Not to dampen the enthusiasm that comes with the Thrashers returning home after a fairly successful road trip, but there is this little bug-a-boo regarding the amount of goals being allowed by the team. Despite the 2-1-1 record, the opposition still managed to score 16 goals in the four games. Last Sunday in Anaheim, the Thrasher allowed 4 goals on 35 shots. The next night in L.A. it was a whopping six goals on 45 shots. Thursday in Phoenix saw 3 goals scored by the Coyotes on 33 shots and Saturday in San Jose the Sharks were able to get 3 of their 31 shots into the net.
The games in Los Angeles and Phoenix went to shootouts, but that still is an average of 4 goals and 36 shots during the four-game roadie. Kari Lehtonen was in goal for all but the game against the L.A. Kings.
The Thrasher’s season GA/A is 3.50 going into Tuesday night’s game against Colorado, a stat that is better only than Toronto’s 3.53. Atlanta is allowing 32.9 shots on goal per night…28th in the league and their penalty kill “efficiency” is only 74.7…only Toronto’s 74.0 is worse.
In the past eight games, Atlanta has held the opposition to fewer than 3 goals only once… the 3-1 in Tampa.
Now, when the O-fense clicks and can net 4-6 goals, it’s easy to sweep the issue aside…be happy with the win and move along, right? Uh, not really… if it’s gonna take that many goals to win on a regular basis, you’re in a heap-o-trouble, (DUH5).
Coaching Carrousel Goes Round And Round
Tom Renney became the sixth NHL head coach to be given the boot this season. Monday the New York Rangers handed him his pink slip and replaced him with former Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella. Before being employed in Tampa, Tortorella was an assistant coach with…well, the Rangers. In fact, Torts went 10-4 as interim head coach for the Rangers during the end of the 1999-’00 season after the firing of John Muckler.
Also relived of his duties was assistant coach Perry Pearn.
New York is currently 31-23-7 and their 69 points place them in third place in the Atlantic Division, 10 points behind first place New Jersey, and sixth place in the Eastern Conference. However, they are also only 2 points away from falling out of a playoff birth and have been sliding of late…winning only twice in the past ten games.
69 points in late February and fighting for a playoff spot? Oh, if only the Thrashers had it so bad.
In an odd twist of fate, Tortorella will coach more games in the NHL this season than will Barry Melrose…the man who replaced him in Tampa to begin the season. The Rangers have 21 games left in the season while The Mullet lasted only 16 games behind the Lightning bench.
European Vacation Jinx?
With the firing of Tom Renney, all four head coaches that began this NHL campaign with their teams playing in Europe have failed to make it through the season. As mentioned above, Melrose was shown the door in Tampa on November 14…Craig Hartsburg was let go in Ottawa on February 1 after a 17-24-7 start…Michel Therrien was given the ax on February 15 after guiding the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup Finals just last spring…and now Renney’s release rounds out the four.