As Atlanta freezes the Thrashers remain hot

OK, whoever left the door open up there in Canada…would you please mind shutting it? And while you’re at it, how about a new round of weather-stripping around the border, eh?

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……

Temperatures here in Atlanta area dropped into the single digits last night and early this morning with the wind chill factored in. The thermometer reported the frosty conditions as snow flurries flew about throughout Sunday afternoon and evening.

Last night it was so cold…how cold was it?… it was so cold, I actually considered letting the cats come back inside.

Almost.

But this is nothing compared to what’s going on up in the Upper midwest…I mean, did you see what happened to the Metrodome in Minn-EEE-So-TAH? Yikes.

Anyway, while we were bundled up in front of a cracking fireplaces, struggling for throw-blanket supremacy with our significant-others on the couch while watching TV last night, there was something going on in Manhattan that effects the residence of Thrasherville. The Rangers basically kicked the Washington Capitals square in their icicles, beating them 7-0. The loss extends the Caps losing streak to 6 and it keeps them only four points in front of the Thrashers.

What this means is that our Thrashers have the opportunity to climb back to within a pair of points of the Southeast Division leaders if they can effort out a win in Ottawa tonight. That’s big news, especially seeing that the Thrashers would have a game in hand with the Caps. It would also mean they would catapult over Boston and Tampa Bay in the standings, both of whom are idle tonight, and it would tie them with the Rangers at 37 points.

If I’m not mistaken, the last time this team found themselves within sniffing distance of the top spot in the division this far into a season was back in the winter of ’08 after 10-round shootout victory in New Jersey. They then went on to drop a steaming pile of fail against the Islanders the next night and…well, that’s old history now.

Atlanta’s 16-11-3 record is exactly the same as it was last December. But unlike that version of the Thrashers, this one is ascending in the standings. This time last year, they were dropping as fast as the mercury in our back porch thermometers over the weekend. Then, they were in the midst of a winter freeze that saw them play to an 8-14-5 record between Thanksgiving and late January, including a nine-game losing streak. Between the beginning of December and January 12 of last year, they went 20 consecutive games without mustering a single regulation win.

But now, these Thrashers join their neighbors in the Dome as just about the hottest thing in Atlanta. The Thrashers have won three of the last four and nine of the last eleven.

As for some cold hard stats…

Ondrej Pavelec, who should be back between the pipes tonight, is now 9-6-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .944 SV%. In is career versus the Senators, he’s 3-3-1 with a 2.35 GAA and .929 SV%. The last time he started a game in Ottawa, he kicked out 50 of 51 shots as the Thrashers won 3-1 back on Halloween of 2009. Last month he come on in relief of Chris Mason in the 5-2 loss in Ottawa and saved 10 of 11.

Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd continue to lead the Thrashers in goals scored, both have 10. Buff has 20 assists to go with it while Ladd has 19.

Bryan Little has taken over as the team’s +/- leader as he is now +8. Brent Sopel is close behind with a +7 while Eric Boulton and Ben Eager are each a +6 for the season.

Since November 19, Anthony Stewart is a +5 and has contributed with 3 goals and 2 assists during in that time frame which spans 11 games.

The engine that runs the team’s offense hasn’t been affected at all by the colder weather. After potting five against the Islanders Saturday night, the Thrashers now have a goals per game average of 3.09, the seventh best in the NHL just behind Tampa Bay’s 3.10. The 1035 total shots taken on opposing goalies is the second most in the league, behind Anaheim’s 1135. The Ducks have played three more games than have the Thrashers, though.

Going oh-fer five on the power play, though, on Long Island has dropped them to fourth in the NHL in that statistical column. They are still converting 23.1% of their man-advantages though.

188 comments Add your comment

Rawhide's cat

December 13th, 2010
11:20 pm

brrrrrr…..it’s-s-s…….s-s-s-so ….col-l-l-ld…. out-t-t-t… here.

Stuck in NJ

December 13th, 2010
11:22 pm

Is this a record low for penalties in a game? 1 penalty and one penalty shot against the Thrash and no penalties at all for the Sens? I’m sure there have been games with no penalties but were the zebras asleep?

Joe Friday

December 13th, 2010
11:26 pm

Buf, Little, Peverly, Ladd, the 4th line, all had huge games. I couldn’t believe that was Modin in the 3rd, he did skate a hell of a shift right when we needed it. Burmistrov up front had a bad night, but
Sopel, Hainsey, and Bogosian? Holy crap they reeked. I’d be shocked if either Sopel or Bogosian don’t watch the next game from the press box.

Joe Friday

December 13th, 2010
11:27 pm

“Is this a record low for penalties in a game?”

I smiled when I saw McCreary was the ref tonight, he lets the boys play.

