Tuesday: The Thrashers biggest game since …

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.

84 comments Add your comment

Gwinnett Fred

March 22nd, 2010
6:22 pm

Brendan,

The Thrashers have a winning % of .667 when scoring first.

More impressive is a winning % of .833 (6th in the entire NHL) when leading after the first period!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lord Stanley

March 22nd, 2010
6:25 pm

I got my tickets see u there

Brendan

March 22nd, 2010
6:30 pm

Gwinnett Fred, is that a points-percentage or a winning percentage? Either way, .833 is an impressive stat, for leads after the 1st period. Trouble is, for too many times, Atlanta falls asleep through the first 40 minutes. Then, it’s a mad dash to the 60 minute mark.

Gwinnett Fred

March 22nd, 2010
6:35 pm

Winning percentage – and really just shows the success the team has when it hits the ice ready to kick butt.

BTW – Absolutely LOVE the sign I saw Saturday night – “MOOSE- Head of Blueland Defense”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gwinnett Fred

March 22nd, 2010
6:35 pm

My apologies – MOOSE, Head of Blueland SECURITY

CrazyDiamond

March 22nd, 2010
6:48 pm

The Audacity of HOPE. I’m onboard.

Andrew G

March 22nd, 2010
7:58 pm

C-Viv, When are you going to get enough pull with the AJC to get a front page slot? I don’t care about the Bulldogs (especially in the offseason). Let’s go T-Birds!

kracker

March 22nd, 2010
8:10 pm

Got my ticket…I expect a good crowd, large and very noisy.

Alex

March 22nd, 2010
8:24 pm

As a Bruins fan I have to say I’m impressed with the recent surge by the thrashers. However, their defense/goaltending has been no mystery to the bruins this year as boston is averaging 4.7 goals a game against atlanta while winning all 3 previous matchups (1 was in a shootout). I havent seen the thrashers play much recently so I’m just wondering how they have played defensively in the last few weeks. And no need to worry about the “shaky” play of thomas as Rask has assumed the #1 goalie role and leads the nhl in goals against average.

Get The Puck Out

March 22nd, 2010
8:26 pm

Thrashers better win cause if they don’t Sage i’ll be on ‘em in a New York minute.

Lord Stanley

March 22nd, 2010
8:45 pm

If I was a bruin fan(which I am not) I would not be worried about the goalie situation, but the fact that scoring goals has been a challenge since the loss of Savard

GO THRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alex

March 22nd, 2010
9:45 pm

Since Savard has been out the bruins are averaging 2.7 goals per game compared to 2.35 for the entire season.

Lord Stanley

March 22nd, 2010
9:57 pm

less games and there power play has been dismal as well

B. Thenet

March 22nd, 2010
9:58 pm

Keep it going!

Dwayne

March 22nd, 2010
10:53 pm

see yall there!!! section 109

Brendan

March 23rd, 2010
12:03 am

Has Boston announced whether it will be Tuukka Rask or Tim Thomas getting the start? Rask, I think, has played 36 games, while T. Thomas has played 40. Rask owns more wins, however, and that impressive 2.07 GAA. I suspect it will be Rask in net. I think Rask came over to Boston in the trade with Toronto for Andrew Raycroft, the former Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) winner in 2004.

Stendec, it might interest you to know that Tuukka Rask hails from Finland. Stendec, it might also interest you to know that, in 2005, Rask was drafted 21st overall, in the opening round. I mention it since … Atlanta also took a goalie in 2005, named Ondrej Pavelec. No, not at #8, #12, or #16 overall. Atlanta owned the #8 overall pick in 2005, but traded it to San Jose, to move back to #12. At #12, Atlanta, who sought a goalie, could have selected Tuukka Rask right there. Instead, the Thrashers traded with the NY Rangers to move back to #16, where … AGAIN … they COULD HAVE taken Tuukka Rask, who was still clearly on the board (pick #21, by Toronto). Atlanta picked up the #49 selecton from the NY Rangers, where the Thrashers picked Pavelec. At #16, Atlanta took forward Alex Bourret. Who??? Has Bourret played a regular season NHL game? Ya know what? I withdraw the question. Isn’t it kind of funny how the Rangers owned the #16 pick in 2005, and STILL, they GOT Bourret? They had to trade for him. It only cost them a 3rd round pick and Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis scored Pittsburgh’s only goal of tonight’s game with Detroit, in a 3-1 loss.

