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Thrashers, Blue Jackets look to avoid three-game slide

Columbus (8-8-3) at Atlanta (7-9-2) 7:00 p.m. EST

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- After improving to .500 after an abysmal

start, the Atlanta Thrashers have dropped a pair of games to

fall within one point of last place in the Eastern Conference.

The Thrashers will look to rediscover their winning ways when

they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

Atlanta opened the season 2-7-2, including a stretch of nine

losses in 10 games, and lost starting netminder Kari Lehtonen to

a back injury and the flu.

Johan Hedberg and Ondrej Pavelec combined to go 5-1-0 in place

of Lehtonen before each dropped their last appearances in net.

Vyacheslav Kozlov has scored in three straight games for the

Thrashers, who had their three-game home winning streak snapped

in Thursday's 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh.

If the Blue Jackets hope to avoid their own three-game losing

streak, they will look for an improved effort on the power play.

Columbus has converted just two of its last 29 opportunities

with the man-advantage and ranks last in the NHL at 12.1

percent. In their last contest on Tuesday, captain Rick Nash's

power play goal was his fourth in his last four games, but the

Blue Jackets were blasted, 7-2, by the Oilers, allowing a

season-high in goals.

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