ATLANTA (Ticker) -- With the butterflies out of the way, Dany
Heatley tries to get the Atlanta Thrashers flying again.
Heatley plays his second game since returning from the fatal car
accident that claimed the life of teammate Dan Snyder as the
Thrashers host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
Wednesday night's 1-1 tie against the St. Louis Blues marked the
return of Heatley, one of the NHL's brightest young stars who
suffered torn ligaments in his knee and a broken jaw in the
September car crash.
Driving at a high speed Heatley slammed his Ferrari into a
pillar on a winding road in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood.
Snyder suffered massive brain injuries and died six days later
at the age of 25.
Heatley, 23, made a remarkable return from a torn ACL, taking
the ice just four months after the accident. He had an even
rating with four shots Wednesday while showing signs of his old
With the emotional return out of the way, Heatley can
concentrate on getting the Thrashers back to their winning ways.
They are winless in their last four games (0-2-2) as they chase
Tampa Bay in the Southeast Division.
Toronto is in much better shape, beginning the night atop the
Northeast Division, one point behind Philadelphia for the top
spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Maple Leafs had a three-game winning streak snapped with
Tuesday's 2-0 home loss to Carolina. They have been blanked
three times in their last eight games.
The Leafs have been ravaged by injuries. Among those sidelined
have been right wings Owen Nolan and Alexander Mogilny, center
Robert Reichel and defenseman Ken Klee.
The teams have split the first two meetings this season.