Thrashers vs. Penguins Preview
PITTSBURGH, PA (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins have been the hottest team in the NHL over the past 10 games. They will have to knock off another red-hot club if they want to extend their own winning streak.
Winners of a season-high seven straight and 9-0-1 in their last 10, the Penguins take on the Atlanta Thrashers, who are looking to win a team-record seventh consecutive game Thursday night but have lost seven in a row on the road to Pittsburgh.
The Penguins (16-8-2) have been carried during their roll by Sidney Crosby, who has 12 goals and 14 assists during a 13-game point streak. He recorded an assist in a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers on Monday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Penguins –169 money line favorites for Thursday's game against the Thrashers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 58% of more than 249 bets for this game have been placed on the Penguins -169.
The over-under is set at 5.5. Trends say the Thrashers are 14-10-1 on over-unders this season, while the Penguins are 9-15-2.
"The team has been playing well, and it's been going in," Crosby said. "I don't think you can ever really explain those things. You just try to do the right thing and hope you get rewarded.''
Crosby has 28 points in 19 career games against the Thrashers, recording a goal and two assists in a 4-2 victory over Atlanta on Nov. 13. He is looking forward to the teams' second meeting.
"We have to do a lot of the same things. Look back at the game we played them a couple weeks ago," he said. "That was tight, intense and physical. We have to be ready for the same thing (Thursday)."
Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves against the Rangers to win his sixth straight start.
"I feel more relaxed, more calm, confident that no matter what the score is, I always feel confident we can win," said Fleury, who has gone 8-1-0 with a 1.76 goals-against average and one shutout in his last nine games versus Atlanta (13-9-3).
Fleury is 8-0-1 with a 1.64 GAA and a shutout in his last nine overall.
Crosby, Fleury and the Penguins should face a test from the Thrashers, who won 3-2 in overtime at Colorado on Tuesday to match the team mark for consecutive wins, set in March 2009.
"Right now it's nice to be able to win games like this and hopefully to be able to build confidence off of them," coach Craig Ramsay said.
Ondrej Pavelec continues to excel in goal for Atlanta, posting a 0.83 GAA while recording two shutouts during the win streak. He has played all six games.
Pavelec, though, is 0-5-0 with a 4.73 GAA against the Penguins, allowing at least three goals in all five meetings.
Dustin Byfuglien scored his team-leading 10th goal and added an assist against the Avalanche, giving him 11 points during the run.
"That's a big team win for us," said Byfuglien, who leads all defensemen with 27 points. "Guys are really coming together right now and it's translating into wins."
Pittsburgh has outscored Atlanta 27-11 during its seven-game home win streak in the series. The Penguins have taken nine of the last 10 overall matchups.
The Penguins last won eight in a row from Dec. 23, 2007-Jan. 10, 2008.