Thrashers and Devils look to remain in playoff conversation

When the Atlanta Thrashers take on the Devils up in New Jersey tonight, both teams will be looking to keep themselves within mentioning distance of the eighth and final playoff spot. Currently the Thrashers are tied with the Toronto Maple Leaves at 70 points…thanks to the Lightning’s 6-2 win in Toronto last night. Both trail the ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes by two points and the Rangers and Sabres, who occupy the last two postseason slots, by six.

Atlanta does have one more game remaining than do the Leafs and the Devils will be looking to move into a three-way tie.

Even with their current winning ways, New Jersey has had a tough time making up ground in the race recently. Even though they’ve gone 7-2 in their past nine games, they have only been able to go from 10 points out of a playoff spot to 8 in that time.

Ondrej Pavelec leaves the scene as Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias celebrate with Travis Zajac after his overtime game-winner last Friday. The two teams will go at it again Tuesday night in a battle to remain in the playoff discussion (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Ondrej Pavelec leaves the scene as Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias celebrate with Travis Zajac after his overtime game-winner last Friday. The two teams will go at it again Tuesday night in a battle to remain in the playoff discussion (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

For their part, the Thrashers have netted 7 of a possible 8 points during their last four games…all of which have required overtime to settle. The lone loss during that time came last Friday when Travis Zajac’s OT tally allowed the Devils to escape Atlanta with two points.

But both they and the Thrashers know that procuring these important 2 points is vital.

Consider that on top of all the other games involving teams close to these two teams in the standings, the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes are paired up with each other tonight while the Canes will host the Maple Leafs tomorrow evening. So there are going to be points doled to those we are competing with to remain viable playoff contenders.

We can only hope that those games don’t require overtime.

Because of that, winning tonight doesn’t guarantee climbing a notch on the playoff ladder…it’ll simply keep them in the discussion. But losing, especially in regulation, will deal one of these two teams a serious blow to their chances.

“We have to win”, defenseman Ron Hainsey stated regarding the Thrashers situation. “The position we’re in, we have to win a large majority, probably .800. If we get a stretch where we don’t get wins in two or three in a row, that’ll probably be the end of us.”

“As long as we keep winning, we’ll be in the conversation.”

Following tonight’s battle with the Devils, the Thrashers will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Flyers in town. One can expect they’ll have the events of last Saturday night still in mind as they pay Thrasherville a call and will look to exact a certain measure of revenge.

Then it’ll be off to Buffalo for a tilt with the Sabres before a four day break between games.

Whether or not the Thrashers will still be mentioned then on the NHL talking heads shows when they break down the playoff picture will depend a lot on how they do this week.

93 comments Add your comment

Badger Bob

March 15th, 2011
7:59 pm

Nice way to break that 16-game first period opponent scoreless streak the Devils had going.

And as soon as I hack on some guys for stone hands we see Kaner corral a pass like a Charmin-stuffed pillow and deliver a delicate pass. Then Thorbsy buries one top shelf…

Good first period. 38 more to go.

glovesave29

March 15th, 2011
8:51 pm

Looks like the final nail is in the coffin for the Phoenix Coyotes. In truth, it really is an unfair deal for the taxpayers. Hulsizer is a multi-millionaire, and to ask the city to issue bonds to pay him to buy the team, then pay him almost $100M to run the arena for 5 years is just wrong. This deal would lead to an owner who is not invested in the team and will likely run it on a shoestring budget, thus leading to poor play and low attendance.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=358151

World Be Free

March 15th, 2011
9:07 pm

Time to start getting ready or the draft

glovesave29

March 15th, 2011
9:21 pm

So that PHX goal a few weeks back was good and Kane’s isn’t?

steven

March 15th, 2011
9:22 pm

and with that terrible call goes our season

R. Stroz

March 15th, 2011
9:24 pm

REF YOU SUCK

REF YOU SUCK

REF YOU SUCK

REF YOU SUCK

REF YOU SUCK

REF YOU SUCK

REF YOU SUCK

REF YOU SUCK

AND YOUR DAMN IDIOT TOO

Sage of Bluesland

March 15th, 2011
9:28 pm

Now the blaming of the refs will commence….How sad and silly. How small.

