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Discussion Starter #1
The Thrashers are a team that I expect to have a good season from this year and finally make their first playoff run. With players like Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa, Slava Kozlov, Kari Lehtonen, Bobby Holik, and Scott Mellanby they should get there. They have a more fierced defense, with getting Vitaly Vishnevski. Kari Lehtonen is healty this season and it shows in the Thrashers record (5-1-1), and he already has 2 shutouts this season.

Kovalchuk went the longest drought of his career without opening a season with a goal. He is more on last nights awesome game. He does have 1 goal and 6 assists on the season though. Marian Hossa already has 7 goals to start of the season. That shootout goal last night by Hossa was sweet!
 

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There doesn't seem to be anyone is the southeast that's capable of putting up a really good fight so far. I expect Carolina to get it together but even then Atlanta has a chance of winning the division.

It looks like Kari Lehtonen is ready to break out and be a star too so maybe this is the year that Atlanta makes the playoffs.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here is a preview of tonight's game.

By NICOLINO Di BENEDETTO, STATS Writer

The Atlanta Thrashers will try to continue the best start in franchise history at the expense of a team they've dominated at home.

Atlanta (5-1-1) goes for its eighth straight win at Philips Arena over the Florida Panthers when they meet Saturday night in the start of a home-and-home series between the top two teams in the Southeast Division.

Starting with a victory in November 2003, the Thrashers have won seven consecutive home matchups with the Panthers (4-3-1), outscoring them 32-16.

Since joining Atlanta last season, Marian Hossa has been a factor against the Panthers no matter where they play. Just 27 years old, the nine-year veteran has five goals and eight assists during a five-game points streak against them.

Hossa extended that run with two goals and an assist in a 6-0 rout on Oct. 7 at Philips Arena.

Overall, Hossa leads Atlanta with seven goals -- including five on the power play -- and 11 points. He scored twice and added an assist in regulation before netting the game-winner in the shootout in a 4-3 win over Washington on Thursday.

"We never quit. That's what is big about this team," said Hossa. "We showed a lot of character and got a big two points."

Another reason for Atlanta's good start has been goaltender Kari Lehtonen. He's started all seven games, has a 1.81 goals-against average and is tied with San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov for the league lead with two shutouts.

Lehtonen is 4-0 with a 2.21 GAA at home in his career against Florida, including the shutout win earlier this month.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have been outscored 16-4 while losing all four road games this season. They have not dropped five consecutive road contests since dropping a franchise-record 13 in a row from Oct. 27-Dec. 17.

But Florida remained perfect at home with a 3-2 win over Philadelphia on Friday. Olli Jokinen snapped a 2-2 tie with 1:43 remaining in the second period and Ed Belfour finished with 25 saves to give the Panthers' their best home start since 1995-96 when they reached the Stanley Cup finals.

"This is a good win. The Flyers are a gritty team," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "We had a good start and Eddie was really strong."

Belfour, second on the all-time wins list, got his first in three starts with Florida and 458th of his career. The 41-year-old netminder is 9-3-1 with a 1.83 GAA in 13 career starts against the Thrashers but may want to forget his last start against them.

In the loss on Oct. 7, he was replaced by Alex Auld after surrendering four goals on nine shots.

Joe Nieuwendyk may return for this contest from a groin injury that has kept him out for five games. The 40-year-old center has two goals and an assist, all in a season-opening 8-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Oct. 6.

Another injured Panther, Todd Bertuzzi, missed Friday's game with back spasms and is expected to be a game-time decision Saturday. He has six assists and seven points in seven games.

The teams will meet again on Monday night at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.

NHL - Florida Panthers/Atlanta Thrashers Preview Saturday October 21, 2006 - Yahoo! Sports
I expect a very good game from the Thrashers tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
For those of you that don't know the Thrashers won 4-2 last night. Kovalchuk and Hossa combining for 3 goals. The Thrashers are now 6-1-1, playing the Panthers again tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The Thrashers lost last night to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 in Overtime. Kovalchuk scored one goal (6) and had one assist (8). It was a good comeback for the team last night being down 3-1 in the 1st period, but it wasn't enough.

Atlanta is now 7-1-2.
 

