Ilya Kovalchuk red hot as the Avs head to Atlanta tonight

The Colorado Avalanche head into Atlanta to face the Thrashers tonight. Both teams have struggled mightily this season; Atlanta is 14th in the Eastern Conference, 20 points out of a playoff spot and Colorado is last in the Western Conference, but only 7 points out 8th place. However, Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk has been on fire in recent weeks. He was named the NHL’s 3rd Star of the Week for last week’s game and scored his 30th goal of the season on Saturday afternoon in San Jose. Kovalchuk has scored at least 30 goals in 6 of his 7 NHL seasons; he scored 29 goals in 2001-02, his rookie campaign.

Published February 23, 2009 at 9:26 p.m.

Bull’s-eye on Kovalchuk

The Avalanche will need to pay close attention to Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, one of the NHL’s most dangerous offensive threats.

Kovalchuk has nine goals and four assists in the past seven games.

He ranks seventh in goals with 30 and 12th in points with 63.