Thrashers return back to action with back-to-back weekend set against Avs and Isles

I don’t know about you…but this week has just seemed to drag along slower than, well…slower than Christmas. I guess it’s the combination of the Thrashers playing so well lately, the fact that their last outing was a very exciting 3-2 overtime win against a solid Nashville squad and that they haven’t played since last Monday.

But yes Thrasherville, finally it’s FRIDAY!

With the weekend comes a pair of games for us to enjoy…the first tonight as the Colorado Avalanche pay us a visit. Then tomorrow night they’ll wing their way up to Lonnnnn-Gisland for a matchup against New York. It will be the first of four back-to-back sets for the Thrashers before we say good-bye to old man 2010 in three weeks.

The Avs come to town on a four-game losing streak, although only one has been in regulation. In the past seven games they are 1-3-3, which includes the 3-2 overtime loss to Atlanta last November 30.

“The mindset right now is just [gaining] two points”, Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson said of his team’s recent struggles. “For me right now, it’s also that I just stay in the lineup. I can’t have anymore letdowns for me or that team.”

Ondrej Pavelec has been outstanding in the Thrashers goal of late. He's now 9-5-2 with an outstanding 1.71 GAA and .947 SV% with 2 shutouts (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Ondrej Pavelec has been outstanding in the Thrashers goal of late. He's now 9-5-2 with an outstanding 1.71 GAA and .947 SV% with 2 shutouts (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Anderson is 4-4-2 with a .908 SV% and a 2.90 GAA. In is career against the Thrashers, he’s 3-1-1 with a2.56 GAA and .924 SV%.

The Islanders are…well…the Islanders.

They are 5-15-5 overall, 1-15-3 in their last 19 games played and their 15 points are the fewest of any team in the league. The Islanders have no player with more than 15 overall points and they have but one player on the positive side of the +/- rating…defenseman Travis Hamonic who is a +1 and has play in only 6 games.

Their 55 total goals scored are second lowest behind only the…shall we say… offensively-challenged New Jersey Devils, who have just 50 goals to their credit. In fact, speaking of the Devils, the last game the Islanders won was the day after Thanksgiving when they blanked them 2-0 behind Rick DiPietro’s 29 saves.

Yeah…the Isles are fighting it.

“I know it’s mentally tough for those guys, but they’ve got to find it within themselves in that room”, interim coach Jack Capuano recently said of his Islanders team. “They’ve got to have a little attitude and swagger to their game. You can look at the standings, but we’ve got to have some attitude, play with an edge and have the confidence and belief that we can win some hockey games”.

The Thrashers…well, they are a different story, my friends. This team is hotter than a Victoria’s Secret runway show. They have won eight of their last nine and sport the NHL’s second-best power play unit, successful 24.8% of the time. Vancouver is 25.0%.

Atlanta has been dropping in goals at a rate of 3.11 per game, which is currently seventh best…just .02 behind Washington and Pittsburgh…thanks in large part to their ability to get pucks and bodies to the net consistently. Going into this weekend’s action, they are getting off 31.1 shots on goal per game. Oh, and their goals against average is a respectable 2.79.

Given that the entire squad seems have embraced this new total team concept to attacking and defending, it’s tough to single out one or two players that seem to be making the greatest impact on their recent success. It seems that every night it’s a different play making the difference in a Thrashers win.

The Thrashers have bought into coach Ramsay's attack first style of play. That plus their team oriented mindset has led them to 8 wins in the last 9 games (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The Thrashers have bought into coach Ramsay's attack first style of play. That plus their team oriented mindset has led them to 8 wins in the last 9 games (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

However, Ondrej Pavelec’s play in goal has to place right on top of that list. He is now 9-5-2 with an outstanding 1.71 GAA and .947 SV%. He also has a pair of shutouts to show for his efforts as well.

We’ll see Chris Mason again tomorrow night on the Island. Given the fact that it’s a back-to-back set…and he hasn’t played since getting the hook in D.C. way back on November 14…he’ll be skated out between the pipes for that game.

Mason is 6-5-1 with a 3.90 GAA and .897 SV%. But while he’s been with what Opie has done lately, just as we all have been, he’s ready to get back in there and do his part to help this team continue their winning ways.

“Its been fun watching”, Mason told the AJC’s Ken Sugiura earlier this week. “But I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into the nets”.

The Thrashers leader in overall points is Dustin Byfuglien, who has 29. His 10 goals are tied for the top spot with Captain Ladd and his 19 assists are equal to Toby Enstrom. The Buffinator has 4 power play goals, which tie him for the team lead in that stat with Ladd, Anthony Stewart, Nik Antropov and Rich Peverley.

