After Sunday night’s loss to Carolina, the family and I made our way back home where we watched a little TV before the wife and boys made their way to bed. I stayed up to try and pound out some words about the Thrashers’ latest setback. Honestly though, given the state of mind I was in following such a heartbreaking loss…I just wasn’t feeling it. So I went to bed in hopes I’d feel a little better in the morning.
Morning came, but I really felt no better.
See…after the Thrashers “Kaned” the New York Rangers Friday night, I really thought that win had the ability to finally snap this team awake from it’s mid-winter’s nightmare. It was the kind of victory that…if indeed they used it as a springboard to a successful playoff drive…the fans of Thrasherville could point back to and say that “this” was where it all began to turnaround for the team.
Although Evander Kane does get credit for tying the game and then notching the game-winner, the true game-changing event came earlier in the period when Ondrej Pavelec stonewalled Marian Gaborik’s penalty shot attempt. The save bailed out Brent Sopel… who took the penalty after bumbling a Zach Bogosianback-pass near the blueline…and it kept the score a 2-1 and gave Kane and the Thrashers just the chance they needed.
As big of a win Friday night’s game was…as much as it could have been the springboard to the Thrashers finally waking up from this mid-winter’s nightmare… just as exhilarating as if felt to see them steal away the two points from the Rangers…that’s how gut wrenching the loss to the Carolina Hurricanes was just two night’s later.
And truth be old, I’m still finding it hard to get happy after it.
The Thrashers had already dropped three close games to the Canes this season. But this time around not only did they skate out of the barn with the two points, they didn’t even do us the kindness of allowing an overtime loser point for us. Making matters even more painful, leaving Philips Arena with the Hurricanes is sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Failure to clear the puck at a key time once again doomed the Thrashers efforts. With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Canes won the battle to keep the puck in the attacking one and Erik Cole once more broke our hearts. Twice before this season he’s beaten Atlanta in overtime.
Andrew Ladd, who scored both of the Thrashers goals, owned up to his part of the team’s inability to get the puck out of the defensive zone on the play saying, “We need big plays at the end. I have to make sure that puck doesn’t get down and gets out of the zone”.
The Thrashers lost despite out-shooting Carolina to the tune of 43-17…20-5 in the second period alone. That type of lop-sidedness isn’t all that uncommon for this team, but normally it’s Atlanta on the short end of that stat. This makes the loss even all the tougher.
I could be magnanimous, I suppose, and simply give a tip of the hat to Cam Ward for, keeping his team in the game…saving 41 shots for the win…but I really don’t want to right now.
sigh…Like I said, I’m finding it tough to get happy after this latest heart-breaker.
Rawhide’s Rowdies Section Rocked
Regardless of the outcome, it was really great to spend some time with some of you who took advantage of the special “Ticket & a Jersey” deal for yesterday’s game. Sections 203 and 204 were full of some passionate Thrashers fans…as well as those blue #4 jerseys that came with the tickets. I was able to see a lot of you that I’ve met previously…which is always nice…as well as meet a few for the very first time.
Thank you all very much for the great response to this special offer. Between this ticket deal and the RAWHIDE promotions on the TicketMaster site, we’ve sold hundreds of tickets and I’m told there will be more such offers to come.
By: Bill Tiller – AJC.com Thrashers Fan Blog