Tonight’s game vs Lightning isn’t a ‘must win’ for Thrashers, however…

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.

Evander Kane makes his way around Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman during the 2009-10 season opening game. Kane scored his first NHL goal that night and the Thrashers won 6-3. It was also the last time Atlanta beat the Bolts (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Evander Kane makes his way around Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman during the 2009-10 season opening game. Kane notched his first NHL point that night by assisting on a Rich Peverley goal and the Thrashers won 6-3. It was also the last time Atlanta beat the Bolts (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

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.bogosian-jersey-3

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

206 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

January 20th, 2011
10:02 am

I think Sage might be interested in seeing your spreadsheet.

GaVaHokie

January 20th, 2011
10:05 am

The next four games will go a long way in how we handle the trade deadline this year.

Smoothie

January 20th, 2011
10:06 am

Here’s hoping that Dawes and Antropov don’t end up on the same line again! Those two did not mesh very well last October. Modin-Antro-Dawes and Modin-Slater-Dawes were unmitigated disasters for the mosts part. Hmmm, what is the common theme in these line combos? Okay, with Modin on the shelf, what are your line combos du jour? I’ll go with:

Ladd-Pevs-Bergy

Kane\Antro-Litts-Stewy

Boults-Antro\Corms-Stapes

Dawes-Cormier\Burmy-Thorbs

Time for Burmy to get some pressbox time with Bogey to gain some perspective and eat as much as he can at the buffet. I reckon the boy has lost 10 lbs of weight over the course of the season and he can no longer muscle other forwards off the puck or protect the biscuit like he did earlier in the year with a stronger body and fresher legs.

Oh, and I got yer spreadsheet right here! You dirty rascal!! :cool:

Tom

January 20th, 2011
10:06 am

GaVaHokie, I hope Bill would not show him his work, Sage would only drool on it.

Flames

January 20th, 2011
10:12 am

I believe it is a must win situation . They need the confidence to be able to whip the Lighting A$$ or any teams.

Joe Friday

January 20th, 2011
10:13 am

I expect us to get blown out tonight. Really.

So you know what that means?

ThrasherTim

January 20th, 2011
10:18 am

Got another break last night when FLA blew another 2-goal lead to Columbus. Red Light, you usually have some cool stats. How many 2-goal leads has Florida blown this year? They have to have lost at least 5 of them….Then again, we have to easily have the worst record in the league when scoring first.

Anthony Stewart needs to step it up. Every time I see him slacking and I call him out, he seems to do something!

Russian

January 20th, 2011
10:21 am

We need Kane today. I hope he can play. Also I agree that Burmy has to take a break. He looks very tired.

Red Light

January 20th, 2011
10:24 am

ThrasherTim
• The Panthers, Blackhawks and Sharks are tied with five blown leads this season resulting in losses.
• The team leading after 2 periods in each of the last five Panthers home games have blown the lead.
• 7 of the Panthers last 13 games have been decided in OT or SO and they’re 3-4 in those games. Their record is 6-3-4 in the last 13.
• Each of the Panthers last 6 games have been decided by one goal. In their last 13 games, 11 have been decided by one goal.
• The Panthers have blown leads in the 3rd period in each of their last 3 games after coming from behind to beat the Preds on 1/13.

Everyone else!
Since Kari Lehtonen’s last start for the Thrashers vs. the Lightning on April 11, 2009, Atlanta is 1-9 against their SE division rival. In the previous 11 games with Lehtonen in goal vs the Lightning, the Thrashers were 9-1-1 in their last 11 games. And, the Lightning have won four straight games at Philips Arena.

But, Pavelec hasn’t been the problem. He has started just 2 games vs the Lightning and is 0-0-2 with a 1.90 GAA and a.938 save percentage.

GRITS and Pucks

January 20th, 2011
10:25 am

I 100% agree we don’t need to label this a “must win”. Yet, a win sure would be nice for a number of reasons – plus wins are always good :-) I would really like to see the fight that won us our last game, by some kind of miracle, for the whole game tonight. If the Thrashers play like that it has to be a win!

Unfortunately I have class tonight – so I will be checking scores franticly and cheering on the Thrashers in Spirit.

Red Light

January 20th, 2011
10:27 am

To clarify, when leading after the second period, the Panthers, Blackhawks and Sharks are tied with five blown leads this season resulting in losses.

