Last night I sat down at my desk and performed a little advanced math exercise. Armed with graph paper, a slide rule, calculator and a No. 2 pencil, I figure something out that just might interest you. Now, I’ll spare you the lengthy explanations nor shall I bore you by posting charts and graphs here, instead going straight to the conclusion.
If the Atlanta Thrashers do indeed lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight…whether it be in regulation or overtime…they will still have a mathematical chance to make the playoffs this spring.
Again, there’s really just not enough time and space here to explain the “whats” and “whys” involved with this finding. So, just take my word on this.
With that in mind, placing the “must win game” label on tonight’s matchup with the division rival would not be fitting, in my opinion. However, I must admit that to me there is an extra importance to this evening’s battle with the Bolts. I say that for a couple of reasons.
First off, it’s a matchup with the team currently atop the Southeast Division…six points ahead of and with one game in hand on the Thrashers. In between the two is the Washington Capitals, one point behind Tampa Bay. So if Atlanta is going to make any move at the division title, tonight would be a very good time to begin that push. This is especially true given that in the next four games leading up to the All Star Game, the Thrashers play those two teams three times.
Lightning will strike again for Atlanta this coming Sunday afternoon.
Now I’ll admit right here that while I do think the Thrashers will indeed make it to the postseason this spring, I don’t really hold much hope that they’ll do so as division champs.
But stranger things have happened in sports, ya know.
Tough as it might be even with a win against the Lightning tonight, it’d almost be an impossibility if they find themselves even further behind a week from now. Not mathematically, mind you…but realistically speaking.
Another reason I am placing a little more emphasis on this game versus your average, run of the mill January tilt with a division foe is because of the impact it may have not only in the standings…but between the ears as well. The Thrashers have lost nine straight against this Tampa Bay team dating back to the beginning of last season. The last time the Lightning failed to take two points away from a game with Atlanta was opening night 2009 when they fell 6-3 in Philips Arena.
They are rapidly becoming to the Thrashers what Philadelphia and Boston were for several years recently. After a while it’s only natural for coaches and players to start wondering just what in the heck it’ll take to finally beat that #$%@ team. And eventually, that sort of run starts to work against a team mentally. And if one team comes out of the locker room with any such self-doubt going up against any NHL squad, that other team has already taken the first strides towards the win before the puck is even dropped.
So with all that in mind, while it’s certainly not something I would classify in the “must win” column, a win tonight would surely go a long way to help the Thrashers situation both in the standings and psychologically. A
And that would be a very good thing indeed…any way you add it up.
New Rawhide’s Rowdies Ticket Deal – Feb. 13 vs. Hurricanes
On Sunday February 13, we’ll welcome in division rival Carolina for an afternoon matinee. The Thrashers organization has been kind enough to extend another Rawhide’s Rowdies offer for you, the readers of this blog. For this game, we’ll gather in sections 203 and 204 and the ticket price will be only $26.00.
But wait…there’s more.
For those of you who will be taking advantage of this deal, you’ll also receive a free Thrashers replica jersey like the one pictured to the left as well. It has Zach Bogosian’s name and No. 4 on the back.
Simply call Karin Beckman at 404-878-3781 or e-mail her at Karin.Beckman@atlantaspirit.com to procure your tickets and jersey today. Act quickly as there’s only a limited supply available.
Also remember that you can still get good deals on this month’s games by simply clicking —>HERE<– and using promo code RAWHIDE.
Get your tickets, get your free replica jersey and get your butts down to Blueland!
By: Bill Tiller – AJC.com Thrashers Fan Blog