Islanders looking for three straight wins vs. Thrashers

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NY Islanders (4-7-1) at Atlanta (3-7-2), 7:00 p.m. EST

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The New York Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers

are fighting it out to avoid the basement in the Eastern

Conference. But things are starting to look up for at least one

of them.

The Islanders will go try to put together their first three-game

winning streak of the season when they face the Thrashers on

Thursday.

After coming up with one point - an overtime loss - during a

six-game stretch, New York has begun to turn things around of

late. Despite squandering a three-goal, third-period lead for a

second straight time, the Islanders posted an overtime victory

over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday and followed with a 2-1

triumph at the rival New York Rangers a day later in which they

scored a pair of shorthanded goals.

The poor stretch mainly was a result of some terrible defense,

as they allowed nearly four goals per game.

Without top goaltender Rick DiPietro due to knee surgery, the

Islanders have let Joey MacDonald handle the bulk of the duties.

The third-year netminder allowed 23 goals over his first seven

starts but has cut that down in the two victories, stopping 66

of 70 shots.

Atlanta snapped an 0-5-1 slide of its own on Sunday, getting a

pair of goals from Ilya Kovalchuk in a 5-3 win over the Florida

Panthers. The outburst snapped a string of three straight games

without a point for the star left wing.

Like the Islanders, the Thrashers have had trouble in the

defensive end, allowing a staggering 29 goals during their

six-game skid. Atlanta has yielded 46 tallies in 12 games

overall this season, tied for the most in the East.

The Thrashers, with eight points, currently are last in the

conference, one point behind the Islanders and Panthers.

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