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Thrashers-Devils Preview @NHLdotcom
Thrashers-Devils Preview

GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (12-16-4) at New Jersey Devils (14-12-4).

TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur looks to re-establish his dominance over Atlanta when the Thrashers visit the Continental Airlines Arena.

Brodeur is 12-4-3-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average - his best against any opponent - during his career against Atlanta. He has allowed more than three goals just twice in 19 starts against the Thrashers, but has lost his last two outings against them, including a 4-3 setback Oct. 22.

Brodeur earned career win No. 415 as the Devils snapped a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 shootout victory Tuesday over the Edmonton Oilers.

Ranked sixth on the all-time wins list, Brodeur made 29 saves to move three games above .500 for the second time this season. He has finished at least 12 games over the break-even mark every season since 1995-96.

Brian Gionta scored the game-winner in the shootout when he beat Oilers goalie Ty Conklin.

"I was feeling pretty confident," Gionta said. "He was playing above the crease. I faked a shot to freeze him and then made my move."

Gionta leads the team with 18 goals - eight more than any other Devils player - and 31 points. His career high for points entering this season was 29, set in 2003-04.

Devils coach Larry Robinson has been impressed with Gionta's play.

"I don't know how confident and cool he is, but I know how confident and cool I am when I see him on the ice," Robinson said.

The Devils went 0-for-9 on the power play against the Oilers, and are 2-for-53 with the man advantage in their last eight games.

The Thrashers have had no problem on the power play of late, but the same can't be said for their defense.

In a wild 7-6 win Tuesday over the Detroit Red Wings, Atlanta allowed four goals in the first nine minutes of the third period to relinquish a 6-2 lead.

Patrik Stefan scored his second goal of the game with just over four minutes remaining.

Michael Garnett made his 10th straight start in net and finished with 30 saves. Garnett has allowed four or more goals in four of his last five games.

He was bailed out Tuesday by Stefan, whose game-winner came on a breakaway after Detroit's Andreas Lilja lost his stick.

"We came back and won the game in the last minutes against a strong team," Stefan said. "I think the most important thing was to stay out of the penalty box. They have a great power play."

Atlanta ranks second in the league behind Detroit with 48 power-play goals, and has scored 14 times with the man advantage in its last eight games.

The Devils are 6-3-1-0 at home and 13-5-3-0 all-time against the Thrashers.

STANDINGS: Thrashers - 28 points, 3rd place, 12 PB, Southeast Division. Devils - 32 points, 3rd place (tied), 12 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Ilya Kovalchuk, 19 goals; Marc Savard, 30 assists and 43 points; Eric Boulton, 61 PIM. Devils - Gionta, 18 goals and 31 points; Scott Gomez, 15 assists; Jamie Langenbrunner, 34 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 14): Thrashers - Power play: 20.6 percent (48 for 233), 5th in NHL. Penalty killing: 77.7 percent (164 for 211), 29th (tied). Devils - Power play: 16.7 percent (30 for 179), 17th. Penalty killing: 82.4 percent (122 for 148), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Garnett (5-7-2, 4.05 GAA); Adam Berkhoel (2-4-0, 4.08). Devils - Brodeur (12-9-2, 2.97); Scott Clemmensen (2-3-2, 3.54).

SEASON SERIES: Thrashers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 22; Thrashers, 4-3. At Atlanta, Ronald Petrovicky scored twice and Savard had a goal and two assists as the Thrashers rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 5-9-2 on the road; Devils - 9-5-2 at home.

Associated Press
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