Hockey Biltong

January 20th, 2011
10:32 am

We must win…..it’s just so much better!

VOLinATL

January 20th, 2011
10:35 am

Given the way things are around here, ANY home game is a must win. Have got to get the fans a reason to show up. The team started great, but absolutely cannot afford to slide now that football season is mostly done and the casual fans are starting to pay attention to the winter sports.

Will L

January 20th, 2011
10:41 am

I’ll be there tonight, straight ballin up in a suite. Oh Yeah!

Ladd and Rammer need to get errbody fired up tonight and come out and lay the wood to tampa for 60 straight minutes. Lets go Thrash, get it done tonight!

Rawhide

January 20th, 2011
10:47 am

OK gang…I just update the post above to announce a new Rawhide’s Rowdies ticket deal. Check it out!

Diego from Lilburn

January 20th, 2011
10:54 am

Thanks for the stats, Red Light!

I agree that tonight is a “must win” for mental reasons if nothing else.

Is it just me or should both Bogo and Antro be riding the pine right now? Probably not gonna happen due to so many young players freshly called up and so many injuries.

We need somebody to get physical! About time we gave Tampa a beat down!!!

h

January 20th, 2011
10:57 am

Yikes…..three AHL guys and Modin in the lineup….Not exactly an encouraging or threatening lineup at all……we really need to make a move, even if Kane and Slater get healthy quick. I may just have to cover my eyes tonight, although I’ll be doing it at the Bulb……Go Thrashers!

DWTOO

January 20th, 2011
10:59 am

And squish the Ooompa Loompa!

Smoothie

January 20th, 2011
11:07 am

I want to see Dawes go toe to toe with St. Louis in a street brawl. That would be something…midget wrestling on ice b/w periods? Grudge match to settle the affair if OT isn’t enough??

Looks like Kane is not gonna be able to go tonite so guys like Antropov, Little, Bergy, Ladd and Stapleton?? need to step it up. The top two lines need to be much better and the Buff&Tobes show needs to win the advantage at ES. They have actually been on the ice for the most ESGA (5) while the likes of Modin, Bogosian, Slater, Thorburn and EAGER have scored our ES goals against the Bolts this year. Ugggh.

Red Light

January 20th, 2011
11:16 am

Nigel Dawes gets a 2nd chance to prove he belongs with the club after going pointless and posting a -6 in the 1st 6 games this year. Instead of sulking at his demotion after playing in 205 NHL games, he went down and led the AHL in goals with 21 in 40 games.

In R.Stroztadamus fashion, I predict Dawes will either make an impact on this club, or another NHL team for the rest of the 2010-11 season. I am slightly partial, but I believe he can do it at this level. I admit I was wrong about him earlier this season but I don’t feel 6 games with a new team, after signing late, was the best indicator of what he can do. He’s not going to score 30, but I do think he can play here.

SomaAtl95

January 20th, 2011
11:17 am

Let us hope that the Thrashers can catch “Lightning in a Bottle” (since M St.L is small enough to put in a mason jar) and that our boys can “zap” Tampa Bay with their Hockey Sticks, shooting and overwhelming the bolts goalie with “Lightning Speed” to the point our boys call their sticks “Lightning Rods” – One thing that the people in Tampa bay may not know is that birds can fly through any “Lightning storm” and tonight would be a good time to “rise above the storm”
Ok I think I am “done” with the “abuse” of quotation marks! GO THRASHERS!

Russian

January 20th, 2011
11:18 am

Practice lines: 16-47-18, 45-10-22, 36-8-27, 15-14-80.
I like a second line. I want to see Cormier get more ice time.
I am worry about 4-th line. Nigel-Stamp-Antro is can be horrible, or can get some big Damage to Tampa. Shoot puck often, more shots on net. Roloston is not Super Goalie.

GaVaHokie

January 20th, 2011
11:20 am

Dawes = Krog

Smoothie

January 20th, 2011
11:24 am

Matched up correctly, I think Dawes-Stapes-Antro can do some damage. Also, Nik can take F/O on the right side where a forehand attempt might be more successful. And the righty Stapleton can do the same on the left side. Not sure I like Cormier on the 2nd line, but time for the kid to prove he belongs. And it helps Little having a back-up option in the F/O circle. Little can be extra aggressive now without fear of having no one else to take the circle if he gets booted.