AtlFlamesFan

December 13th, 2010
11:29 pm

Burmi was taken down with a bear hug in the 3rd, but other than that, I didn’t see any chances for a penalty against the Sens. As for Burmi himself; yes another game where his stick handling is all over the place.

Badger Bob

December 13th, 2010
11:40 pm

Soma, that Eric Boulton stat is an interesting one…

Some of my favorite stats are the ATL-NJ comparisons. So we are outscoring the mighty Devils at a rate of 1.36 G/G, which is a little surprising. But we are also giving up almost 0.1 G/G fewer than than them, which is absolutely unprecedented. Lovin’ it!!

Tom

December 13th, 2010
11:59 pm

Time for a song competition — My vote is for “Who let the cats out”

Badger Bob

December 14th, 2010
12:28 am

Next semi-interesting stat – while we all know Big Buff leads all Dmen in goals and points, he has done in with less ice time than the next 16 highest point getters. Must be time for bed…

LAC

December 14th, 2010
12:37 am

If you didn’t notice… Watch the Detroit-LA highlights from Detroit.

Lots and Lots and LOTS of EMPTY SEATS !!!!!!!! Where were those STUPID quebec fans ?

Detroit is a GREAT team to move to Canada, real close and why stay in Detroit, YUCK !!!!

Furious George

December 14th, 2010
12:46 am

Not the prettiest of wins but I’ll take it, gotta tighten things up defensively in preparation for Stamkos. Little is really starting to light up the scoresheet once again and I’m loving it, good to see him put his dismal last season behind him…..On another note, part of me was hoping to not see this game to shootout given Pavelec’s dismal showings in that setting to date, glad to see it end in OT. Our boys seem to have a knack for late game heroics, that will definitely serve us well down the road.

Cornbread

December 14th, 2010
1:41 am

The Boulton – Slater – Thorburn line is the best fourth line in hockey.

Win

December 14th, 2010
7:27 am

All wins are beautiful
Lots of empty seats in Ottawa, maybe the niques can travel to see Sens next to steal them

Matt

December 14th, 2010
7:47 am

I agree that lots of other arenas have lots of empty seats, but I wonder if the reason that ATL gets “picked on” is due to the fact that other teams have far, far more season tix holders. Those teams make money whether anyone is in those seats or not. As to that, I wish the ASG would make a rule for the club side of the arena: “If you aren’t going to use your seat, give it to someone who will”. That side is ALWAYS empty.

World Be Free

December 14th, 2010
7:49 am

Smoothie-too much time standing around watching the other team make plays, especially while the Sens were in our zone. This team has yet to learn how the put pressure on the oppsoing team’s pointmen, this is a franchise issue. GET ON THEM! The average defenseman is not a good puck handler in the offeseive zone, they are always concerned about players getting behind them. Any average defenseman can make a play with the puck if they are not pressured. Get on them and force the defenseman to make a mistake, cough up the puck. Then we can use our speed to start the transition game-case in point, the turnover at our blue line in overtime on the game winner. Ramsay and Torch have to fix this, along with the 2nd period slumber.

Tom Lysiak-remember how slow Dave Andreychuk was coming out of juniors? He was a centerman when he came out, they moved him to left wing cuz he was too slow. I am concerned about Antro this season, just can’t get out of 2nd gear. Modin is erady for the beer leagues.

kracker

December 14th, 2010
7:50 am

Check this out. The Thrashers are actually on the front sports page of the AJC, above the fold w/ a big, bold headline and a large pic!!!…wait……nope, pigs are not flying out of my arse.

Red Light

December 14th, 2010
7:57 am

Last year, it was Patrick Sharp ad nauseum, and now it’s Blake Wheeler. Just trying to cut Smoothie off from conjecture before he goes off the deep end again this year. We won’t know who Dudley-Ramsay covets until any deal is done, because they aren’t allowed to “tamper”. And yes, if Smoothie and I are polar opposites in our view of the game, that’s because he simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about! :)

Obviously, I am just kidding, and I do appreciate a little back and forth with my man from upstate NY.

These are games the Thrashers used to lose. There was a glimpse of the old Thrashers there late in the 2nd and int the 3rd, but they found a way to win and that’s always a great sign. And, in case you didn’t recognize it last night, Ottawa is brutal and Spezza should have known better on that play that led to Little’s goal. That simply can’t happen and he cost his team a chance at an extra point.

Pav was good when he had to be and should have only given up the one goal, the one that he failed to cover up in time when Neil knocked it in.

Now, they can go to a place they’ve had trouble in the past and beat the crap out of Tampa! The tough game will be against Carolina at home. The Canes own the Thrashers at Philips Arena.

Luv ya Smoothie!

