The Thrashers did enough in one week to make Tuesday’s game against the Bruins the biggest for the franchise since Game 1 vs. the Rangers in 2006-07 playoffs. Just one point separates the teams for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.
By reeling off wins against the Sabres, Senators and two against the Flyers the playoffs are realistic. Who would have thought that the point for the shootout loss to the Coyotes – who just tied for the top spot in the West – would mean so much? While the Bruins are just a point ahead, the Thrashers can win Tuesday but still don’t have total control of their own destiny as Boston has a game in hand. The Bruins’ remaining 10 games after playing the Thrashers are against the Lightning, Flames, Sabres (twice at home), Devils, Panthers, Maple Leafs, Hurricanes and Capitals (twice).
After the Bruins, the Thrashers’ final nine games are against the Maple Leafs (twice), Hurricanes (twice), Capitals (twice), Penguins (twice) and Devils (with a guy named Ilya Kovalchuk returning to Philips Arena).
Who has the tougher schedule? I say the Bruins. Here’s my (flawed) logic: Throw out the Capitals as each team plays them twice. Throw out the Sabres and the Penguins, both play one twice and they are a wash. Throw out the Devils, they each play once. Throw out the one game with the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.
Here is what’s left: The Bruins have games with Lightning (68 points), Flames (81 points) and Panthers (69). The Thrashers have games with the Maple Leafs (64) and Hurricanes (68).
That’s just for fun, because who really knows?
Not to get lost in trying to catch the Bruins, it’s worth noting that the Flyers, Canadiens and Senators are only four points ahead in the standings. The Senators have lost five in a row and are 1-7-1 this month.
A couple of facts after last night’s win over the Flyers that are worth noting:
*The Thrashers have taken a 2-0 lead in each of the four straight wins. The first goal in each came less than three minutes in.
*Jim Slater on the Flyers after a “cheapshot” from Scott Hartnell: “They think they can’t be touched.”
*The Thrashers’ penalty kill hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in the past three games. The opponents are 0-for-10. It’s 1-for-14 during the win streak.
*The season sweep of the Flyers was the first in franchise history for the Thrashers.
*The four-game win streak matches a season-high for the Thrashers, who did it twice this season but not since November.
*Ondrej Pavelec stopped 44 shots in the win.
One funny moment from Sunday night that I sent out a Twitter message about (shameless plug: @ajcthrashers). During Kiss Cam at the Wachovia Center, the camera came on Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom. Bogosian noticed it and tried to get Enstrom to look up a the scoreboard. Finally, Bogosian kissed his hand and touched Enstrom’s helmet. You can do that when you are winning four in a row.
The Thrashers canceled practice on Monday after playing three games in four nights.
Finally, if you attend a Thrashers practice at the IceForum in Duluth and see the team’s massage therapist “Daniel” Treiguts make sure you tell him to like his new hairstyle.