Skip to main content


Thrashers-Rangers Preview @NHL

New York's Henrik Lundqvist and Atlanta's Kari Lehtonen may be two of the league's better young goaltenders, but both can expect to be tested on Tuesday.

In a matchup featuring several of the league's top offensive players, the Thrashers and Rangers face off at Madison Square Garden.

New York's Brendan Shanahan heads into this week with a league-high 17 goals and teammate Jaromir Jagr is the NHL leader with 25 assists and 37 points. Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa are tied for second with 16 goals each and Hossa is third with 31 points, one more than Kovalchuk.

Both teams are among the league's top 10 in scoring, with Atlanta having totaled 83 goals and New York at 77.

Shanahan scored a goal and Jagr had three assists in New York's 5-2 win over Atlanta on Nov. 10 in the only meeting of the season between these clubs. Kovalchuk scored a power-play goal off an assist from Hossa, and assisted on Slava Kozlov's goal.

The win was the Rangers' fourth in six games over the Thrashers after going winless in the previous eight meetings. While New York goes into the rematch with a one-point lead in the Atlantic Division, Atlanta has a three-point lead in the Southeast.

"We have been playing very well the last couple of weeks," Rangers center Martin Straka said. "Hank (Lundqvist) has been outstanding for us. We just have to keep going. We have another tough game on Tuesday. Atlanta has been playing well. We just have to be ready."

Jagr has four goals and four assists during a four-game points streak for the Rangers (13-9-2), who are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.

Lundqvist, a 30-game winner as a rookie in 2004-05, had allowed just two goals while winning his last three starts coming into the game against Buffalo.

He kept the Rangers in the contest as they rallied from two goals down, but gave up the game-winner 1:36 into overtime when Teppo Numminen's drive was deflected in by Chris Drury.

"I was going for my blocker, but it ended up on my glove side," Lundqvist told the Rangers' official Web site. "It was a tough goal. It is a very tough loss."

Both of New York's overtime losses this season have come at home against the Sabres.

Straka scored both goals for New York, one night after netting the game-winner in overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Straka already has 13 goals, a figure he didn't reach last season until the team's 64th game.

Atlanta (14-7-4) got 37 saves from Lehtonen for his third shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

"I knew back in my head that I can play well, and it hasn't been going my way for the last month or so," said Lehtonen, who had been 0-5 in his previous six starts. "It was a very frustrating time. Hopefully, I can keep playing well from here on. I just need to keep working hard."

Lehtonen, the second overall pick in 2002, is 2-1-0 with a 2.88 goals-against average against the Rangers.

Atlanta is 7-0 this season when allowing two goals or less.

Kovalchuk provided all the offense with his goal late in the first period against the Panthers. He has four goals and three assists in his last five games versus New York.

Hossa has 10 goals and 17 assists in 29 career games against the Rangers.

View More