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

Putting On The Foil

December 11th, 2010
8:19 pm

Maybe we are trying to discourage the Quebec crowd from wanting a team tonight. Still feel like we will bounce back

Smoothie

December 11th, 2010
8:23 pm

This effort is disgraceful. Absolutely pathetic. They don’t seem to have any idea of what they need to do to be successful. Not getting the puck deep enough and when they do, no fight to stay on the puck. Near goal by Enstrom but seems like we are just flinging it at the net to see if we get lucky. Better than skating in offsides on an ill-fated rush up the ice I suppose. Ay carumba this sucks.

Smoothie

December 11th, 2010
8:34 pm

THANK YOU!!! BRENT SOPEL??!!

SWEET FEED TO STEWIE.

PRESSURE BACK ON NYI.

Putting On The Foil

December 11th, 2010
8:34 pm

R. Stroz

December 11th, 2010
8:57 pm

Notice to Eager:

If you are replaced by Modin, you really played like crap because

MODIN SUCKS!

Putting On The Foil

December 11th, 2010
9:03 pm

Rawhide

December 11th, 2010
9:05 pm

Oduya is OFF THE SCHNIDE!

Putting On The Foil

December 11th, 2010
9:06 pm

Yea baby. Now lets win this @#$%^&*

Rawhide

December 11th, 2010
9:07 pm

Oduya off the Schnide X2!!!

Odouya

December 11th, 2010
9:09 pm

How do you feel about the two goals Johnny? ” It is what it is.”

Tom Lysiak

December 11th, 2010
9:09 pm

You can’t stop that scoring machine Johnny Oduya, you can only hope to contain him…..

Putting On The Foil

December 11th, 2010
9:19 pm

Haven’t seen a faceoff shot so sweet in a long time

Jason

December 11th, 2010
9:28 pm

Burmistrov and Tavares? Really?

Putting On The Foil

December 11th, 2010
9:35 pm

Please let this be over!

Putting On The Foil

December 11th, 2010
9:38 pm

Thanks again for the link Rawhide. @$#%$# @#$%$@%

Jason

December 11th, 2010
9:41 pm

An ugly win is still a win….

Rightshot

December 11th, 2010
9:42 pm

Thanks for the link Mr. Tiller. I DID add it to my favorites this time

R. Stroz as Yogi Berra

December 11th, 2010
9:45 pm

The best thing about winning is the other guys lost.

rob

December 11th, 2010
9:49 pm

Anthony Stewart needs the next seat……ugh

Ray

December 11th, 2010
9:52 pm

Rawhide,

Congrats on your son getting accepting to USMA! I met you at the face off event and he was hoping to get in to one of the Academies. We could have used him at Annapolis, but West Point is a nice “fall back” school:)

Badger Bob

December 11th, 2010
9:55 pm

BTW, thanks to Tom for the link on Thursday night to the British bench clearing brawl. Very proud that was my cousin, Brad Cruikshank, charging the goaltender to get it all started. Charming!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru_DeHbNmDI

Hokie P. Clisters

December 11th, 2010
9:59 pm

Someone needs to ask Rammer what the deal is with Bergie. Seems like there are a few other ones that should be sitting instead. I’m hoping that Rammer just sees a ton of potential in Bergie and he’s not getting it – same label he got in NJ. I just can’t see Rammer sitting him for something petty. BTW – Bergie’s not gonna get a big paycheck from anyone if he keeps this underachieving label. Rammer is probably doing the kid a favor by trying to get him to play up to his potential.

Tom

December 11th, 2010
10:21 pm

My pleasure Badger Bob.

BlueSpark

December 11th, 2010
10:33 pm

Man was that ugly. But we’re only 4 points out of first in the Southeast, with a game in hand. Rammer and Torc still have lots of work to do, and the December schedule is very crowded.

Not sure what to make of that frog road trip. We’re going to have to do something. I wish had more time and money. And a reliable babysitter. I’ve only been to one game this year (opening night).

Hokie P. Clisters

December 11th, 2010
10:54 pm

Eager leading the team with + 6 and is benched? Looks like Ben’s got more fire in his belly to give per Rammer….or he just likes Modin’s -7. Rammer’s pushing more buttons than a radio surfing teenager. Keep on pushing Coach!

SomaAtl95

December 11th, 2010
11:40 pm

Tonight proved its not how you play the game, its winning that matters. Sloppy effort at the start but one hell of a great 3rd period – most points scored in one period (4) for the Thrash this season and the Nordique fans can suck on sour frogs legs for their ride back to frogville. If they want to poach a team, try the Islanders, who are now 1-16-3 for their last 20. They took the Flames – they will NOT take our Thrashers.
Go Thrashers!!

JoeBassman

December 11th, 2010
11:49 pm

It’s good to have that comeback-from-behind ability, but I hope the Thrash get back to the dominant defensive play they were displaying in the previous two weeks. That said, all teams have slumps, the better ones still win a good numbers of games when they aren’t at their best. Lets see some more disciplined wins against the Sens and Lightning!

Rawhide

December 12th, 2010
12:43 am

Wow…there certainly were a lot of ‘Diques at the Thrashers/Islanders game Saturday night, eh?

Brendan

December 12th, 2010
1:52 pm

I liked Bryan Little’s “faceoff” shot for a goal!

R. Stroz

December 13th, 2010
11:30 am

Rawhide

December 13th, 2010
10:03 pm

R.Stroz – Nope.