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Here is a preview of tonight's Atlanta-Philadelphia game. Hopefully the Thrashers can keep it up.

In four months, John Stevens has gone from being a new NHL assistant coach to looking for ways to end a losing streak that threatens the Philadelphia Flyers' record book.

Philadelphia will try to avoid equaling its longest skid in franchise history as Stevens makes his head coaching debut against Ilya Kovalchuk and the Atlanta Thrashers at Wachovia Center on Thursday night.

On Sunday, Stevens was named the Flyers' 16th coach, replacing the fired Ken Hitchcock. The team also accepted the resignation of longtime general manager Bobby Clarke.

Though Hitchcock last month signed a contract extension through the 2008-09 season, Philadelphia (1-6-1) is off to its worst start in 17 years and has the fewest points in the league with three.

Stevens, a former Flyers defenseman who led their AHL team to the 2005 Calder Cup, said no one is sure what to expect.

"I think everybody's a little curious to see how we're going to respond," said Stevens, who was named Hitchcock's assistant in June. "You can practice and practice and practice. Now it's time to put it in motion."

Though he had a successful career as a coach in juniors and led the Dallas Stars to their only Stanley Cup win in 1999, Hitchcock was also known for an abrasive style that sometimes rubbed players the wrong way. The Flyers now hope better communication with the 40-year-old Stevens will mean better on-ice results.

"He's a great teacher, he's a great coach," center Mike Richards said of Stevens. "He's played the game so he knows the situation everyone's going through."

Stevens inherits a team struggling on both ends of the ice. Philadelphia dropped its fifth straight game Friday, a 3-2 defeat to Florida, and has been outscored 22-7 during its slide. The Flyers have lost a franchise-record six in row three times, most recently from Jan. 25-Feb. 5, 1994.

Overall this season, Philadelphia has scored only 15 goals -- seven by Simon Gagne and Peter Forsberg -- and is a woeful 4-for-55 (7.3 percent) on the power play.

"We're all responsible for what happened," Gagne said. "It's not only them. It's enough. We need to find a way."

Forsberg missed Friday's game after spraining his left wrist in a 4-1 loss Thursday to Tampa Bay, and will be a game-time decision. Though the Flyers are already 15 points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres, Forsberg said there is plenty of time to recover.

"It's a long way from being over. We've got 74 games left," he said after practice Wednesday. "It's early. We've just got to make sure we can turn it around."

To begin their climb from last in the Atlantic, goaltenders Antero Niittymaki and Robert Esche will need to play better. The pair have combined for a 4.46 goals-against average, and Niittymaki has posted four losses during the skid as he tries to play with a torn labrum in his hip.

Stevens said Nittymaki will start against the Thrashers, and Esche will be in net at least once in the next three games.

Philadelphia took three of four last season from Atlanta, with the only loss coming at home in overtime on Nov. 18. Gagne had five goals and an assist in four games, while Forsberg had a goal and four assists in three games.

Despite another goal from Kovalchuk, Atlanta (7-1-2) saw its four-game winning streak end Wednesday with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina defenseman Anton Babchuk beat Kari Lehtonen for the winning goal 1:11 into the extra session.

Kovalchuk continued his recent tear when he scored midway through the third period to make it 4-all. During a five-game points streak, Kovalchuk has six goals and six assists -- he managed only two assists in his first five games this season after scoring a career-high 52 goals in 2005-06.

"You tend to keep (Kovalchuk) in the corner of your eye," Carolina goaltender Cam Ward said. "I look at him and you have to be aware of where he is on the ice."

Kovalchuk tied a career high for points in a game with two goals and three assists in that 6-5 overtime win Nov. 18. He was held without a point in his other three games versus Philadelphia last season
 

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They must beat the Flyers. Everyone else is doing it. :laugh:

Atlanta looks like they have a chance to make the playoffs this year. They did last year too, but this year they should make it.

They must.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The Thrashers came up short last night in a shootout. Peter Forsberg made his return to the Flyers last night as the Flyers beat the Thrashers 3-2. Ilya Kovalchuk got his 7th goal of the season. He now has 15 points on the season.
 

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They're taking on the Sabres tonigt. It should be a huge game since Buffalo is 10-0-0, and Atlanta is playing very well right now.
 
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