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Thrashers-Capitals Preview @NHL
Thrashers-Capitals Preview

GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (4-8-0) at Washington Capitals (4-8-0).

TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.

Peter Bondra helped the Atlanta Thrashers pound his former team, the Washington Capitals, in a home-and-home sweep earlier this season.

Bondra and the Thrashers look to resume their success against the Capitals at the MCI Center.

Bondra piled up six points to help the Thrashers take the first two games of the season series from Oct. 7-8. He finished with three goals and three assists as Atlanta routed Washington 7-3 and 8-1, respectively. Bondra has now scored against every NHL team.

He spent 14 successful years with the Capitals, and holds club records in goals (472), points (825) and power-play goals (137). However, Washington traded the veteran right wing to Ottawa in February 2004 during a salary dump. The Capitals made him an offer during the offseason, but he chose Atlanta.

While Bondra bears no resentment against his long-time club, his loyalties now belong to Atlanta.

"Obviously, I have a lot of memories (in Washington)," Bondra said on Oct. 7. "At the same time I'm going to put all my energies into moving forward and doing my best for the Thrashers."

Eleven Atlanta players have at least one goal against Washington this season, with Marc Savard and Marian Hossa scoring twice. Savard added six assists for the Thrashers, who went 8-for-22 with the man advantage in the two games.

The Thrashers have struggled since their offensive burst against Washington, going 2-7-0.

However, Atlanta will try to build off an encouraging 6-4 win at defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Jaroslav Modry scored two of Atlanta's four power-play goals as the Thrashers converted on all their man-advantage opportunities against one of the NHL's top penalty-killing units. Atlanta, which snapped a three-game losing streak, entered Thursday ranked fourth in the league in power-play percentage (22.7).

"We played exceptional in their end," said goalie Steve Shields, who made 29 saves. "The power play came through and they made the difference in the game for us."

Goalie Mike Dunham served as the backup for the second straight game after missing six games with a groin injury.

Bondra had a goal and two assists Tuesday and Ilya Kovalchuk added three assists to give him eight assists and 12 points during a five-game point streak.

Washington is coming off another embarrassing loss, 8-1 to Philadelphia on Thursday.

Chris Clark had the only goal for the struggling Capitals, who has lost six of eight and fell to 0-8 this season when allowing at least three goals.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 3): Thrashers - 8 points, 4th place (tied), 11 PB, Southeast Division. Capitals - 8 points, 4th place (tied), 11 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Four tied with 5 goals; Hossa, 10 assists and 15 points; Eric Boulton and Andy Sutton, 38 PIM. Capitals - Alexander Ovechkin, 8 goals and 13 points; Steve Eminger, 7 assists and 29 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 3): Thrashers - Power play: 22.7 percent (20 for 88), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 75.0 percent (69 for 92), 30th. Capitals - Power play: 10.4 percent (7 for 67), 29th. Penalty killing: 76.0 percent (76 for 100), 28th.

GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Dunham (2-2-0, 0 SO, 2.51 GAA); Shields (1-2-0, 0, 4.69). Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (4-6-0, 0, 3.76); Brent Johnson (0-2-0, 0, 6.41).

SEASON SERIES: Thrashers, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 8; Thrashers, 8-1. At Atlanta, Kolzig stopped 41 shots, while Dunham made 19 saves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 2-4-0 on the road; Capitals - 3-3-0 at home.

Associated Press

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