Avalanche vs. Thrashers Preview
ATLANTA, GA (AP) - Atlanta matched a team record for consecutive wins with a victory last month in Colorado. Now, the surging Thrashers can equal the franchise mark for longest home winning streak with another victory over the Avalanche.
Atlanta goes for its seventh straight win at home on Friday night when it faces a Avalanche team that's trying to avoid the franchise's first six-game road skid in nearly 19 years.
Trailing 2-1 in the third period, the Thrashers (15-10-3) extended their unbeaten streak in Denver to five with a 3-2 overtime victory on Nov. 30. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien notched the tying goal and Anthony Stewart scored 1:49 into the extra session as the Thrashers tied a club record with their sixth straight win.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Thrashers –134 money line favorites for Friday's game against the Avalanche. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 60% of more than 121 bets for this game have been placed on the Thrashers -121.
Trends say Los Angeles is 20-10 ATS revenging a loss against an opponent at home over the past two seasons.
Atlanta, 8-1-0 since a 1-5-1 stretch, is in position to tie the franchise record for consecutive home wins - set from March 2-18, 2007 - following Monday's 3-2 overtime victory over Nashville. The Thrashers trailed 2-0 after 11:09 but rallied with scores from Jim Slater, captain Andrew Ladd and defenseman Zach Bogosian.
"Everybody is going to have (their lulls), but you can't have them the length of time we had them," said first-year coach Craig Ramsay, whose team had scored first in the previous six games.
Tied with Tampa Bay for second in the Southeast Division, the Thrashers have been getting major contributions from their blue line. Byfuglien, the team leader with 29 points, has five goals and eight assists in the last nine games.
Atlanta has won just once this season - its season opener - when Byfuglien has not registered a point.
Fellow defenseman Tobias Enstrom is tied with Byfuglien with a team-high 19 assists, including 11 on the power play as Atlanta ranks among the NHL's best with the man advantage at 24.8 percent.
The Thrashers are facing a league-high 34.9 shots per game, but Ondrej Pavelec has been up to the challenge, posting a 1.29 goals-against average with two shutouts while starting each of the last 10 games.
Facing the Avalanche for the first time last month, the 23-year-old Czech made 29 saves to set the franchise record for consecutive wins by a goaltender with six.
Pavelec is expected to be in goal, but the struggling Avalanche (13-10-4) likely wish Ramsay would give him the night off. Colorado has dropped four straight overall and five in a row on the road.
Coach Joe Sacco's team fell to 0-1-2 on its five-game trip with Tuesday's 4-3 overtime loss to Florida.
"It was kind of back and forth, and whoever made the most mistakes was going to lose,'' Craig Anderson said after making 21 saves.
Anderson, 3-1-1 with a 2.56 GAA in five starts against Atlanta, could for Colorado, which hasn't dropped six straight on the road since Jan. 2-29, 1992 when the club was based in Quebec.
Peter Budaj turned away 28 shots in last month's loss to the Thrashers, and is 0-3-1 with a 3.01 GAA in four starts versus Atlanta.
Avalanche center Matt Duchene will look to continue his surge after scoring for the seventh time in nine games Tuesday. He also scored in the Nov. 30 loss.
Atlanta tallied three goals in the opening 11:20 and held on for a 4-3 victory in Colorado's last visit to Philips Arena on Feb. 24, 2009.