Buff also leads in game-winners for the Thrashers. He has five of those so far…no one else has more than one. Two of those have come in overtime, one against Buffalo and the other to dispose of the Islanders last month.

Your +/- leaders on the Thrashers team are Ben Eager and Eric Boulton…both +6.

See ya tonight at Philips Arena gang. Oh, and if you’re part of the crowd joining us in section 204…be prepared to have some fun. If you think it’s too late to get in on the $30 ticket and a Thrashers tee-shirt deal, you’re wrong. You can still call Karin at 404-878-3781 to get hooked up.

It’s sure to be a blast…definitely worth the wait for Friday.

131 comments Add your comment

AtlFlamesFan

December 10th, 2010
10:48 am

First (First First for me)

Jason

December 10th, 2010
10:48 am

GaVaHokie

December 10th, 2010
10:49 am

You think this week has been long… look at all the blank space on the January and February Game Calendar.

Jason

December 10th, 2010
10:50 am

Ah crap, can’t win them all.

Been ready for tonight since Monday night, which must have been about a month ago! Already gave a pair of tickets to some hockey newbies to come out and watch, and I’ve got a couple more newbies coming in January.

Let’s Melt the Avalanche! (or something else equally cheesy which still sounds better than A Brutally Good Time)

Telfo

December 10th, 2010
10:51 am

looks like it will be a respectable crowd tonight judging by ticketmaster. WIN

Rawhide

December 10th, 2010
10:57 am

AtlFlamesFan – Happy to have been your first “first”.

GaVaHokie - There’s an ugly 4 day gap between a Sunday and Friday game there. Those used to be a welcome sight when the team was playing less-than-stellar. Now….anything more than a day is for-freakin’-ever!

Jason – How about “Bury the Avalanche”…or “Can Colorado”…or “Lick the ‘Lanche”?

sigh

Yeah, I know. How about just, “Beat the pure-holy snot-fire outa [fill in name of opponent here]“?

Of course tomorrow night’s rally cry could simply be… “Just do whatever everyone else has been doing to the Islanders”?

Dandylions

December 10th, 2010
11:02 am

Woo-hoo Friday is here!

Red Light

December 10th, 2010
11:09 am

If there was ever an apt name for a passionate hockey fan/blogger, Tiller is it!

Another name for cultivator, Tiller, is doing all he can to prepare the ground, plant the seeds, and help oversee the growth of the new, passionate Thrashers fan. Not to mention those withering plants (R. Stroz, DWTOO, Joe Friday, etc.) that have been around for the past 11 years. LOL

You are to be commended sir for your efforts on the behalf all of hockey fans in Atlanta. Keep up the fine Tilling Bill.

Thrashers are 4-1-1 in their last 6 games vs the Avalanche, and host Colorado for just the 5th time since March ‘02. The Avalanche are 6-6-3 on the road this season.

RL

Michael B. Shapiro

December 10th, 2010
11:10 am

Bill
Nice to see that somebody has been writing during this GoG (Gap of Games). I know that Chris has been taking a much needed rest after his 3-a-day posts.
Oh, and as a native of that land, it’s LAWN GISLAND
Go Thrash! Will be there tonight to cheer them on. I’ll be wearing blue so look for me.

Joe Friday

December 10th, 2010
11:11 am

I like Fridays. That is all.

Rawhide

December 10th, 2010
11:17 am

Red Light – Thank you sir for thse kind word. Of course, I also had a teach once tell me I was aptly named “Tiller” because I was such a cut-up, (tiller…cutting up the soil. Get it?).

Anyway…much as I appreciate your kind words, please understand that I’m working with some very fine soil out there in which to plant the seeds. By that I mean people like yourself, those you mentioned and all the others who provide such great comments here. I’ve been told by many fans that these AJC blogs provide the best, most insightful and most entertaining hockey conversation in all of Thrasherville.

For that…you are all to be commended. And I thank you.

Michael B. Shapiro – Wearing blue, you say? You’re sure to stick out in that crowd then. :lol:

Oh, and C-Viv is back with a very nice video blog. Go check it out and have a lookie-see for yourself.

Joe Friday

December 10th, 2010
11:19 am

do the boys wear the blue tonight or the thirds?

Rawhide

December 10th, 2010
11:19 am

JF – Friday games = red third jerseys, I believe.

Zoomo

December 10th, 2010
11:27 am

A virtual tip of the cap to Bill in echo of Red Light’s post.

I’m looking forward to tonight and hanging with all of you blog denizens in 204!!