World Be Free

December 14th, 2010
8:38 am

The way to beat Tampa?
1. Jump on their defenseman and don’t let them breathe.
2. But Burmie on Stamkos

Dwayne

December 14th, 2010
8:47 am

The Diques don’t want ottawa, they are horrible, we could not give the game to them. Did yall see Slowdeen talking to the Burmi right before they went into the locker room after the bad turnover at the end of the first? Rammer’s boy has to contribute something to the team. Team, has a nice ring don’t it.

World Be Free

December 14th, 2010
8:55 am

Dwayne-Modin must remind Rammer of Andreychuk’s speed-thanks to Jason Spezza for the early holiday gift. No wonder they want to hang him in Ottawa.

Spud Webb

December 14th, 2010
9:30 am

ahahhahahahahahah d&mmit Rawhide, yea, no cat stories, you’ve got Stephen all fired up!

Spud Webb

December 14th, 2010
9:35 am

Red light, I couldn’t agree more…Bottom line, this is a game that the thrashers would’ve lost in previous years. Plenty of room for improvement, but again I’ll take 2 points anyway we can!! And as WBF put it, thank you Spezza, what a gift. Little has been playing well, I love it.

Spud Webb

December 14th, 2010
9:36 am

And the 4th line contributing, Bolts with a goal, classic for sure. The look on the Sens faces after that goal was priceless!

World Be Free

December 14th, 2010
9:39 am

So correct Spud, we’d a lost that game in previous years. Buffalo natives always extra-appreciate a win against Ottawa, a little bonus for us!

Spud Webb

December 14th, 2010
9:43 am

ahhahahaha, WBF as I was watching I was thinking about how much I dislike Ottawa, so much history there!! The Sabres aren’t good, but I do take comfort in the fact that Ottawa isn’t going anywhere!! Year after year up there, no goal tending.
Peters vs Emory…classic brawl…Drury is still feeling that hit, thud!
I hated that RR went there, anywhere but there.

Red Light

December 14th, 2010
9:50 am

As of Dec. 14, 2006, heretofore known as the “playoff year”, the Thrashers through 31 games that year stood at 18-8-5, 41 points, which was third in the Eastern Conference. So, this year’s edition is creeping closer to that mark. Hooray!

iamtheratio

December 14th, 2010
10:05 am

Dwayne: I was actually about to type that. I thought Modin has a great game last night and his comments to Burmi are MUCH needed. I like the idea of playing him a game or two every 10 or so but that’s it.

Oh and I have to give Pavs a little sympathy on that penalty shot, when a shooter is in that close and has skills like Spezza has.. it’s a hard shot to stop. Granted, I still think Pavs should have challenged a bit more. I also think he needs a few hours of practice a week on shootouts alone.

Tom Lysiak

December 14th, 2010
10:09 am

WBF – definitely remember Dave Andreychuk. He carved out a nice career.

Agree on Modin and Antro. I’m not sure if he is still really still recovering, suffering from no training camp, or if he has just lost his speed. Of course, it doesn’t help his cause when the rest of the team speed is so good. It really stuck out to me last night in Ottawa how much faster we were.

World Be Free

December 14th, 2010
10:14 am

Spud-Ottawa replaced Quebec City on Buffalo’s “hate” list.
Tom-Andreychuk had to grow up a bit, he had a “good time” during his Buffalo days, never was considered leadership material until he landed in Tampa. Now he has a ring.

Antropov-his best games in Atlanta were with Max and Bergfors, they played like they had been playing together forever. Maybe get an offensive player on left wing with Antro and Burmie, someone to iopen up space the Antropov.

Tom Lysiak

December 14th, 2010
10:16 am

WBF – he can still shoot the puck though. Besides ringing it off the post last night he had some rockets.

Spud Webb

December 14th, 2010
10:22 am

RLight I know your there…what are your thoughts on Nik?? What’s going on with him??

Dwayne

December 14th, 2010
11:21 am

Spezza looked like he was right on top of Pavs on the penalty shot. Poke check anyone?

Alan R.

December 14th, 2010
11:28 am

At least Pavelec didn’t fall all over himself. That’s something to be thankful for, right?

Dwayne

December 14th, 2010
11:46 am

Yall rekon mason starts Thursday night?

Rawhide

December 14th, 2010
12:19 pm

:!: OFFICIAL RANALLO WARNING!! :!:

This is your official 10-minute Ranallo Warning. New blog posting in 10 minutes.

R. Stroz

December 14th, 2010
8:48 pm

Hockey Biltong

December 14th, 2010
10:52 pm

Ultra LAST!!!

R. Stroz

December 15th, 2010
9:03 am

LAST ONCE MORE!

Rawhide

December 17th, 2010
12:44 pm

R. Stroz – Nope…once more.

Hockey Biltong – Ultra Nope.