Isles316

March 23rd, 2010
2:15 am

I think that this is your biggest game ever. I’m an Isles fan, and I’ll be pulling for you guys to make the playoffs. The good fans deserve it. I wrote something about it as well if you’re interested. http://hockeysureshot.blogspot.com/

Bobby G

March 23rd, 2010
7:28 am

I have so much anxiety about this game its unbelievable…its only 7:30 AM…..HUGE GAMES FROM HERE ON OUT!!! Lets remember that its a big game but IF they do lose its not the end of the season as my goal would be to catch the Injured Flyers or Struggling Senators….LETS GO THRASH!!!

kdh

March 23rd, 2010
7:36 am

8th seed could save anderson and dw’s job

kracker

March 23rd, 2010
7:44 am

Interesting, Brendan (and short lol)

Farel

March 23rd, 2010
8:13 am

I haven’t been this excited about this team since I moved here 6 years ago. The guys are playing hard and worked through a tough patch. We have some big guys that can hit. The future is looking good too with all of our quality young talent. Plus, the Atlanta Thrasher fans are fantastic :) !! Go Thrashers!!!

Bill

March 23rd, 2010
8:27 am

Would be nice to get an early goal tonight like some of the past few games. It’s obviously a huge game and I can see the sticks getting squeezed a little tight if they give up the first one. Hoping to see a good turnout tonight!

ChippersLoveChild

March 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

Let’s go Thrash!!!! Bring it on, Boston!!! So excited for this one!

Frustrated, Inc.

March 23rd, 2010
10:44 am

Wait a minute I have seen this one before. Lemme guess…here is how it will go tonight:

The thrash will come out flat and will be down 3-0 after the first period. They will then expend all of their energy tying the it up at 3-3 in the third period with 5 minutes left. They will then have a sloppy penalty and give up a PP. Down 4-3, they will pull the goalie and give up an open netter in the waning seconds to lose 5-3.

Such is life with this listless, rudderless, apathetic franchise….turn out the lights on another playoff-less season.

HUH

March 23rd, 2010
11:00 am

Chris.
you stated that this is the biggest game since 2007 and then your paper publishes a one paragraph article on the game in the bottom corner of the paper. What a joke….

kracker

March 23rd, 2010
11:49 am

Don’t feed that troll, please.

And if the next guy had bothered to turn the page he would have found quite a nice rundown on the Eastern Conference playoff race situation and a Thrash/Brunes game preview.

I do very much agree that tonight’s game should have had something large about it above the fold, where we had a Hawks loss, Georgia tailbacks and a huge Braves headline.

4th Place SEC East Dawg

March 23rd, 2010
11:49 am

I’m gonna go waaaaay out on a limb here and predict that The Thrashers will lose……

brett

March 23rd, 2010
12:07 pm

Big game tonight! My fear is the Thrashers can’t win the big games. I hope that trend is changed tonight! Lets go Thrashers!!!!

jimslater

March 23rd, 2010
12:26 pm

You dweeb Andrew. Apology not accepted. You are not my friend.

DawginOH

March 23rd, 2010
12:41 pm

I’m so happy to see so much optimism from the fans. Let’s use that tonight to cheer the Thrashers on to victory! To heck with the #8 spot. Let’s catch Philly!

Brendan

March 23rd, 2010
12:51 pm

kracker, I just want Stendec to rail against Tuukka Rask. I’m hoping for some gems like. “Rask, you’re bigger sieve that Kari!” “Why don’t you hop a flight to Dallas and get drunk with Lehtonen.” “Rask, you couldn’t stop a BEACH BaLL.” Then slur his Finnish ancestry. Ya know, something like that.

For the record, I like people from Finland. :) I wish we had more Fins on the team. They’re good hockey players.

Gwinnett Fred

March 23rd, 2010
1:07 pm

Got some help last night with Ottawa over Montreal in regulation (hey, somebody had to win – just glad it was in regulation).

Also, with Carter done for the year in Philly, they are without their leading scorer now to go along with a 3rd string goalie!

Brendan

March 23rd, 2010
4:59 pm

Gwinnett Fred, true that. The Flyers are hurting, at the worst possible time.

barkinATL

March 23rd, 2010
9:32 pm

Well maybe the Thrash should get some sense of intensity though. Watching the offense tonite against boston was right up there with paint drying and women’s basketball. The Moose should sue for non-support, too, the score was no measure of his effort.

Guys shoot the puck….