SomaAtl95

December 10th, 2010
11:28 am

Everyone remember how it seemed as if the thin air in Denver had an effect on our boys? Almost makes me think everyone going to the game tonight should have a varsity chilli dawg and make it tough for the Avs to breathe :P Most locals should be used to the after effects of the Varsity.
All kidding aside I am hopeful to see a sea of Thrasher Blue tonight! Go Thrashers!

moriler

December 10th, 2010
11:33 am

Notch the Squatch!

The most telling stat right now, IMO, is Boulton being the team leader at +6. He isn’t an offensive force nor does he play on a particularly offensive-strong line — so what THAT number means is that everyone, across the board, is playing solid D and ‘downhill’ to the opposing goal.

Zombie Steve

December 10th, 2010
11:57 am

will be rocking it in the Bulb tonight!!!

Dandylions

December 10th, 2010
12:03 pm

Boulton’s Christmas card is hilarious – might have to buy those tonight!

World Be Free

December 10th, 2010
12:17 pm

From a fans’ perspective, tonight may be one of the more important games in recent Thrasher history. The team is finally the buzz of the town again, all be it a smaller buzz than what a football or baseball team would create. But we can expect to see a bigger and better crowd here tonight, hopefully similar to the one that occupied the Bulb after the Kovy trade, when Bergfors scored the winner late against Miami. We need a good game and effort to keep things moving.

Both the Avs and Islanders are struggling, which makes a fast start and good effort imperative. I think Rammer knows that, he’ll have the peddle down early on the boys tonight. Professional hockey, as we know it may finally be back in Atlanta. I plan on having no voice tomorrow. Hotter than a Vickie’s Secret Runway-I like that one Mr. Rawhide, very good.

litz

December 10th, 2010
12:25 pm

Jeez … I really wish these people would just crawl in a hole somewhere …. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/sports/hockey/10islanders.html?_r=1

See y’all tonight (I’ll be up in 311) …

Rawhide

December 10th, 2010
12:43 pm

Jeez … I really wish these people would just crawl in a hole somewhere ….

litz- There are. They’re crawling into Nassau Coliseum.

3trees

December 10th, 2010
12:45 pm

Long time lurker here. Took advantage of the Section 204 discount/T offer. My son and I’ll be there! I don’t think there’s another sport that benefits as much from actually being there in person.

GoThrashers!

Rawhide

December 10th, 2010
12:55 pm

3trees – Great. Look forward to seeing you both there.

Monkey

December 10th, 2010
1:02 pm

WHITE CUPS!!!

(and a extra 30 mins to enjoy them)

Smoothie

December 10th, 2010
1:31 pm

Damn red jerseys on Friday!! Guess you could call it

“Friday Fright Night” at the Bulb!!

I hope Big Buff scares the puck into the net with his stick a couple more times to ignite the home crowd and convert some neophyte fans!

Bill – one last thing, we unfortunately are not getting 34.9 SOG, but we are giving up 34.9 SOG thru 28 games. Hiiiievah, we have only given up an avg of 32.4 in the last 15 while getting 34.1 SOG ourselves during that stretch.

World Be Free

December 10th, 2010
1:33 pm

Suggest everyone ignore the idiocy you read in some of these other papers and media outlets. These clowns get bored sometimes.

Extra security hasd been ordered for section 204-hide your valuables.

Furious George

December 10th, 2010
1:38 pm

I for one did not mind the extra few days off this time around only from the standpoint of Kane and Toby getting extra time to fully recover from their respective injuries, although they did come back Monday night. Hopefully they’re back to full strength now. With the college football just about over, I’m hoping for a respectable crowd tonight. Go Thrashers!!

Flames

December 10th, 2010
1:39 pm

I’ll be there with my wife! Please let there at least be 16,000 in the Bulb tonight. Thanks for doing your part Mr. Tiller with the 204 Section! I can tell you that the Team is excited about this season and the boys love and respect Rammer! I was told that he makes great adjustments on the fly and couple of the players told me that he is a great teacher of the game. It’s sure looks like the boys in Blue are listening in class.

Smoothie

December 10th, 2010
1:39 pm

“The most telling stat right now, IMO, is Boulton being the team leader at +6. He isn’t an offensive force nor does he play on a particularly offensive-strong line — so what THAT number means is that everyone, across the board, is playing solid D and ‘downhill’ to the opposing goal.”

moriler – no doubt, the “bottom” lines have been key. When you can dictate match-ups and take teams out of their rhythm by bashing their heads in, its a very good thing. The greek gods have been bashing lots of heads. In fact, and I’ll probably jinx them by typing this but they deserve their due: the trio has not been on the ice for an ES goal against in TEN games!! In fact, Boulton has not seen a goal go in while he’s out there in 15 games, Slater 10 gms and Thorburn 15!!

Nice work lads!

