By leaving Tampa with at least the one consolation point earned by losing in a shootout, the Atlanta Thrashers find themselves currently with 38 points in the standings. That’s tied with the Lightning and just two points behind the slumping Washington Capitals for the division lead.
However, the Thrashers have another chance to rise to the top tonight as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at Philips Arena. With a win, Atlanta would match the 18-11-4 record of the Caps, who are idle tonight.
First place in mid-December…wouldn’t that be a nice early Christmas present?
The Thrashers, as stated above, are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. They were afforded five power play opportunities but were not able to muster anything with them. The lone goal scored came off Rich Peverley’s stick while Atlanta was successfully killing off a Bolts PP in the first period.
Ondrej Pavelec, who save 30 of Tampa’s 31 shots during 65 minutes, stopped all three of the Lighting initial shootout chances, but Victor Hedman’s tally in the fourth round was enough to win it for Tampa as Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd, Rich Peverley and Evander Kane were unable to score against Mike Smith.
The loss dropped Opie’s all-time shootout record to OH-fer seven.
“When Pavelec stopped the first three shooters on the shootout, our job was to finish it up for him”, coach Craig Ramsay remarked after the game. “He deserved a better fate than one point”.
The loss, disappointing as it may be, still left the Thrashers with a 2-0-1 record on the recent 3-game road trip. 5 points out of a possible 6 on the road is never a bad thing.
Tonight will be the first meeting of the season between the Thrashers and division rival Carolina. Currently the ‘Canes find themselves with a 13-12-4, in fourth place in the SE division and tied with Buffalo for ninth place in the eastern Conference…although the Sabres have played two more games then have Carolina.
Last night they trailed the Panthers 3-0 after one period of play but came back for a 4-3 win in south Florida. Tuomo Ruuto scored the game tying and game winning goals in the third period.
Eric Staal leads the charge for the “canes with12 goals and 29 overall points. Jeff Skinner has 8 goals and 21 overall points while Jussi Jokinen has 21 points, 5 goals and 16 assists.
As for an update on Thrash…he remains in the Gwinnett County lockup as the Thrashers continue their efforts to come up with the 5,000 extra ticket sales to spring him. To help in that cause, they are offering readers of this online forum a chance to score some great deals for upcoming games, including tonight’s matchup against the Hurricanes.
Simply click HERE and enter the promo code RAWHIDE to take advantage of some great holiday ticket prices.
Get your butts to Blueland, see some great hockey…and help Free Thrash!