The Thrashers haven't had back to back wins since wins on January 2nd and 5th. The first opponent of those two games? The Montreal Canadiens. You have to go back to December of 2009 to find the last time the Habs defeated the Thrashers in regulation - for whatever reason, Atlanta has Montreal's number, regardless of who is in goal. In the last eight games at Philips, the Habs are 6-0-2, by far their best record against any opponent. Tonight'd be a good chance for the Thrashers to add to that impressive streak.
Atlanta gets to premiere their newest acquisition post-trade deadline tonight. The Thrashers sent Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rissmiller to the Florida Panthers for Radek Dvorak, and also grabbed Rob Schremp from the waiver wires. The team's improving penalty kill (12-for-12 over the past three games) needs to continue this trend against the Habs. They have the ninth best powerplay in the NHL at 19.4 percent, just behind the Thrashers' 19.6%. The anticipated lines for tonight are as follows:
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane - Tim Stapleton - Anthony Stewart
Radek Dvorak - Nik Antropov - Rob Schremp
Eric Boulton - Ben Maxwell - Chris Thorburn
Stapleton is obviously being rewarded for his solid play on Sunday afternoon by centering the second line. Schremp, though, should be snipping at his heels for time on that line. Former Canadiens' prospect Ben Maxwell gets to start centering Boulton and Thorburn to face his old team for the first time. Brent Sopel, who the Thrashers sent to the Habs for a pick and Maxwell, will also presumably be in for the Canadiens.
A question as to who will be in goal for the Habs has been answered by Montreal's official Twitter feed. Carey Price had missed the last two games with the flu, but he should be in tonight against the Thrashers. The last time he started, he allowed four goals on 28 shots, as the Thrashers beat the Habs 4-3 in overtime way back on January 2nd. That was the last win before the downward spiral that were the months of January and February. It would be outstanding if the Thrashers could ring in March with a win, and then keep the momentum rolling to the playoffs.