It took one of the league's best goaltenders to finally cool down Atlanta. Now, the Thrashers get a chance to bounce back against one the most unsettled goalie situations in the NHL.
After being shut out for the first time in November, the Thrashers look to extend a four-game road winning streak when they open their season series with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
Atlanta (11-11-0) was shut out for the third time this season Friday night, losing 3-0 to New Jersey and the red-hot Martin Brodeur. The Thrashers had won four straight, outscoring their opponents 15-6 over that span.
"We will see how we face the adversity of losing a game 3-0," said Atlanta general manager and coach Don Waddell, whose club has not lost two straight since he took over.
The Thrashers, 11-5 under Waddell, head out on the road where they have won four straight in regulation and seven of nine overall since losing their first four. They'll be facing a Pittsburgh team that not gotten consistent goaltending.
Marc-Andre Fleury - the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft - stopped two of four shots before being pulled Thursday night for Dany Sabourin, who stopped four of Ottawa's potent scorers in a shootout as the Penguins (9-11-2) won 6-5.
Fleury has had a troubling start to the season, posting a 5-8-0 record and a 3.47 goals-against average. He is 1-5-1 with a 3.88 GAA in his last nine games, with Sabourin seeing most of his time this season during that stretch.
Sabourin has been solid when called upon, going 4-3-0 with a 2.30 GAA in 10 contests. This would be his first game against Atlanta.
Sabourin stopped Antoine Vermette, Dany Heatley, Mike Fisher and Dean McAmmond in the shootout Thursday after making 29 saves in regulation to help give the Penguins a 2-1-1 mark since losing four straight.
"We're resilient," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.
Pittsburgh, which had been struggling on offense, got two goals from Ryan Malone while Sergei Gonchar found the back of the net for the sixth time this season. Gonchar has four goals and nine points in his last seven games.
Penguins winger Mark Recchi, meanwhile, has been a healthy scratch in three of the last four games. Over his last 10 games, Recchi has not scored a goal and has just one assist.
Atlanta will be trying to rebound after its top two scorers were held in check, as Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa each had long point streaks stopped against the Devils.
Kovalchuk, who leads the league with 19 goals, had five tallies and 11 points in his previous four games. Hossa, meanwhile, had six goals and seven assists in his previous six games, tying a franchise record of two points in six straight games.
Kovalchuk has been held off the scoresheet in his last two games against the Penguins after totaling 15 goals and 26 points in his previous 17 games against them.
Penguins star Sidney Crosby has also failed to register a point in these teams' last two meetings. He had two goals and nine points in his previous six games against the Thrashers.
Pittsburgh went 2-1-1 against Atlanta last season.