Atlanta ended one skid in its last meeting with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Thrashers hope history can repeat itself on Friday night as they try to snap a four-game home losing streak to Carolina at Philips Arena.
With a 5-2 victory on Sunday, Atlanta (6-7-2) halted a five-game slide versus the Hurricanes en route to its fourth straight win overall. Marty Reasoner scored twice, and Johan Hedberg - starting again in place of Kari Lehtonen (back) - made 35 saves.
"It went to a run-and-gun style for a while and fortunately we came out on top," said Hedberg, now 7-4-0 with two ties and a 3.09 goals-against average in 13 career starts versus the Hurricanes. "That hasn't been the case so far this year. ... We deserved to get a good win."
Hedberg almost certainly will start in this game. The Thrashers' official Web site reported Lehtonen will miss at least two more games, and Ondrej Pavelec was recalled from Chicago of the AHL.
Pavelec went 2-0-0 with a 2.57 GAA in three starts with the Thrashers earlier this month.
Atlanta hasn't posted a home win over Carolina since March 4, 2007, and has dropped seven of the last eight games there between the division rivals. Now under new head coach John Anderson, the Thrashers will be looking to win five straight for the first time since Feb. 26-March 8, 2007.
"It's a confidence builder for us," said Atlanta's Jason Williams, who has four goals in his last three games. "I find when you get on a winning streak you want to stay on it as long as possible because anything can happen, especially early in the season."
Ilya Kovalchuk, the face of the Thrashers franchise, scored his sixth of the season on Sunday, and 26th of his career against the Hurricanes. That's tied for the most goals he's had against one team - Kovalchuk has also scored 26 versus Florida.
The former top overall draft pick has 10 goals in 19 career home games against Carolina.
The Hurricanes (8-6-2) are coming off a 5-1 loss to Washington on Wednesday, and have scored seven times while losing three of their last four.
Scott Walker, who found the back of the net for Carolina, said a better all-around effort is needed.
"It's unacceptable," he told the Hurricanes' official Web site. "I know the guys care in here, but it's just a matter of getting the job done and doing the little things it takes, and right now (the effort) is unacceptable."
Staal, who led the 'Canes with 38 goals and 44 assists in 2007-08, comes in having failed to register a point in his last five games. However, he has recorded multipoint games in each of his last four visits to Atlanta, totaling five goals and five assists.
Ward was in net on Sunday, and has given up eight goals in his last two appearances. He's won five consecutive starts in Atlanta, and is 7-1-0 with a 3.03 GAA lifetime there.