Regardless of who is in net for the New York Islanders, it's tough to succeed when facing a barrage of shots. They may, however, be set for a rare break.
The Islanders look to even their season series with the lifeless Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night in a matchup of last-place clubs.
Joey MacDonald has done an admirable job filling in for Islanders No. 1 goalie Rick DiPietro, who had knee surgery in October. In fact, MacDonald was named the NHL's third star of the month for November, going 8-5-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average.
But New York goalies have been facing a large amount of shots all season, with the Islanders (10-13-2) giving up 32.6 per game, and there was little MacDonald could do to stop the onslaught he faced in his last contest.
New York lost 5-2 to Washington on Thursday night, wasting a 42-save performance by Macdonald.
MacDonald played well, but the Islanders allowed a season-high 47 shots.
"We should play with a lot more energy," said Islanders coach Scott Gordon, whose team is in last place in the Atlantic Division.
New York and MacDonald faced just 27 shots at Atlanta on Nov. 6, but lost 4-3.
The Thrashers, last in the Southeast, are averaging 27.0 shots per game to rank near the bottom of the league. They managed only 23 in a 5-1 loss to Ottawa on Wednesday night.
The Islanders had 29 shots Thursday, getting held below 30 for a seventh consecutive game. They've lost three of their past four games, going 1-for-13 on the power play in the last two.
New York, though, did get a goal from Trent Hunter against Washington, giving him points in five of his last six games (four goals, three assists). The winger leads the team with 11 goals, one less than he had all of last season.
Thrashers winger Ilya Kovalchuk, meanwhile, has two goals in his last 10 games, but that's certainly not due to a lack of chances. He had a team-high three shots on goal against the Senators and leads the team with 70.
Kovalchuk has been held to eight goals this season after matching a career high with 52 in 2007-08. With Kovalchuk struggling, Atlanta has lost five straight (0-4-1) and eight of nine.
The Thrashers have scored on 16.7 percent of their power-play chances in their last nine games, scoring two goals or fewer four times.
Atlanta winger Eric Boulton scored his first goal in 47 games for Atlanta on Wednesday. It was his first since Feb. 5, against Philadelphia.
"It doesn't really feel that hot," Boulton said. "It's nice to be on the board, but it didn't mean anything."
The Thrashers have been even worse on defense, allowing 23 goals in their last five games while their opponents have gone 7-for-17 on the power play. Atlanta defenseman Mathieu Schneider has missed two straight games because of an upper body injury and is day-to-day.