The Atlanta Thrashers know there's still plenty of time for them to get into the playoffs, especially with the way Nik Antropov is playing.
Antropov looks to continue his surge for the Thrashers on Saturday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in the start of a home-and-home set.
Atlanta (30-29-11) trails Boston by three points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is tied for fifth place in the conference, eight points ahead of the Thrashers.
The Flyers (37-28-5) are completing a four-game road trip Saturday before they return home Sunday to face Atlanta, which believes it can catch Philadelphia.
"We've got two tough games coming up against Philly," center Jim Slater said. "If we can beat those guys, you never know."
Antropov scored twice on the power play in a 6-3 victory over Ottawa on Thursday, giving him six points in three games. He scored the go-ahead goal in the third period before Colby Armstrong added two for the final margin.
"We're chipping away at it," Armstrong said. "Hopefully it will all work out for the best."
Antropov, who has 19 points in his last 14 games, scored for the third straight contest Thursday and has helped the Thrashers total 10 goals in consecutive home games.
The team isn't looking at the ramifications of the playoff race heading into this crucial weekend set.
"Every game, every point is a jewel for us," coach John Anderson said. "So we only play one game at a time so that's the game we'll concentrate on, which is obviously Philadelphia, which is a great team."
The Flyers learned Thursday that a high ankle sprain will sideline No. 1 goalie Michael Leighton for the rest of the regular season and at least the opening round of the playoffs. Brian Boucher went out that night and came through with 27 saves in a 3-2 win at Dallas.
"I'm sure it's a confidence boost for him," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Like we've said all along, we've been confident in our goaltending. The guys that have been in the net, they work hard and they want to get in there. (Boucher) has been waiting a long time."
Boucher improved to 5-12-2 with a 2.72 goals-against average this season after winning for the first time since Dec. 14.
"It's nice to get an opportunity," Boucher said. "It's exciting for me and I hope to make the most of it."
The Flyers are among the league's best teams on the power play at 23.0 percent, and they're at 31.4 percent since the Olympic break while going 5-3-2. Surprisingly, none of their 11 power-play goals in that span have been scored by Mike Richards, third among East skaters with 13.
The Thrashers had been struggling on the penalty kill, allowing at least one power-play goal in 11 straight games before Ottawa went 0 for 4.
Atlanta has posted two one-goal wins over Philadelphia this season, with Johan Hedberg recording a 1.50 GAA. Hedberg, a 1994 draft pick by the Flyers, had been 0-7 with one tie and a 3.84 GAA in his previous nine starts against them.
Antropov has only six goals in 31 games versus Philadelphia, and none in two meetings this season.