Atlanta Thrashers At New York Islanders: Islanders Try To Avoid A Five-Game Slide


(Sports Network) - The last time the Islanders faced the Thrashers, they posted their longest losing streak on club history.

Though that epic drought has come and gone, New York still carries a modest four-game slide into this evening's rematch with Atlanta at Nassau Coliseum.

Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien's goal 90 seconds into overtime on Nov. 21 in Atlanta sent the Islanders to a club-record 13th straight loss, and the club would lose its next game as well before snapping its lengthy skid at home over New Jersey on Nov. 26.

The Islanders, though, have lost their last four games since, including Thursday's 5-2 setback in Boston. Though Frans Nielsen created some excitement with a short-handed penalty shot goal, New York gave up two power-play goals and one short-handed of its own in the setback.

Rob Schremp also scored and Rick DiPietro, whose misplay of the puck on the man advantage led to the Bruins' short-handed tally, finished with 32 saves.

"Frustration builds when you lose, it doesn't matter how close," said DiPietro. "The margin for error in this game in this league at this level is really small.

"The difference between winning and losing is a play here, a play there."

Both John Tavares and Radek Martinek were hit in the arm by shots from mammoth Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and left the game briefly before returning. The two should play tonight barring any setbacks.

The Isles are just 1-15-3 over their last 19 games, have an NHL-worst 15 points on the season and have lost seven of their last eight at home, where they play four of their next five and are 3-6-2 this season.

Atlanta kicks off a three-game road trip this evening after having a franchise record-tying six-game home winning streak snapped with last night's 4-2 setback to the Avalanche. Niclas Bergfors and Bryan Little scored in the loss for the Thrashers, who had won two straight and eight of nine overall.

"We weren't ready for the game," netminder Ondrej Pavelec said. "In the first two periods, we shot the puck and didn't play the net. We played a great third period, but it wasn't enough."

Making his 11th straight start, Pavelec allowed three goals on 28 shots faced. Atlanta head coach Craig Ramsey is expected to rest his 23-year-old netminder tonight in favor of Chris Mason, who will make his first start since Nov. 14.

The Thrashers' victory over the Islanders was their second straight and fifth in the last nine meetings, but they have lost two straight and seven of their last 11 on Long Island.

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