The Thrashers scored one goal last night in Calgary, losing 2-1 to the Flames. Monday night they were able to slip all of two into the net in Toronto…after they found themselves down 5-zip after two periods, that is. In three of the past four games they’ve scored only once and have a total of five goals during regulation in those four matches.
Dating back to the 2-0 win in Detroit, Atlanta has not been able to score more than twice in six of the last eight games…the exceptions being the 4-3 win against Florida and the 6-4 victory in Carolina, thanks to a 5 goal outburst in the third period.
That comes to a grand total of 18 goals in eight games plus five minutes of overtime…which is a goals per game average of just under two and a quarter, not counting the “pseudo-goal” awarded for winning the individual skills competition down in Florida last Saturday. This is in stark contrast to the offense that was pumping in goals at the rate of close to three and a half per game over the course of the first 20 games of the season.
So, where have all the goals gone all of a sudden?
Some have wondered if Ilya Kovalchuk’s right foot is still bothering him a bit…even though he has been in on 1/3 of the 18 goals scored since the shutout in Detroit, (3 goals and 3 assists). Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t…but he certainly has looked a tad off his game recently.
Maxim Afinogenov? Well, he’s not dropping the biscuit in the basket at the torrid rate he was a few weeks back, but he does have 2 goals and 4 assists in the past eight games…again, like Kovy, that’s a third of the offensive output.
Rich Peverley has been held scoreless since the comeback-style win in Carolina and last night he picked up his first assist since the 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh back on November 21. Since that night, he has but 2 goals and 4 overall points in the past eleven games.
Evander Kane did not play in Cal-GARY due to illness, but during this eight-game power outage, he has netted but one goal in seven games played with no assists.
After scoring one of the two Thrashers goals in Motown, Nik Antropov has been held off the scoresheet in six of the last seven games.
Todd White has been…well, he’s been Todd White. 3 assists in eight games and hasn’t tickled the twine since…flipping through stat sheets and notes…since…ah here it is…since October the 29th. That’s a drought lasting 19 games and counting.
We could continue down this list of forwards…but let’s turn our attention to the back lines. Thrashers defensemen were chipping in with goals-a-plenty for the first month and a half of the season, but only have accounted for one of the 18 goals scored during the eight games since Thanksgiving Eve… thank you Mark Popovic.
Going back to the 3-2 win against Edmonton on November 15, the Thrashers benifited from a goal from defenseman Zach Bogosian that Sunday afternoon. But since then they have only two from the blueline in the past 11 games… Toby Enstrom’s in a 4-3 overtime loss to Tampa Bay and Pop’s goal during the win against Florida on November 30th. This is after getting 18 goals from the defensive unit in the first 17 games of the season.
So maybe if we are looking to see where all the goals have gone of late…we need look no further than the blueline.
Is this to say that the defense is solely to blame for the recent lack of offensive prowess? Nope…not at all. But in a John Anderson style of play where defenders are called upon to step up into the attack, when the offensive production stops coming from that area…it does tends to stick out.