EDMONTON OILERS (21-23-5) at
ATLANTA THRASHERS (23-23-3)
12:08 p.m. MST
Rogers Sportsnet West
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Thrashers Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
Both the Edmonton Oilers and their opponent this afternoon the Atlanta Thrashers come into today's game looking to redeem themselves after blowout losses on Friday. Edmonton dropped a 7-2 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes while the Thrashers were destroyed 10-1 by the Buffalo Sabres.
Edmonton is playing the third game of a five-game road trip this afternoon. The first two games haven't gone as well as hoped. Following a homestand that saw the Oilers go 4-1-0, they have a shootout loss and regulation loss through the first two games of this trip.
Atlanta has been a difficult team to figure out of late. They were on a role recently with only two regulation losses in eight games to start the month of January including a very convincing 5-1 win over the league's top team - the Detroit Red Wings.
However, they were soundly beaten 10-1 in Buffalo by the Sabres Friday night, a loss that could be partially attributed to the fact that they played at home the night before in a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal. The win snapped a 10-game winless streak for the Sabres.
Atlanta currently sits one point behind Carolina for top spot in the Southeast Division. They have been able to stay in the race for a playoff spot despite opening the season with a record of 0-6-0.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
Matt Greene will make his return to the Oilers lineup tonight after being recalled yesterday following a brief conditoning assignment in Springfield (AHL). Greene was +2 on Friday night for the Falcons. He had one assist in 13 games this season for Edmonton before suffering a leg injury on October 30 vs. Detroit and should help provide a physical presence... Shawn Horcoff
leads the Oilers with 21 goals and 47 points - approaching his total of 51 points set last season - but also ranks among the NHL leaders in a number of categories. Horcoff ranks 19th in the NHL in goal scoring. Also, he's 8th in faceoffs taken (900) and 10th in faceoffs won (450). He had a six-game scoring streak snapped Friday in Carolina, his second longest of the season... Robert Nilsson's play is starting to pick up again. He has four points in his last five games and is on a two-game scoring streak. MacTavish will likely put him with Sam Gagner
and Andrew Cogliano
to start today's game.
THRASHERS TO WATCH:
The Thrashers have some potent offensive weapons that can be dangerous. Leading the NHL in goals is Ilya Kovalchuk with 37 through 49 games. He's also tied for the league lead in points with 63... Marian Hossa is second on the Thrashers with 20 goals and 43 points this season... The only bright spot for the Thrashers in their loss Friday night was rookie Colin Stuart, who scored the team's lone goal. It was his third goal since being recalled on December 29... Since being claimed by the Thrashers off re-entry waivers he has put up 19 points in 20 games. He had eight points in 19 games with Pittsburgh... Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is a big reason for the team's success. He has a goals-against average of 2.93 and save percentage of .911 in 24 games played. His counterpart, Johan Hedberg has a 3.42 GAA and .893 save percentage.
Edmonton – Geoff Sanderson (back) is out. Joni Pitkanen (groin) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Atlanta – Brad Larsen (groin) is day-to-day. Steve McCarthy (oblique strain) is day-to-day.
Edmonton is 12-5 this season in games that go to extra time - 11-3 in the shootout and 1-2 in overtime. Atlanta has also been successful in the extra frame, with a 10-3 record overall including 5-0 in OT and 5-3 in the shootout... Entering today's game, Ilya Kovalchuk has scored 37 of Atlanta's 133 goals this season which is 27.8% of the team's production. The NHL modern-day record is 29.5% set in 2000-01 by Pavel Bure of the Florida Panthers... Since acquiring Recchi off re-entry waivers, Atlanta's power play has shown a marked improvement. Prior to Recchi, their power play was 15.1% and since his acquisition, they have converted 18 goals on 72 chances for a 25.0% success rate.
Off-season work paying dividends for All-Star Horcoff -
At the end of a disappointing 2006-07 season, Edmonton Oilers center Shawn Horcoff looked himself in the mirror and pledged to make some career-altering decisions that would help bolster his intensity and spirit. ...more
Matt Greene Recalled from Springfield -
The Edmonton Oilers have recalled defenceman Matt Greene from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. ...more
The Other Side
- Five Questions With Colin Stuart - Less than 10 games into his NHL career recent call-up Colin Stuart has already scored his first goal, picked up his first assist and played two NHL games agaisnt his little brother. Here's what he has to say about his experience so far. ...more
From the Fans
From the Wire
Matching the worst loss in franchise history knocked the Atlanta Thrashers out of first place in the Southeast Division. A win of any kind Sunday will put them right back there.
The Thrashers look to rebound from an embarrassing performance when they host the Edmonton Oilers for the first time in more than five years.
Hoping to at least record a point for the fifth straight game, the Thrashers (23-23-3) didn't come close to accomplishing that Friday at Buffalo as they allowed the most goals in franchise history in a 10-1 loss.
Atlanta gave up four first-period goals and three each in the second and third periods. The nine-goal loss was the second in team history and the first since a 9-0 defeat to New Jersey on March 10, 2000 in the franchise's inaugural season.
"It's our most embarrassing loss in a long, long time," captain Bobby Holik said. "I don't think the team needs losses like this to learn from."
Both Johan Hedberg and Kari Lehtonen struggled in net, although they didn't get much help from their teammates. Hedberg allowed four goals on 11 shots before being pulled 12:41 into the game. Lehtonen gave up three more goals on 21 shots through the second period before Hedberg returned for the third.
"This feeling is something I don't want to feel again," Hedberg said.
Rookie Colin Stuart scored the lone goal for Atlanta, which was 2-0-2 in its previous four games.
With Carolina's 7-2 victory over Edmonton, the Thrashers dropped one point behind the first-place Hurricanes in the Southeast.
Star left wing Ilya Kovalchuk - the league leader with 37 goals - was held without a point for the second straight game after a 10-game point streak. He has one goal in five career meetings with the Oilers.
This will be the third stop on a five-game road trip for the Oilers (21-23-5), who began the trek with a 5-4 shootout loss to Washington on Thursday before Friday's loss to the Hurricanes.
Andrew Cogliano had a goal and an assist against Carolina and Patrick Thoresen also scored for Edmonton, 0-2-1 following a season-high four-game win streak.
The Oilers were dominated throughout Friday, getting outshot 36-18.
"You put yourself in the position where every loss is devastating because you dig yourself back," coach Craig MacTavish said. "I want it hanging over us for a little while till we can come up with a better effort consistently, I'm in no mood to brush this under the carpet."
Mathieu Garon has outplayed Dwayne Roloson lately to seize control of the No. 1 job, but he allowed six goals on 33 shots before being pulled late in the third period. He was 4-1-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average in his previous five starts.
Garon has shutouts in each of his two career games against Atlanta, both coming for Montreal in the 2000-01 season.
Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky - Edmonton's top scorers - had six-game point streaks snapped Friday.
The Oilers are 5-2-0 with one tie all-time against the Thrashers, including a 5-1 home victory Feb. 11 in the most recent meeting. This is Edmonton's first visit to Atlanta since a 3-0 win on Dec. 8, 2002.