With apologies to Ross Perot…that giant sucking sound you’re hearing is the noise being made by the Thrashers playoff chances flying out the window in rapid fashion. In the last three games, Atlanta has failed to secure nary a point and have been outscored 12-3 doing so. This after scrapping their way back into the playoff picture just prior to and after the Olympic break.
Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predator’s was the latest defeat in the Thrashers March from the Playoffs. And while the team’s play did not register near the level on the Suck-O-Meter as the last two games, it eared just as little in the standings and the weekend’s losses did.
Johan Hedberg got the start and stopped 30 of the 32 faced. He was beaten on a Ryan Suter power play goal…Colby Armstrong taking the skate of shame afterwards due to his interference infraction…and when Colin Wilson was left all alone with Hedberg thanks to Mark Popovic’s e-GREEEE-gious turnover inside the blueline.
To Pop’s credit, he made a great sprawling play in the third that denied the Preds of a scoring chance…keeping the game within reach at the time.
Both Nashville scores came in the first period in which the funk that has engulfed the Thrashers over the past few games carried over into Tuesday night’s matchup.
However, Nik Antropov’s tip-in from Johnny Oduya just 29 ticks into the second seemed to ignite the team’s play and they performed well throughout the final 40 minutes…out-shooting the Predators 24-20 in periods two and three.
It appeared as though the Thrashers had tied the game at two-all later in the second period, but it was ruled that Chris Thorburn interfered with Preds goalie Dan Ellis’ ability to play the puck. Ellis played a very strong game in goal for Nashville, stopping 30 of 31 for his fourteenth win of the season.
While the Thrashers were losing to Nashville, Boston was in the process of netting one point in their overtime loss to Toronto and Montreal was busy snatching two from Tampa Bay. The seventh place Habs now have 72 points while the eighth place Bruins have 70…Atlanta is still getting it’s kicks on route 66.
The Lightning remain one point behind the 10th-place Thrashers. With Florida’s shootout win in Minnesota, the Panthers are now just 2 points in back of Atlanta.
In between Atlanta and the two teams sitting pretty in the final two playoff spots are the New York Rangers who have 67 points. They’ll play in New Jersey Wednesday night before heading this way on Friday evening. The Thrashers, of course, have a date in Columbus with the Blue Jackets Thursday night.
Atlanta has twelve home games during this final full month of the season…but so far they are 2-2-0 in the first four. That’s not exactlt taking advantage of the home cooking when ya need to.
Better showing tonight than against the Canes and Bolts? Yeah…sure it was. But, like I said earlier, the zero points earned in the standings is the same as those loses. And points are precious for the Thrashers right now as the season ain’t getting any younger. If you’re one that believes 90 must be earned to have a chance at post-season play, that means Atlanta would have to go 12-5 the rest of the way to reach that mark.
My official term used for the odds of that happening…especially given the five opponents they’ll have to play in April…notgonnahappennowayinhell.
Ladies and gentlemen…the playoffs have just left the building!