The Atlanta Thrashers failed to pick up a much-needed two points against one of the teams they are chasing for a playoff spot. They'll try again to gain elusive points with back-to-back games against clubs that are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The fading Thrashers look for their second win in eight games when they host the last-place Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Atlanta (26-27-11) is in danger of falling out of playoff contention as it continues to struggle offensively. The 11th-place Thrashers are six points behind eighth-place Carolina with 18 games remaining.
Atlanta's postseason hopes took another hit Tuesday in a 3-1 loss to sixth-place Montreal. Despite outshooting the Canadiens 41-23, the Thrashers were held to one goal for the third time in four games and went 0 for 5 on the power play.
Atlanta, which has recorded more than 40 shots on goal in each of its last four games, has gone 4-12-5 in its previous 21 while scoring 45 goals. The Thrashers were in fifth place Jan. 5, five points out of the conference lead, before their current slump.
"We've got to move forward," Mason said after the loss to the Canadiens. "If we dwell on this one too long it will be another four- or five-game losing streak. The only thing we have got to do now is forget it."
The Thrashers' playoff hopes could hinge on how they do in the next two games against Ottawa (21-33-9), last in the East, and Florida, which sits four points behind Atlanta in 12th and visits Philips Arena on Saturday.
"We've got to win the next one," coach Craig Ramsay said. "We can't start changing things. We've got to believe and trust."
The Senators and Thrashers split their first two meetings of the season, both in Ottawa. Atlanta has won three straight home matchups, scoring six goals in each.
Atlanta, however, may have trouble solving its offensive problems against the Senators, especially if Craig Anderson gets the start in goal.
Making his fifth straight start since being acquired from Colorado on Feb. 18, Anderson stopped 20 shots in a 1-0 loss to Boston on Tuesday.
The veteran has posted a 1.19 goals-against average with Ottawa, going 3-2-0. He is 4-1-1 with a 2.47 GAA versus the Thrashers and beat them 4-2 on Dec. 10, making 24 saves.
"He played outstanding," Senators left wing Nick Foligno said after the defeat to the Bruins. "He was very good for us and we're really happy he's behind us."
While it failed to score, Ottawa outshot Boston 33-21 as it continued to show improvement. The Senators have gone 4-3-1 since an 11-game losing streak.
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