And by the way, Antropov and Burmy are slowly starting to gel. If Antro starts shooting more, look the hell out. That “third” line may end up being the best weapon we have against top lines who don’t care much for playing int their own end!!

Go Thrashers!!

Red Light

December 10th, 2010
1:44 pm

The best news of the day compliments of C-Viv!

“Line combinations remain the same. Fredrik Modin, Tim Stapleton and Freddy Meyer will be the scratches.”

Rawhide

December 10th, 2010
1:54 pm

Smoothinator – Shots for, shots against…whatev :cool:

Seriously though, thanks for the catch. Sometimes the numbers start to become a blurr.

Red Light – The line combo news is indeed good. No need messin’ with what’s working…right?

Flame - Only too happy to oblige.

English Teacher

December 10th, 2010
2:08 pm

Buddy of mine offered me a seat on the glass tonight. I passed it up to sit with the Rowdies. Let’s make some noise tonight!

kracker

December 10th, 2010
2:09 pm

Nice little stretch we have coming up. 13 games in 22 days. That averages out to a game every 40 hours and 36 minutes, based on whole days. Figuring it from game start times, it shrinks to about a game every 39 hours. I hope we can avoid a lot of OT/shoot out games.

Cliff Fletcher

December 10th, 2010
2:15 pm

You wanna get people to The Bulb?

Sign Buff and Ladd to long term contracts, show the commitment needed to convince people this team is here for the long term, not some traveling show that stops in ATL for a couple performances. People want to see commitment before they will make committ, putting their hearts and wallets behind the team.

Rawhide

December 10th, 2010
2:18 pm

Buddy of mine offered me a seat on the glass tonight. I passed it up to sit with the Rowdies. Let’s make some noise tonight!

English Teacher – WOW! Honored I am.

See ya in a few hours.

Roland

December 10th, 2010
2:21 pm

Hoof Arted

December 10th, 2010
3:07 pm

GO THRASHERS!!!

There….I feel better.

Mr. Heat Miser

December 10th, 2010
3:31 pm

Ever notice on Friday game days the clock just crawls?

ellivrehsarht

December 10th, 2010
3:32 pm

I love the Thrashers. But hate the term Thrasherville. Come up with something else. It sounds lame.

DWTOO

December 10th, 2010
3:46 pm

H/M – Tick, Tick, Tick. Dreaming of Big Beers! Tick, Tick, Tick……….

Rawhide

December 10th, 2010
3:52 pm

Mr. Heat Miser – Indeed it does. Just crawls along at a snail’s pace.

Oh well…heading down to Thrasherville now. See ya and the rest of the gang there.

ellivrehsarht – May I suggest this previous entry of mine as a little reading assignment over the weekend?

Smoothie

December 10th, 2010
4:00 pm

WORD! Time to assemble THRASHERVILLE!!

Hey elliveshart or whatever your name is. That was the name of this town way back when dill rod! Learn your history ya jamocha shake! :)

Mikey

December 10th, 2010
4:04 pm

Everyone heading to Thrasherville tonight, remember that traffic could be a nightmare. The GA HS football playoffs are down at the Dome I believe.

glovesave29

December 10th, 2010
4:30 pm

Wish I could be there, but home with a sick kid. We will DEFINATELY have the game on the tube. Hope to see y’all making noise and raising cain.

I always thought it was Lawn G-EYE-lind

GO THRASHERS!

Red Light

December 10th, 2010
4:35 pm

Personally, I was hoping for an education on why it’s called Blueland too? However, I think that term originated several blocks north of Philips Arena on Spring Street. LOL. Here’s the link: http://thecheetah.com

DCBrave33

December 10th, 2010
4:51 pm

Rawhide,

Thanks for doing all you can to continue to open people’s eyes to the tremendous product that is now on the ice in Blueland. It has been a long road, but we now have a team that has the ABILITY to play consistently good hockey. With that in mind, please folks, do not go right off the deep end if this team has a few more scuffs along the way. They are apt to lose 3 of 4 sometime. That doesn’t change what has happened, which we can all see clearly with our own eyes. If you have been this patient (waiting 11 years for a good team), then continue that patience as they learn how to be a consistent winner in the coming months.

Go Thrashers!!!

injunjoe

December 10th, 2010
5:29 pm

Is it 7:30 yet?!?!!!???

A27

December 10th, 2010
5:57 pm

GO THRASHERS!!!!!!!!!!! MAKE US PROUD!!!!!!!! SILENCE THE NAYSAYERS!!!!!!!!!!!

Tom Lysiak

December 10th, 2010
6:04 pm

Heading down to The Bulb to do some subsidizing tonight…..Go Thrashers!!!

ben

December 10th, 2010
6:37 pm