New York (26-29-8) at Winnipeg (27-24-10)

  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Thu Mar 4, 2010
  • TV: MSG+
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A glut of home games this month could help the Atlanta Thrashers earn their second playoff appearance in 10 seasons. Hosting a last-place team that hasn’t won a road game in nearly two months could help.

The Thrashers, though, have lost their last four meetings with the New York Islanders going into their season series finale Thursday night.

Atlanta (27-24-10) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, one point back of the eighth-place tie between Boston and the New York Rangers for the final playoff position.

“We want to move up (in the standings) as quickly as possible,” center Todd White(notes) said.

White helped the Thrashers close the gap on eighth place Tuesday, scoring one goal and setting up another in a 4-2 win over Florida to begin a stretch of 11 games that includes nine at Philips Arena.

A month ago, the team appeared to be focusing its efforts beyond this season, trading Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) - the franchise’s all-time leading scorer - to New Jersey.

However, the Thrashers play 13 of their remaining 21 games in Atlanta and feel that can help them return to the playoffs for the first time since getting swept in the opening round by the Rangers in 2007.

“When we looked at the schedule, we thought that if we were close (going into March) we had a favorable schedule, in theory,” coach John Anderson said. “Now, it’s what we do with it.”

The Thrashers are 5-2-1 in their last eight home games, allowing two goals or fewer in the last four.

They now face an Islanders team which has dropped six in a row on the road - all in regulation - since a 5-4 win at Phoenix on Jan. 9.

New York (26-29-8), though, has won its last two visits to Atlanta as part of its four-game winning streak over the Thrashers. The Islanders now look to sweep this season series for the first time.

Matt Moulson(notes) netted his first career hat trick in the only matchup in Atlanta this season, leading New York to a 4-1 win Dec. 3. The left wing has five goals and two assists in three meetings this season.

The Islanders, five points out of a playoff spot in the East, got another hat trick Tuesday, as Blake Comeau(notes) got his first on just four shots in a 5-3 win over Central Division-leading Chicago.

The left wing has six goals in three games, matching his total from his first 43.

“It’s a big boost,” said Comeau, who said he recently started using teammate Trent Hunter’s(notes) stick. “The shots just seemed to have eyes. I’ll take them. I’m just shooting the puck more and guys are making good plays. They seem to be going in for me.”

Dwayne Roloson(notes) also had another strong game Tuesday, making 41 saves to end a personal five-game slide.

Roloson, 40, has been in net for all three wins over the Thrashers this season and is 7-0-1 with a tie and a 2.71 goals-against average in 10 games against them.

Atlanta may give Johan Hedberg(notes) a second consecutive start after he made 34 stops Tuesday. He’s 9-3-1 with a 2.48 GAA and a shutout in 14 home games, winning his last three with a 1.67 GAA.

Hedberg lost to Roloson in the most recent meeting as Atlanta lost 6-5 in a shootout Jan. 2.

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Thursday, Mar 4