OK…so in my previous post I engaged in a little math exercise to show how difficult it would be for the Atlanta Thrashers to overtake the New York Rangers as well as Boston Bruins and make the playoffs. The numbers, as of yesterday, did not look very good at all…and the schedule looked equally as rough.
Nope…didn’t look good at all.
Then the Thrashers go out and smack the Ottawa Senators 6-3. To make matters even that much better, New York then gets beat by St. Louis 4-3 and Boston gets blanked by the Pens 3-0. With that the simple math calculates to…3 points out of the playoffs with 12 games left.
Oh…and the Bruins are in town Tuesday.
In between now and then, however, is a pair of games against the Philadelphia Flyers… Saturday here, Sunday there. Were the Thrashers to actually sweep the two…don’t laugh, we are 2-0-0 this season against them…then Tuesday matchup could be for that 8th spot in the east.
Boston plays the Rangers Sunday afternoon…so that’ll be an interesting matchup to watch as well.
The Thrashers still have a bit of an uphill climb here…but by putting a solid effort together against a playoff-bound team, combined with a couple other outcomes that went their way, they at least have put themselves in a better position.
As for the game itself…like I said above, it was one of those rare games this season that the Thrashers played what could be called a complete game. Not a perfect game, mind you…but a good solid effort from start to finish.
They got on the board early when Evgeny Artyukhin took advantage of a misplayed puck at the blueline by Andy Sutton…remember him?…and slipped the biscuit past Brian Elliott at the 2:35 mark of the first period. They advanced that margin to 2-0 early on in the second when Jim Slater deflected home a pass from the left side by someone in the #12 jersey.
I say “the #12 jersey” because…well…I don’t really know who that was, but I wish I knew what he did with Todd White. This guy was playing some pretty darned good hockey Tuesday night. In the first, he caused my oldest tax exemption to exclaim, “Hey, is that Todd White fighting for the puck in the corner? Who does he think he is?”
For the night, “Todd White”…or whoever he was…finished with 2 assists and +3 rating.
Nik Antropov tipped home a pair of goals… both while Atlanta enjoyed a man advantage. In the second period he deflected in a Pavel Kubina shot…Kubina was originally credited with the goal but the score sheet I’m looking shows him with it. He later gave the Thrashers a 4-3 in the third when he did the same off a Toby Enstrom shot from the point.
Yes, that was a Toby Enstrom shot while on the power play…in the same game Todd White played very well and was a +3 with 2 helpers. There are some strange things happening in Thrasherville.
The assists was also Toby’s 100th in his NHL career.
Colby Armstrong then salted the game away with a pair of goals to put the score at 6-3. The first came about a minute and a half after Antropov gave them the lead…taking possession of the puck just inside the Senators blueline when Chris Phillips bobbled the puck. Later Army lit the lamp again with assists going to Slater and White.
Regarding the Thrashers playoff chances, Armstrong said, “We’re chipping away at it…hopefully it will be for the best”.
Johan Hedberg faced 39 shot on his goal…and one to his jaw when Jarkko Ruutu knocked him over in the crease chasing the loose puck. The play resulted in one peeved Moose as the goalie had to be held back from trying to…ahem…discuss the matter with referee Stephane Auger.
“He couldn’t get back to the net and was elbowed in the face”, coach John Anderson quipped after the game. “Other than that, the ref said it was a good hockey goal”.
As the play happened, I couldn’t help but remember a goal that was disallowed last week that would have tied the game against Nashville. The refs waived it off because it was ruled Armstrong …no, it was Thorburn…interfered with the keeper, not allowing him to play the puck. But that play was nowhere near as egregious as this one.
With the win, Hedberg moved his season record to 18-13-52.69 GAA and .914 SV%.
I ask you, where would we be without the Moose right now? I’ll tell you where we wouldn’t be…we wouldn’t be just 3 points away from the playoffs with 12 games left to play, that’s for sure.
Who’s That Lady?
The lovely lady that was seen on the big screen in Philips Arena during the Two-Minute Drill contest was none other than Mrs. RStroz. Unfortunately, she did not win as the Thrashers were killing off a penalty for most of those two minutes…thank you Mark Popovic.
Oh…and RStroz was next to her.