When the Thrashers knocked off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in overtime Tuesday night, they matched their all-time winning streak record of six games. Tonight in Pittsburgh, they’ll look to do what no other Thrashers team has done before…go seven consecutive matches in which they earned 2 points in the standings.
While most of the wins in the past week and a half have come by decent margins…three or four goals…they almost saw things come to an end in Denver. As the game progressed, the Avs took over play and led 2-1 late in the third. But another big…huge…monstrous goal by the Dustin Byfuglien got it to overtime where Anthony Stewart provided the game-winner.
Coach Ramsay was pleased to see his team continue their winning ways, he also noted they simply didn’t play as well as they had recently. “As great as this is, and it’s really fun”, the coach commented after the game “We have to understand how we did it and stay away from those lulls”.
Now, the last time Atlanta strung together six consecutive wins was back in March of 2009. That streak started with a 2-0 shutout of Montreal, continued with a 5-2 win against Calgary, then Colorado 3-0, Edmonton 4-3 in overtime, Buffalo 3-2 in a shootout before knocking off Washington 5-1. They failed to push it to lucky seven when they dropped a 6-2 decision in…why, look at this… Pittsburgh.
Penguins…why did it have to be Penguins again?
Regardless, that’s the team that once again stands between the Thrashers and a new franchise record of seven straight victories. And as it turns out, the Penguins themselves are on a bit of a tear themselves as they will come into the game having won the same number in a row the Thrashers seek, seven.
If…if…IF…Atlanta is successful this time, it’ll mean they earned seven straight victories against some of the best team the NHL had to offer…oh, and the New York Islanders, too. Already kicked to the curb during this six-pack of hockey delight for Thrasherville have been division-leading Capitals, Red Wings, Canadiens along with the likes of Boston and Colorado, who also have winning records. And now…if things turn out as we hope … the Penguins.
That my friends is what I’d call getting seven the hard way.
Expect to see Ondrej Pavelec in goal tonight, (duh5). Seriously, I’m running out of words to express just how impressed I’ve been with Opie since returning to the lineup. Incredible, fantastic, awesome, magnificent, magical, solid, consistent, extraspecialsuperspendiforous …yes, all these and more apply.
Overall Pavelec is now 7-4-2 with a 1.65 GAA, .948 SV% and 2 shutouts. But going back to last November 19 when he came on in relief of Chris Mason in Washington, he’s stopped 230 of the 238 shots taken against him…a .966 SV% during about seven and two-thirds games.
Other players of note include, but are not limited to…
Byfuglien, who has 5 goals and 6 assists during the streak and is a +7 during that time as well. The Buffinator has notched at least a point in nine of the last twelve games, 13 of the last 17 and 17 of the last 22 Thrashers games played. For the season he has 10 goals and 27 overall points. Both lead the team atop the stats sheet.
Captain Andrew Ladd, it should be pointed out, is undefeated in that role with the Thrashers as the current win streak began the day after he was given the “C” to wear on his chest. He finished the month of November with 4 goals and 9 assists.
Evander Kane has used his +4 rating over the past six games to improve his numbers in that column. He has also knocked in a pair of goals and pair of helpers since the 5-0 win over Washington.
Toby Enstrom has one assist in the past five games, as well as a goal. He now leads the team with 18 helpers and is a +8 since November 11.
Rich Peverley has also been productive during the streak. He has 3 goals scored in the last three games and is a +3 since the 5-4 loss in Washington.
Rookie phenom Alex Burmistrov continues to impress. His +4 rating during the current win streak points to his great work back checking. That coach Ramsay is comfortable using the kid on the PK is also a testament to his hustle and hard work. He has 3 goals and 13 points on season to go with is overall +5.
And not to be overlooked here is Bryan Little’s +5 rating during the current stretch of success.
I could go on and on…talk about the great penalty killing unit, the overall team concept on both ends of the ice, the solid effort from each player each shift. But what would that leave you with to bring to the table of discussion as we prepare to watch the Thrashers roll for lucky number seven Thursday night?