E-Day…elimination day…the day that the Thrashers could be officially eliminated from any and all playoff possibilities…is now upon us. Given the 3-2 overtime loss in Washington last night, the Bruins now sit with 85 points in the Eastern Conference.
What that means is this…if the Thrashers lose in regulation tonight against the Devils, the most they could hope to gain is 85 with wins in the last two games. That would eliminate them from finishing any higher than eighth in the east. However, if such a loss was combined with the Flyers winning or even gaining a single point in Toronto…that would be enough to mathematically eliminate Atlanta.
Now, for those of you still clinging to sort of hope that this playoff thingy can still happen for the Thrashers…and really, why are you doing this to yourself?… Yes, there is are still scenarios that Atlanta could squeeze into that eighth spot. But they mostly involve Atlanta winning all three games this week…you know, against the Devils and Penguins and Caps…oh my!
And then there is the fact that the Rangers and Flyers square off for two games this coming weekend to end the season. Assuming they split the pair in regulation, New York would have at least 84 points and Philadelphia would have at least 86.
Realistically speaking, however…the fat lady has moved from back-stage, is fully warmed up and ready to bellow out the final song for the Thrashers playoff hopes.
That being said, there are still some interesting things to follow as this Thrashers season wind down. Specifically….I would like to see Maxim Afinogenov improve on his newly-established career high in goals. Last Saturday he notched number 24. Max has 61 points on the season, so that’s not a bad return on the $800,000 investment made last summer.
Then there is the leading scorer on the team, Nic Antropov. His 24 goals are just two shy of his career high set in 2007-08. The 67 total points are already a new best for him. Also, he is a +16 for the year. If he can nurse that over the course of the last three games, it’ll set a new mark for him…he was a +14 in his rookie season back in 1999-00.
Rich Peverley has long since set career highs in goals and assists this year. But his is only 5 points away from 60 for the season. That would be a great achievement for The Pevs Dispenser.
Nic Bergfors is only six away from 50 points for the season. He has 8 goals and 9 assists in 24 games since the Thrashers traded for him in February and he’s a +1 in those games as well. As a Devil, he had 13 goals and 14 assists in 54 games.
Jim Slater is but 3 points from 20…which is his career high set back in 2005-06. His 11 goals are already a career best.
As for between the pipes…I want to see Ondrej Pavelec start the next two games. I’ve long been an advocate of “riding the Moose” this season, but given the circumstances, I would rather let the next “future number one” get as much time in as he can.
However… I want Hedberg in net Saturday. Given his contract situation, this could very well be the last time we see him in a Thrashers jersey and it would be a very nice tribute to him, allowing the fans to show their appreciation for his years of quality service and professionalism to this organization.
For that matter…I hope Slava Kozlov is also on the ice that night.
On the other side of the ice…New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur will be seeking career win number 600 tonight.