Panthers edged Western Conference-leading Detroit 3-2 on Thursday.

"It's good for your confidence to be able to win these games, especially against a team like Detroit," said Jokinen, whose last three goals have been game-winners for Florida. "All the games are like playoff games the rest of the year."

Jokinen has scored five decisive goals overall this season, with the last two coming in overtime.

Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo has made 65 of 70 saves during the Panthers' two-game winning streak. The NHL leader in saves with 979 has recorded all 11 of Florida's victories this season.

The Thrashers enter on their own two-game winning streak after defeating New Jersey 3-2 in overtime on Thursday. Marc Savard scored the game-winner and Ilya Kovalchuk added his team-leading 20th goal of the season to give the Thrashers their third win in four games.

"We've been executing very well on the power play," said Atlanta coach Bob Hartley, whose team has gone 6-for-25 on the man advantage in the last four games.

"The guys have been moving the puck well and making good decisions. The last month and a half we've been riding a wave and scoring some pretty big power-play goals."

Rookie goaltender Michael Garnett has started 11 straight games for the Thrashers, posting a 5-4-2 record and 3.51 goals-against average.

Garnett and fellow rookie Adam Berkhoel are the only active goalies on the roster for Atlanta. Kari Lehtonen has not played since the season opener on Oct. 5 after suffering a groin injury and Mike Dunham is also out with a groin injury. Steve Shields is sidelined with an injured knee.

STANDINGS: Panthers - 26 points, 4th place, 16 PB, Southeast Division. Thrashers - 30 points, 3rd place, 12 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Panthers - Nathan Horton, 14 goals; Jokinen, 17 assists, 30 points and 44 PIM; Jokinen, 44 PIM. Thrashers - Kovalchuk, 20 goals; Savard, 30 assists; Kovalchuk and Savard, 44 points; Eric Boulton, 61 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Panthers - Power play: 15.1 percent (26 for 172), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.5 percent (167 for 210), 26th. Thrashers - Power play: 20.5 percent (49 for 238), 5th. Penalty killing: 78.4 percent (171 for 218), 28th.

GOALTENDERS: Panthers - Luongo (11-14-4, 2 SO, 3.25 GAA); Jamie McLennan (0-4-0, 0, 3.10). Thrashers - Garnett (6-7-2, 0, 3.90); Berkhoel (2-4-0, 0, 4.08).


LAST MEETING: Nov. 26; Thrashers, 7-4. At Atlanta, Savard scored two goals and assisted on two others to help Atlanta stop a three-game losing streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Panthers - 2-12-3 on the road; Thrashers - 7-7-2 at home.

Associated Press

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