One of the nice things about Saturday night’s thrilling overtime win is that it gets to linger in our thoughts for several days. Following the 4-3 overtime win over the Florida Panthers Saturday night the Thrashers don’t play again until they travel to Carolina Wednesday night to take on the Hurricanes.
But even so, the truth of the matter is this team needed a much better showing than the 2-2-1 record the played to over this recent all-important five game home stretch. It’s not just that they only procured 5 of a possible 10 points in the standing when they really needed more, but they played the role of gracious hosts far too well by allowing 8 total points to leave town with visiting teams…all of whom were Eastern Conference teams.
So for those of you who may have held out hope that a good showing in those games would possibly catapult them back into the playoff race…needless to say it didn’t pan out that way. Now what you’re looking at is the team needing to go something like 10-3-3 during the final segment of the schedule and pray that 88 points is good enough to somehow squeak in.
Making that mountain even steeper to climb is the fact that ten of those sixteen games will be played on hostile ice away from Thrasherville, including a five-game roadie between March 12 and April 7.
How many of the remaining 32 points will the Thrashers get?
Total Voters: 209
To put it mildly, the road has been quite inhospitable place for this team lately. They went winless during their most recent three-game road trip…losing in Phoenix, Edmonton and Buffalo without even the consolation of an overtime loser point…and have gone 0-5-1 in their lat six away games.
The last time they were able to come away two points on the road was back on January 23 when they netted a pair of late third period goals on their way to a 3-2 shootout win in Florida. And since the 6-3 win in Toronto back on December 20…a.k.a. “The High Water Mark of the Season”…they have played to a record of 3-9-2 away from Philips Arena.
Only one of those wins, the 3-2 win against the Panthers on January 5, came in regulation.
Assuming they can take care of business at home by going 6-0 from here on out…yeah, I know. I know…they would still need to go 4-3-3 in the road games to reach the 88 mark. That’s a pretty tall order when you see two games in Philadelphia and one each in Boston, Montreal, Carolina, Nashville, New Jersey, Nashville and Buffalo in the slate. There is also a trip to Long Island remaining on the schedule against a team that has played better of late.
Even before we see our team in action again Wednesday night, the lanes on the Thrashers road may become tighter and narrower still. Following yesterday’s action in which the Devils beat the Islanders in a shootout, Buffalo beat Minnesota in OT and Florida earned yet another overtime consolation point, Atlanta is not only chasing three teams for a possible playoff spot but they now have three more hot on their tails.
The Devils are now only a point behind us Florida trails by four points and the Islanders are but five in back of the Thrashers. All three of those teams play at home Tuesday night and if they come out victorious, Atlanta would be sitting in 12th place in the conference with 14th place not too far behind.
Therefore, the rough road ahead of us could lead to a playoff berth, another trip to Lotterypickville…or possibly somewhere in between.