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Game Day Preview: Buffalo Sabres vs Atlanta Thrashers

The Sabres are trying to ride the momentum of beating the Florida Panthers on Thursday against the Atlanta Thrashers tonight.  The Sabres played a mistake free game on Thursday and a few bounces went their way to lead them to a 3-1 victory.  Tonight, their first bounce has already gone their way with the announcement of Ilya Kovalchuk being held out of the game tonight.

The Sabres need to find some sort of rhythm going with their offensive game which has been hit or miss in the last few outings.  Patrick Lalime has played really good hockey in net for the Sabres, but they can't seem to capitalize on that by putting the puck in the back of the net.  I said a few days ago that Tellqvist should get his first start tonight, and I still stand by that statement, but it looks that Lalime is going to get his ninth straight start tonight.

The Thrashers have been playing really good hockey as well.  They have won their last four games, three against playoff teams.  It looks that Kari Lehtonen will get the start tonight for the Thrashers but that is really up in the air at this point.  Kovalchuk, their leading scorer, will sit out tonight's game after aggrevating an upper body injury against the Oilers.  This could be a huge blow for the Thrashers as it seems that the offense runs around Kovalchuk.  With 36 goals and 78 points, Kovalchuk blows away the rest of his teammates in the scoring department.  The next closest scorer is Bryan Little with 29 goals and Todd White with 60 points.

These two teams have already met twice this season with the Thrashers getting the best of both games.  Game time is 7:00 pm on MSG.