Penguins vs. Thrashers Preview
It appears the Pittsburgh Penguins have regained their scoring touch. They hope that will translate into more victories.
The Penguins look to win consecutive games for the first time in almost a month when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night.
Pittsburgh (8-8-1) has scored 13 goals while winning two of three. This follows a 1-4-1 stretch where the Penguins totaled 12 goals. Their current offensive surge is the team's most productive since scoring 14 goals during a three-game winning streak Oct. 16-21 - the last time the Penguins won consecutive contests.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BroburySports.com have made the Penguins -120 money line favorites for Saturday's game against the Thrashers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 76% of more than 2,729 bets for this game have been placed on the Penguins -120.
"We're a good team," coach Dan Bylsma told the Penguins' official website. "We know how to play, but we need to give ourselves permission to win."
Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis and Max Talbot each had a goal with an assist in Friday's 5-1 win over Tampa Bay to match a season high for goals scored.
"We've played some good hockey the last few," said Crosby, who has five goals and four assists in his last four games. "We want to continue that and get rewarded for it. Hopefully, we're right on the edge of getting through (the struggles). We want to make sure we keep playing the way we're playing."
The Penguins star captain has six assists but no goals in his last five games against Atlanta.
Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury made 14 saves Friday for his 150th career win. The embattled Fleury is 2-6 this season but has a 1.73 goals-against average while winning seven of eight against the Thrashers.
"He's just been struggling but he's not going to struggle all year," Lightning star Steven Stamkos said.
Fleury's teammate Brent Johnson is 8-3-2 with a 2.45 GAA versus Atlanta, but has allowed 11 goals while losing two in a row overall.
Pittsburgh had won eight straight against the Thrashers until a 1-0 loss at Atlanta on April 10.
The Thrashers (7-6-3) snapped a three-game skid with a 5-1 win over Minnesota on Thursday.
Andrew Ladd and Fredrik Modin each had a goal with an assist while Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom added two assists apiece. Atlanta has scored nine goals while earning three points in its last two home games.
"They should feel good about what they accomplished," coach Craig Ramsay told the Thrashers' official website.
Ladd has two goals with two assists in his last three games while Modin has three and two assists in five.
Bryan Little, who scored the lone goal in Atlanta's April victory over the Penguins, is expected back in the lineup after missing six games because of a concussion. He has one goal and three assists this season.
Ondrej Pavelec will be in net after making 32 saves against the Wild for his first victory since he collapsed 2 minutes into the opener Oct. 8 against Washington and sustained a concussion when the back of his head hit the ice.
"It's important to get that first win and get it under your belt,'' Ramsay said.
Pavelec, 1-1-2 with a 2.34 GAA this season, is 0-4 with a 5.22 GAA against the Penguins.