The Thrashers recovered very well from Friday night’s 6-3 loss to the Red Wings by heading south and scoring a 4-3 shootout win in Tampa. The victory ensures that Atlanta will have it’s second winning month of the season seeing that they are now 7-3-0 in March with only three games remaining. Last month they were 6-5-1.
Atlanta got a nice jump out the gates against the Bolts, taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission after outshooting Tampa 19-7 in the first. Slava Kozlov and Todd White each scored in that opening frame while Ilya Kovalchuk powered home a shot in the second after Tampa had tied it on a pair from Steven Stamkos. White’s and Kovy’s goals were while the Thrashers were on the power play.
Kozlov then scored the only goal in the shootout. He’s taken seven shootout attempts this season, missing only one…up in Buffalo last weekend.
Kozzy assisted on White’s goal, giving him 40 power play points on the season and that is tops in the NHL for that stat…one more than Alex the Great. Kozlov has 11 goals and 29 assist while on the man advantage. Very nice, indeed.
Todd White’s goal and assist extended his career high points streak, now sitting at nine consecutive games. During that time Whitey has four goals and nine assists. For the season he’s accounted for a total of 19 goals and 65 points. Kozlov is riding an eight game point streak himself.
“We’re trying to build something here,” White said after the game. “We’re trying to get as many wins as we can coming down the stretch, play as well as we can and build some confidence for next year.”
Johan Hedberg got the win by turning away 26 of the 29 shots he faced. The last three games Moose has won needed extra time to achieve. Last month in L.A. he was in the goal for a 7-6 shootout win, ten days ago he won a 4-3 game in Edmonton and then last night’s shootout win in Tampa.
And now…some more stuff for you…
Thrashers Continuing On A Very Impressive Run Of Games
Looking back over the past couple of week, Atlanta is 7-2-0 over it’s past nine game. The six-game win streak helps that record out quite a bit, of course. But consider that the only two losses came against the teams that were paired up in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals…by a combined score of 12-5, mind you, but this is still a very strong run the team is currently on.
Over the course of the last sixteen games… starting when the Thrashers traveled to Anaheim five weeks ago… Atlanta has played to a record of 11-4-1. The four losses coming against Detroit, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Florida. In the spirit of the “March Madness” that is upon us…that is a very Sweet Sixteen stretch of games.
Given all that, if the Thrashers can manage just a 5-4-0 record over the last nine games of the season they’ll match last year’s point total of 76 points. As I’ve stated before…that’s normally not a number to brag about…but given the fact that Atlanta was on a pace for 62 points at the halfway point of the season, that’s would be a mighty impressive achievement.
Starting with the 4-0 shutout of the Devils up in New Jersey, Atlanta is 17-14-1 since. That’s a points winning percentage of .547. Played out over 82 games that would equate to about 90 points…which could possibly land a team in the playoffs. It certainly would put ‘em in the chase.
If nothing else, this team has shown over the better part of the past three months that it can indeed play winning hockey. I’m already starting to look forward to next season!
Time To Crank Up The Spoiler Machine
Four of the next five games the Thrashers will play are against teams fighting tooth and nail for playoff positions. Tuesday in Montreal the Thrashers face a Canadiens team that is struggling. Their 3-5-2 record over the past ten games have them clinging to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 81 points. Thursday Atlanta will see a hot Rangers squad enter Blueland. New York currently possesses the seventh spot in the east after riding a 7-3-0 hot streak.
After Saturday’s visit by Ottawa…currently ahead of the Thrashers by six points…a team that is sliding out of the race quickly will come to town, Buffalo. At this time Buffalo is five points behind Montreal for that last playoff spot and the Thrashers will be looking to play a nasty trick on them on April Fools Day. Then, on the third, Atlanta will travel to Sunrise, Florida during the second-to-last weekend of the season. Currently, the Panthers are but one point off the post-season pace.
This past weekend the Thrashers played the last of 15 sets of games played on consecutive night. The win in Tampa allowed Atlanta to finish with a break-even record in these back-to-backers…winning 14 of the games, losing 14 to go with a 2 overtime losses.
Atlanta swept a pair of these set…at the beginning of November they won against the Islanders then traveled to Buffalo were they were successful in overtime. Then, just last month, the Thrashers beat the Ducks out in Anaheim on a Sunday evening before traveling to Los Angeles to win in a shootout against the Kings.
Only twice did the Thrashers lose both games in regulation… and both times the Boston Bruins were involved. Back in October Atlanta dropped a game in Detroit then did the same in Boston the next night. In December, the Bruins prevailed a set of back-to-backers.
In the tail-end games of the B2B games, Atlanta was 6-8-1.
Useless Stat Of The Day
Against the eight teams that are located out west…in the Mountain and Pacific time zones…the Thrashers played to a 8-1-1 record. Atlanta beat Colorado twice as well as Edmonton, Calgary, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Vancouver once each. They lost to San Jose in regulation and Phoenix in a shootout.
Against these teams, the Threshers were a perfect 3-0-0 at home and 5-1-1 on the road.
Eh…do with that tid-bit of information what you will.
Not Too Early To Think About Playoffs
Well, not for the Thrashers…not this year at least. But Darren Eliot has already begun to look past the 82 game regular season to speculate about who just might be this spring what Johan Franzen was during the post-season last year.
Lost And Found
Ever wonder what happened to Patrik Stefan, the top pick in the 1999 draft and first ever player drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers? Well, as Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reports, he’s getting the second phase of his life underway as a player agent in Laguna Beach, California.