Archive for March, 2011

Thrashers likely to alternate goaltenders rest of season

PHILADELPHIA – The Thrashers will likely rotate goaltenders for the final games of the season, according to coach Craig Ramsay.

Chris Mason started in goal Thursday against Philadelphia. That would mean Ondrej Pavelec could start Saturday in Boston and Mason would return to face his former team in Nashville next week.

“Right now it would be nice if we just alternated,” Ramsay said Thursday. “I want to give everybody a chance to play. I think that is really important right now that everybody feels part of it and we continue to build that team atmosphere.”

Message received

Earlier this week, Ramsay said he wanted to send a message to his entire team by starting the veteran Mason three straight games. He wanted to reward a season of hard work and show that such an attribute is a necessity.

Ramsay said he has seen signs that message was received.

“I thought we’ve had some fire on the bench,” Ramsay said. “We had guys yelling at each other on the bench, coming off …

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What if Thrashers hadn’t allowed so many quick back-to-back goals?

PHILADELPHIA – If the Thrashers fail to make the postseason, which is likely with just six games remaining, it won’t be for a single reason. There are several things that have gone wrong this season.

However, one major issue has been the propensity to allow back-to-back goals less than two minutes apart. It has happened at an alarming rate – 24 times in 19 games. The stat reared its ugly head again in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Montreal. The Canadiens scored 11 seconds apart in the first period, the eighth time the consecutive goals have come in 39 seconds or less.

The Thrashers are 4-13-2 in those 19 games, nearly one-quarter of the season. Ten of the games came during the 30-game stretch when the Thrashers went 7-17-6 from Dec. 21 to March 3.

A case could be made that the back-to-back goal issue cost the Thrashers a playoff spot. They enter Thursday’s game against Philadelphia with 76 points, nine points behind Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff spot. Buffalo played …

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Thrashers-Flyers preview

Next for Thrashers

Who: at Flyers

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

TV; radio: SPSO; 680 AM, 93.7 FM

* The Thrashers are coming off Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Canadiens. They have beaten the Flyers, the top team in the Eastern Conference, twice in three games this season. The past two games were won in extra time.

* The Flyers, who have clinched a playoff spot, are coming of Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Penguins

* The Thrashers power play is 1-for-21 over the past seven games, including an 0-for-10 streak in the past three.

* The Thrashers lead the NHL in empty net goals allowed with 14 and are 27th in the league with a minus-38 goal differential.

* Nik Antropov’s 14th goal of the season, scored at the Canadiens, ties him for fifth on the team.

* Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros is tied for third in the NHL with a plus-30 rating.

- Chris Vivlamore

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Maxwell goes against former team

MONTREAL – Ben Maxwell will give the Canadiens a chance to see what they gave up first hand Tuesday.

The 22-year-old forward will play his fourth straight, and sixth overall, game with the Thrashers since being acquired in a trade with Montreal on Feb. 24. The deal sent defenseman Brent Sopel to the Canadiens.

“I guess I have a little something to prove,” Maxwell said. “I’d never been traded before so it was a shocker to me and I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I’m in the lineup it’s going to be fun to play against the old team and try to get a [win].”

Maxwell played in 20 games over two seasons with the Canadiens, including 13 last year, without a point. His first NHL points came in Sunday’s win over the Senators when he had a goal and an assist. The Montreal media pointed out to Maxwell that his point total in that game was twice as many as the entire Canadiens team over the past three games, all shutout losses.

“One game doesn’t make a …

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Video: Thrashers hope to finish strong

CineSport’s Noah Coslov asks the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore what the Thrashers will try to accomplish in their last few games, and which questions await in the offseason.

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Slater, others done for season

A couple of notes from Monday’s practice before flying to Montreal for Tuesday’s game against the Canadiens.

It looks like Jim Slater, Freddy Meyer and Patrice Cormier won’t play again this season. With only seven games remaining, Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said he doubted they would be able to return from various injuries.

“I don’t expect that,  even if they were suddenly cleared, they could mount any kind of comeback,” Ramsay said. “I wouldn’t think so. It just wouldn’t make any sense.”

Slater has missed 38 games with a concussion. Meyer has missed 21 games with an upper body injury. Cormier has missed 16 games with an upper body injury.

Message sent

I asked Ramsay if by starting Chris Mason in goal the past three games he was trying to send a message to Ondrej Pavelec. The coach said the message was not just for Pavelec but for the entire team.

“Everything we do at this time of year has a purpose,” Ramsay said. “It doesn’t matter what …

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Ramsay looking at players with eye toward next season

Before Sunday’s game with the Senators, Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay was asked if he will use the remaining games to evaluate players for next season.

“You try to focus on each individual game but there is no question in your mind that players have to show you something,” Ramsay said. “They have to show you their commitment to the team. They have to show you their commitment to battle and go in and do the things they are supposed to do. It isn’t about doing these things individually, it’s about doing them as part of the group.”

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Thrashers-Canadiens preview

Next for Thrashers

Who: at Canadiens

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

TV; radio: FSSO; 680 AM, 93.7 FM

* The Thrashers play the next five games on the road, all against team currently in playoff position. They are coming off Sunday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Senators

* The Canadiens have lost three straight games, including Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Capitals, and five of their past seven.

* The Thrashers power play is 1-for-19 over the past six games.

* Andrew Ladd leads the Thrashers in points (55) and goals (27). He leads all forwards in assists (28).

* Former Thrashers defenseman Brent Sopel has appeared in seven games with the Canadiens since the February trade. He is averaging nearly 16 minutes a game and does not have a point.

- Chris Vivlamore

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Thrashers-Senators preview

Next for Thrashers

Who: vs. Senators

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

TV; radio: SPSO; 680 AM, 93.7 FM

* The Thrashers are coming off Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Canucks. The Senators defeated the Capitals 2-0 Friday, their seventh win in the past 10 games.

* The Thrashers play their next five games on the road before ending the regular season with two home games.

* The Senators, who have the fewest points in the Eastern Conference, won two of the previous three meetings between the teams this season.

* Bryan Little has two goals in his past four games for the Thrashers.

* Patrice Cormier (upper body), Freddy Meyer (upper body) and Jim Slater (concussion) are out for the Thrashers.

- Chris Vivlamore

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Thrashers-Canucks preview

Next for Thrashers

Who: vs. Canucks

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

TV; radio: FSSO; 680 AM, 93.7 FM

* Friday’s game will be the second of road-home back-to-back games for the Thrashers, who were at the Islanders Thursday.

* The Canucks, with the top record in the NHL, defeated Detroit 2-1 on Wednesday and spent Thursday in Atlanta.

* The Canucks featured the top two scorers in the NHL in the Sedin Brothers. Daniel leads with the league with 95 points (40 goals, 55 assists) and Henrik is second with 88 points (18 goals, 70 assists).

* The Thrashers have the second-highest scoring defense in the NHL with 157 points (42 goals, 115 assists) heading into Thursday’s game.

* Patrice Cormier (upper body), Freddy Meyer (upper body) and Jim Slater (concussion) are out for the Thrashers.

- Chris Vivlamore

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