When the Montreal Canadiens report to the Bell Centre on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET), they'll find their main target has switched from one sniper to another.
Having dispatched Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins by way of a shootout victory on Saturday night, the Habs now have to deal with the red-hot Ilya Kovalchuk andthe suddenly decent Atlanta Thrashers.
Les Habitants have won four straight, scored 20 goals during that stretch and are off to a 6-2-2 start that has them four points behind the 9-1 Ottawa Senators for first in the division and conference.
And here's the 3-8 Thrashers looking like a relatively easy early week pair of points.
Not so fast, Canadiens fans.
This is a different Atlanta team from the one that started the season 0-6 and cost coach Bob Hartley his job.
Since general manager Don Waddell reluctantly took over the club, the Thrashers have gone 3-2, including 2-2 on their current seven game road trip. Last time out the southerners beat Chicago, 3-2.
Bringing us back around to Kovalchuk.
Atlanta's star has three goals and four assists in his last four games including the tie-breaking goal in the third period against Chicago, a game that also saw him assist on two Slava Kozlov power-play markers.
"We have some real dynamic players on our team and it's good for us to get them going," said Thrashers' goaltender Johan Hedberg, who has never beaten Montreal in six games (0-5 with a tie).
For Montreal, a return to the solid defence that highlighted the earlier part of the season would be nice as the club has surrendered seven goals in the last two games.
Not to say the goaltending itself hasn't been good— rookie Carey Price was strong on Saturday night against the Penguins to pick up hissecond career win. Cristobal Huet will likely get the Tuesday start.
It also helps when you are putting the puck in the net when called for, as the Canadiens do on their league-leading power play.