Penguins-Thrashers Preview

It appears the Pittsburgh Penguins have regained their scoring

touch. They hope that will translate into more victories.

The Penguins look to win consecutive games for the first time in

almost a month when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday

night.

Pittsburgh (8-8-1) has scored 13 goals while winning two of

three. This follows a 1-4-1 stretch where the Penguins totaled 12

goals. Their current offensive surge is the team’s most productive

since scoring 14 goals during a three-game winning streak Oct.

16-21 – the last time the Penguins won consecutive contests.

“We’re a good team,” coach Dan Bylsma told the Penguins’

official website. “We know how to play, but we need to give

ourselves permission to win.”

Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis and Max Talbot each had a goal with

an assist in Friday’s 5-1 win over Tampa Bay to match a season high

for goals scored.

“We’ve played some good hockey the last few,” said Crosby, who

has five goals and four assists in his last four games. “We want to

continue that and get rewarded for it. Hopefully, we’re right on

the edge of getting through (the struggles). We want to make sure

we keep playing the way we’re playing.”

The Penguins star captain has six assists but no goals in his

last five games against Atlanta.

Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury made 14 saves Friday for his

150th career win. The embattled Fleury is 2-6 this season but has a

1.73 goals-against average while winning seven of eight against the

Thrashers.

“He’s just been struggling but he’s not going to struggle all

year,” Lightning star Steven Stamkos said.

Fleury’s teammate Brent Johnson is 8-3-2 with a 2.45 GAA versus

Atlanta, but has allowed 11 goals while losing two in a row

overall.

Pittsburgh had won eight straight against the Thrashers until a

1-0 loss at Atlanta on April 10.

The Thrashers (7-6-3) snapped a three-game skid with a 5-1 win

over Minnesota on Thursday.

Andrew Ladd and Fredrik Modin each had a goal with an assist

while Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom added two assists apiece.

Atlanta has scored nine goals while earning three points in its

last two home games.

“They should feel good about what they accomplished,” coach

Craig Ramsay told the Thrashers’ official website.

Ladd has two goals with two assists in his last three games

while Modin has three and two assists in five.

Bryan Little, who scored the lone goal in Atlanta’s April

victory over the Penguins, is expected back in the lineup after

missing six games because of a concussion. He has one goal and

three assists this season.

Ondrej Pavelec will be in net after making 32 saves against the

Wild for his first victory since he collapsed 2 minutes into the

opener Oct. 8 against Washington and sustained a concussion when

the back of his head hit the ice.

“It’s important to get that first win and get it under your

belt,” Ramsay said.

Pavelec, 1-1-2 with a 2.34 GAA this season, is 0-4 with a 5.22

GAA against the Penguins.