I do like what Rammer is doing from a strategic point of view. But our top line MUST BE BETTER TONITE…NO DEFENSIVE LAPSES AND LIMIT THE CARELESS TURNOVERS OR BLUELINE BLUNDERS!!

Red Light

January 20th, 2011
11:24 am

Dawes is 10 years younger.

GaVaHokie

January 20th, 2011
11:29 am

Atlanta has been added to Dave Bolland on the 4th Period Trade List.

http://www.thefourthperiod.com/trade_deadline/top25/index.html

He’s dangerous on the Penalty Kill, generating a lot of short-handed chances. Doesn’t really excite me as a Top 6 guy though.

Zach Bagosian

January 20th, 2011
11:30 am

Hmmmm…… a free Zach B. jersey with purchase of a ticket???? Am I getting traded?

Smoothie

January 20th, 2011
11:30 am

Not sure if this means much, but the Thrashers are 6 – 3 – 2 with Tim Stapleton in the line-up. But obviously I like our chances much better with Evander Kane in the line-up instead!

Joe McGrath

January 20th, 2011
11:31 am

Stamkos is the key. Shut him down and we greatly increase our odds of winning. Someone needs to hit him very hard very early. Then let Burmistrov shadow (and antagonize) him for the rest of the game.

Smoothie

January 20th, 2011
11:32 am

That’s because Bolland ISN’T a top 6 guy. Would love to have him to solidify our 3rd line C position and shore up our PK, that’s for sure!

No worries as Zach Bogosian will be an epiphany of amazingness as our new RW / power forward!! ;-)

Matt

January 20th, 2011
11:40 am

“Lord…you there Lord? I’m not asking for much, but would it be possible to have Le Thrash just beat the ever living tar out of the Bolts tonight? Thank you and Amen.”

Smoothie

January 20th, 2011
11:44 am

Did somebody mention Stamkos?? :-)

Kid has 5 goals against us this season at ES…probably a couple others on the PP. Anyway, care to know who was on the ice trying to defend that top line? Read it and weep:

Gm #1 @ TB) both scored against Modin-Antro-Dawes (gasp!!)

Gm #2 @ Hm) unassisted off a Mannino/Oduya gaffe I think
empty netter w/ Ladd-Litts-Stewy & Burmy on ice

Gm #3 @ TB) none scored by Stamkos, lost in a shootout

Gm #4 @ Hm) scored once against Eager-Burmy-Modin line (this should never happen at home but Boucher quick-changed against this sorry ass line and made us pay)

The Cormier-Little-Stewy or Ladd-Pevs-Bergy line must be out against these bastards (Stamkos, StLouis and Downie) at all times. An occasional shift against the GGL would be fine if we had Slater to take a defensive zone F/O, but since we don’t, be careful Rammer!!

Smoothie

January 20th, 2011
11:45 am

Trixie my dear, I tripped the blog gremlin wire!! Please help at your convenience! Thanks!

moriler

January 20th, 2011
11:48 am

Hmm. Interesting perspective.

We’ve played 48 games and have 53 points — 34 games left. If we average a point-a-game from here out we finish with 87 points, which is good enough for 9th place usually — so that’s already not a good sign.

With 68 points possible, realistically we need 40 of them to lock up a playoff spot (and i mean lock up, not squeak in) — that’ll give us 93 and should give us plenty of cushion. That’d take us going 20-14 (or variants thereof including OTLs) in the last games.

So can I find 20 games we ’should’ win in the remaining schedule?

Islanders 2x, Calgary, Carolina 4x, Tronna 2x, Edmonton, Buffalo 2x, Devils 2x, Ottawa 2x are all “shoulds”, but that only gets us to 16 games. Ranjerks 3x and desHabilleés, and Florida twice each as “could” wins make it 23, though, and that isn’t including Phoenix or Nashville, both of whom are beatable.

That leaves us 25 games in which we can reasonably say we should or could reasonably assume to walk away with a win. Who’s left? Well, Philly three times, Tampa twice, Washington,Vancouver, Pittsburgh, and Boston once. Those are all teams who have plenty more talent than we do, so we should take whatever we get out of those games. In short, though, if we play to 80% efficiency of the level we _should_ play at, we still get 20 wins and make it to the playoffs handily.

I like those odds.

