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Gameday: New York Rangers at Atlanta Thrashers

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v.
Atlanta Thrashers New York Rangers
Philips Arena
7:00 PM
TV: SportSouth, Radio: 680 the FAN
SBNation: Blueshirt Banter, SBN Gamepage
TSN: Thrashers vs. Rangers
Ondrej Pavelec
Chad Johnson
(9-11-3, .903% 3.52) (0-0-0, .850% 4.50)

New York

Last Five: 3-1-1

Special Teams: PP 20.2% (12th), PK 86% (4th)

Season Vs. Atlanta: 0-1-1

In the history of the Thrashers/Rangers "rivalry," there has been no bigger piece than Sean Avery. The man christened "The Great Gabbo" by none other than Stan Fischler has been a thorn in the Thrashers' - and Ilya Kovalchuk's - side since the fateful playoff year of 2007. Avery tore up the ice (for him, anyway - 1g 3a) last night against his old team, the Dallas Stars, and earned first star honors to boot. From the Maven:

"Look," said Avery trying as hard as possible to remain Mister Cool, "I'm trying my best to help the hockey club. I'm very happy that I was able to contribute against Dallas."

Somebody's been taking PR lessons.

I'm fairly certain Avery will be lined up every time Ilya hits the ice, and the effects will be apparent.

Some pretty amusing trade speculation over at our labelmates Blueshirt Banter. Just reading some of the packages proposed to come back to Atlanta are stunning. Then again, when your top two lines are being paid that much and have produced that little, well, it's easy to want to ship most of ‘em out. And it's always good to hear that Kovalchuk "obviously" wants out of here. I'm glad we have the rest of the NHL's fanbase to tell us how awful it is to be in Atlanta.

This opens a 2 game roadie for the Blueshirts, before heading to Boston for a Saturday night tilt against the Bruins. New York is 11-9-2 on the road this year, but have won their last four away from MSG.

Isn't this cute: Chad Johnson gets his first NHL start against Atlanta. Insert your own snarky remark here.

Lastly, this is Erik Christiensen's return to Atlanta. Since joining the Rangers, he's played 12 games, notched 5 points, and averaged around 12min of ice time per night. So... consistency is always nice.

Atlanta

Last Five: 0-3-2

Special Teams: PP 20.5% (10th), PK 80.5% (17th)

Injuries: Nik Antropov (hip), Mark Popovic (foot)

Anything good anywhere?

Rich Peverley gets the start at the top line.

That's nice.