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Thrashers-Mighty Ducks Preview

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Thrashers-Mighty Ducks Preview

GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (10-13-3) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (11-11-4).

TIME: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks have to be enjoying this homestand.

Anaheim looks for its fourth straight home win when they face off against the struggling Atlanta Thrashers.

Playing on home ice, the Mighty Ducks have been one of the league's streakiest teams. After a loss to open the season, Anaheim has a six-game winning streak followed by a six-game slide a the Arrowhead Pond before its recent winning ways.

The Ducks recorded their third straight home game, 6-1 on Wednesday over the Phoenix Coyotes. Teemu Selanne extended his goal scoring streak to five and rookie Dustin Penner scored his first two career goals.

"Once you get one, the weight is taken off your shoulders and the game gets easier," Penner said.

The Ducks have scored 12 goals during the home winning streak. They were limited to just 10 in their six-game home slide from Nov. 4-20.

Anaheim has split four home games with Atlanta, outscoring the Thrashers 9-1 in two wins.

Atlanta is looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak in more than a month. The Thrashers were blanked for the third time this season in a 4-0 loss Thursday to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"We've got to find some ways to score," said Thrashers scoring leader Marc Savard.

Atlanta also needs to tighten up its power-play unit after surrendering five power-play goals their last two games.

Left wing Ilya Kovalchuk will try to extend his road point-scoring streak. The top overall pick in the 2001 draft has eight goals and five assists in his last five road games.

He has struggled, though, against Anaheim, registering one assist and minus-4 rating in four games.

Atlanta defenseman Niclas Havelid will face his former team for the first time since being dealt from the Ducks to the Thrashers at the 2004 draft. Havelid spent his first five seasons with Anaheim and had a career-high 11 goals and 22 assists in 2002-03.

With two goals and eight assists, Havelid is third on Atlanta among defensemen in scoring and leads the team with plus-4 rating.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 2): Thrashers - 23 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Southeast Division. Mighty Ducks - 26 points, 4th place, 9 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Kovalchuk, 17 goals; Savard, 26 assists and 37 points; Andy Sutton, 56 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Selanne, 15 goals and 24 points; Scott Niedermayer, 13 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 53 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 2): Thrashers - Power play: 20.8 percent (41 for 197), 5th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.8 percent (141 for 179), 27th (tied). Mighty Ducks - Power play: 15.8 percent (26 for 164), 21st. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (157 for 185), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Michael Garnett (3-4, 0 SO, 4.23 GAA); Mike Dunham (4-3-0, 1, 2.11). Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (6-3-0, 0, 2.50); Ilya Bryzgalov (5-8-0, 0, 2.50).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Thrashers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 5, 2003; Thrashers, 6-2. At Atlanta, Savard had two goals and an assist to lead the Thrashers to the home victory.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 5-6-2 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 9-5-2 at home.


Associated Press
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