Keeping the puck out of the net has been a difficult task for the Atlanta Thrashers lately. Keeping key players on the New York Rangers healthy has been a struggle for much longer.
The Thrashers again look to tighten up a porous defense Saturday night when the injury-ravaged Rangers make their first visit of the season to Atlanta.
Starting with a 9-3 loss to Toronto on Jan. 7, the Thrashers (23-18-8) have allowed 28 goals while dropping five of six. Ondrej Pavelec has a 4.09 goals-against average while Chris Mason has a 7.06 GAA over that span.
On Thursday, Pavelec stopped 29 shots through overtime before being beaten twice in a shootout en route to a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay -- the Thrashers' 10th straight to their division rivals.
"I thought we played a pretty good game," Atlanta defenseman Brent Sopel said. "We played smart and we played hard ... but we need to find a win."
The Thrashers did that in their only meeting with the Rangers so far in 2010-11. Dustin Byfuglien scored the game-winner early in a three-goal third period and Mason made 24 saves as Atlanta went on to a 6-4 victory Oct. 27 at Madison Square Garden.
Byfuglien has 16 goals and leads Atlanta with 41 points, but is in the midst of his worst stretch of the season. He's failed to notch a point in seven games since scoring in overtime of a 4-3 win over Montreal on Jan. 2.
Byfuglien is tied for the league lead with six game-winning goals.
The Rangers announced Wednesday that Dubinsky, the team's leading scorer with 38 points, is expected to miss up to a month with a stress fracture in his left leg. Fedotenko, who is one goal shy of becoming the seventh player on the team to reach double digits, injured a shoulder later that night in a 7-0 win over Toronto, and will likely miss two to four weeks.
New York has been without Ryan Callahan since mid-December with a broken hand, and he may not be back until the end of the month. Alexander Frolov is gone with season-ending knee injuries and Vinny Prospal has yet to play this season since undergoing knee surgery.
"We have a couple of games before the (All-Star) break here, so we just have to do the best we can," Lundqvist told the Rangers' official website.
With Dubinsky out, Marian Gaborik leads the club with 15 goals and 29 points. Gaborik has four goals and two assists in his last five games, but five of those points came in Wednesday's rout of the Maple Leafs.
Gaborik had a goal and two assists for New York during a 5-2 win in Atlanta on March 12.
Wojtek Wolski has two goals and three assists in six games since New York acquired him in a trade with Phoenix on Jan. 10. However, he's yet to record a point on the road with his new club.
The Rangers are 2-0-2 in their last four visits to Atlanta. They'll close the trip Monday against Washington.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.