ATLANTA -- Provided he leaves his Buckhead apartment early enough this afternoon, Clarke MacArthur is ready to face his former team tonight.
MacArthur, traded from Buffalo to Atlanta earlier this month, will play against the Sabres for the first time.
"I’ve got a lot of nerves right now," MacArthur said after the morning skate in Philips Arena. "I’d sure love to score one tonight, that’s for sure. It’ll be good. I’m sure there’ll be a little fun with chirping going on on the ice, but our job is we want to get on a little bit of a winning streak and put some pressure on those last [playoff] spots. That’s basically what we’re looking at here. We’ve got to get a win and get going."
The Thrashers are 0-5-1 in the past six games. MacArthur has been around for seven, scoring twice. The trade has been quite a transition.
"It’s like your whole world gets flipped upside down when you get the phone call," MacArthur said. "It was tough. Atlanta and Buffalo are like night and day. The traffic here, you’ve got to leave an hour before just to get here on time. I’ve had a few panic attacks here so far. I definitely miss living beside the arena in Buffalo, I’ll tell you that right now.
"For my career, I probably needed a change. ... I’m a left wing, and you’ve got [Thomas] Vanek and Jochen Hecht there. Nothing against them, they’re great players. There just really wasn’t room for me to get my offensive ability going. That’s the way I look at it anyway.
"They had a solid top two lines, and here there might be more of an opportunity for me. I tried to come out and work hard every night. Obviously, it’s a long season and you go through slumps. But they always gave me the chances I deserved. When I was playing well I was playing lots, so I can’t say anything about that. My opportunities were there, and they gave me the best shot."
The Sabres will keep their same lineup, with Chris Butler and Drew Stafford (groin) on the sidelines. Ryan Miller will start in goal against Johan Hedberg.