To end a season-high five-game skid, the Atlanta Thrashers will face an opponent it had an unprecendented amount of success against last season.
Atlanta looks for its fifth straight win over the New Jersey Devils as they meet at the Continental Airlines Arena on Tuesday.
Southeast Division-leading Atlanta (18-10-6) won all four games from New Jersey in 2005-06. From 1999-2004, the Thrashers had won consecutive games against the Devils just once in franchise history, and had only four wins and three ties in 20 all-time games.
The Thrashers, though, will have to bounce back from one of their worst games of the season, a 6-0 loss Saturday to the New York Islanders in which they had 37 shots on goal. During its slump, which includes three one-goal losses, Atlanta has been outscored 23-6.
"The last four or five games, we've been slipping," said Thrashers backup goaltender Johan Hedberg, who stopped just 26 of 32 shots against the Islanders. "In parts of games, we play really strong, and then we have some breakdowns which cost us."
Despite the losing streak, Atlanta still has a five-point lead over second-place Washington in the Southeast.
Last season, rookie goaltenders Michael Garnett and Adam Berkhoel limited New Jersey to five goals while winning the first three games of the season series. Kari Lehtonen, who missed three months of last season with a groin injury, capped the sweep with a 6-5 overtime win on March 23.
Lehtonen enters this contest having dropped four straight starts with a 3.77 goals-against average.
Marian Hossa also will try to snap out of his slump. He's failed to score in a season-high three straight games, but remains tied with the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin and Brendan Shanahan of the New York Rangers for the league lead with 22 goals
Last season, Hossa had a point in all four games against the Devils, totaling three goals and three assists.
The Devils (18-12-2) ended their three-game losing streak in a big way as Patrik Elias and Sergei Brylin each scored twice in a 6-1 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday. New Jersey had scored just six goals during its skid.
"This is great for our confidence, we needed this," Devils coach Claude Julien said. "This game meant a lot to our hockey club."
Elias has seven goals and eight assists in his last 10 games, leading New Jersey to a 6-3-1 record. He's also scored goals in each of his last four games versus the Thrashers and has eight points over that stretch.
Martin Brodeur made 35 saves Sunday, but will try to avoid his first three-game home losing streak since dropping four in row there from Jan. 7-21, 2004.
In his first 17 starts against Atlanta, Brodeur was 12-2 with three ties, three shutouts and a 1.51 GAA. Since then, the future Hall of Famer is 0-3-2 with a 3.37 GAA.
This season, Brodeur is 11-3-0 with a 1.96 GAA and three shutouts this season at home.
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