GaVaHokie

January 20th, 2011
11:49 am

Smoothie… GM’s might see Bolland as a guy with Top 6 potential in another organization. Much like Ladd and Versteeg were depth players in Chicago… Filppula in Detroit… etc.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

January 20th, 2011
11:49 am

Mr. Smoothie – Your post as been freed from Blog Purgatory. Seems you again failed to use a TPS report coversheet.

Did you get that memo?

Can I get one forwarded one to you?

Sage of Bluesland

January 20th, 2011
12:01 pm

As a show of good “luck”, I will go ahead and state, for the record, that we lose and look pitiful in the process.

(It worked last time, didn’t it?)

Of course, it goes almost without saying that I won’t be ‘directly’ subsidizing the incompetence of putting even a minisule portion of my money into Don Waddell’s undeserving pocket….I’ll try to catch some of it if on TV, if my schedule permits.

Oh, and Rawhide, I would love to analyze your spweadsheet…As an auditor by trade, I take a particularly keen interest in reviewing numbers…and when the indefensible is being defended…

J(Z)

January 20th, 2011
12:11 pm

Well, I just ordered 2 tix and am getting 2 Bogosian jerseys for $52. Really????? That just happened? LOL, for that, who cares what name is on the back!!!! Thanks Rawhide!

moriler

January 20th, 2011
12:13 pm

Ah, there’s the basement-dweller now :D

Stan Drulia

January 20th, 2011
12:15 pm

Ahhh Sage… such a quirky old fella. Here’s to hoping the Thrash get a big win tonite so that we don’t have to hear from old dude tomorrow!!! I wonder if Sage and Standek will even see much of the game as I’m sure they will be gazing into each other’s eyes over a plate of Nachos at the local Applebee’s.

A2B

January 20th, 2011
12:30 pm

Anyone notice that since the falcons got dropped Standec is no where to be found… Just sayin’

Smoothie

January 20th, 2011
12:35 pm

If the boys in blue are going to win tonite, they must stop these three disturbing trends:

1) 15 PP goals allowed in last 7 games; 2) giving up avg of 36.6 SOG in last 7 gms; 3) outshot at ES by a whopping 45 shots!!

Needless to say, these three trends are very UNGOOD!! The good news is that we’ve won 7 of the last 14 points in spite of these trends and they don’t have any direct correlation to why we lose or win. Even in the Tronna debacle, we didn’t lose because of the 5 PP GA. And despite shutting down Philly’s potent PP, we still lost 5 – 2. And while we outshot Dallas 30 – 27 and by 8 at ES, we still lost 6 – 1. Of course, we gave up 40 shots to Florida and managed to win in a shootout. So if we are to win, I reckon we’ll give up 38 shots, let Stamkos score 2 goals, one at ES and one on the PP, but somehow escape with a 4 to 3 win in overtime scored by, yep you guessed it, Nigel Dawes, on a rebound stickback of a Dustin Byfuglien wrister. The difference tonite? Roloson doesn’t really have a sterling record against the Thrashers.

moriler

January 20th, 2011
12:36 pm

A2B: I think Stendek has been banned from this and Viv’s blog. Reasons as to why he’s gone and Sage isn’t: Sage is a weenie who only posts after a loss, but he also doesn’t post barely-literate screeds of hatred along with spamming links to his conspiracy-theory-loaded wordpress blog. The degree of obnoxious there is a lot different, really.

moriler

January 20th, 2011
12:40 pm

Hey Trixie, I used the “W” word and so my post got eaten :)

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

January 20th, 2011
12:44 pm

Mr. Moriler – Your post has been freed from Blog Purgatory as well. And the “W” word isn’t the one that got it hung up there.

Cliff Fletcher

January 20th, 2011
12:51 pm

Sage, why couldn’t I guess you were a squirmy auditor as your “trade”.

moriler

January 20th, 2011
12:52 pm

Trixie: Properly spelling the “S” word was? :)

moriler

January 20th, 2011
12:52 pm

(oh, and gracias :) )

Monkey

January 20th, 2011
1:03 pm

Kill the Midget!

Get that kid off the ice!

Does your mom know you are out this late?

Red Light

January 20th, 2011
1:22 pm

I need a recommendation for best Irish Pubs in the upper northwest of Atlanta: definitively Marietta, Kennesaw, Acworth or Woodstock. Must have authentic Irish fare.

HELP!