But, then again, I don’t expect too much from some…

glovesave29

March 15th, 2011
9:28 pm

Someone needs to explain perspective to the idiots in TOR. The puck looked a equal to the crossbar on the screen because Kane IS CLOSER TO THE CAMERA! Things get smaller and come to a single point as they are further away. MORONS. All that being said, 20 shots on goal, ya really don’t deserve to win anyhow. We got outplayed. With NJ passing us, that’s really the end of this season…sigh

glovesave29

March 15th, 2011
9:29 pm

Sage – you are a fool. Go serve up your monotonous drivel elsewhere.

hockeymom92

March 15th, 2011
9:30 pm

Really wonder how that call would have gone had it been NJ and not us that made that play????

Jason

March 15th, 2011
9:32 pm

Normally don’t say stuff to a poster in a derogatory way, but Sage…GFY

glovesave29

March 15th, 2011
9:35 pm

I hereby nominate Jason’s 9:32 comment for POST OF THE YEAR

World Be Free

March 15th, 2011
9:40 pm

Jason-nice one but remember he’s not a poster, he’s a turd.

This team cannot find a way to protect a lead, change the players all you wanted but you have to protect a lead. It is that simple.

Dee. Dubya

March 15th, 2011
9:41 pm

The Sage of Suck Strikes Again…And Again…And Again…And Again

World Be Free

March 15th, 2011
9:42 pm

want not wanted

Alan R.

March 15th, 2011
9:44 pm

I second the nomination of Jason’s 9:32pm comment for POTY.

LAC

March 15th, 2011
9:47 pm

Tonight was the last nail in the playoff coffin. Again… NO PLAYOFFS, someone needs to be Fired !

How about Dud, dudley, a Great place to start !

World Be Free

March 15th, 2011
9:53 pm

What did we say right before the trade deadline? This team is 2-3 players away from being good. The Thrasher’s performance in the second half of the season supports this statement.

The team was fine until a few injuries came along and the Thrashers had to dip into their “system” for depth. Anthony Stewart does not belong-he has no heart, Mike Knuble would be a GREAT replacement.

Get a real 2nd line right winger and another center who can win faceoffs and this team will be better. It’s not here right now, better than last season, one step closer but we are not there yet. Dudley is just trying to fix what’s been broken for 10 years.

ZAvalanche

March 15th, 2011
10:24 pm

I do not think it was a high stick. Very bad and costly call.

Sage of Bluesland

March 15th, 2011
10:33 pm

…Maybe there is a conspiracy against the Thrashers? From the league offices to the officials?

Uh-huh, sure. Put your tin-foil hats back on before you get hurt…or, go take a much-needed nap on the grassy knoll…

ZAvalanche

March 15th, 2011
10:38 pm

SOB, I am not sure anybody is calling it a conspiracy – just a bad call.

oh well

March 15th, 2011
10:40 pm

Tell em Sage!

oh well

March 15th, 2011
10:41 pm

From a friend you have not heard from in quite some time. :)

oh well

March 15th, 2011
10:45 pm

Everyone please back off Sage. Thrashers gave up weeks ago. Why defend them now? Guy who was allowed to score empty net goal is all smiles. Liked retribution from Thrashers. None. No pride or courage whatsoever in this bunch. What would penalty minutes have meant? I would have paid to see IK carried out on a stretcher. Oh well. Best Sage.

Dee Dubya

March 15th, 2011
10:49 pm

Tonight’s the first time the Sage of Suck cheered for Kovalchuk.

Not Blind

March 15th, 2011
10:50 pm

You know, neither of these teams is making the playoffs. The teams ahead of them keep winning enough to make it nearly impossible. The gap is too wide. Still, winning is far better than losing to Kovalpuke. Was there a big hit in the whole game ?

ex-ex-STH

March 15th, 2011
11:24 pm

Since this is the end of the season via a bad call, Ramsey should show his passion and defend the boys! Take a fine AND SHOW YOUR VOICE ON THE TERRIBLE CALL! Quit being such a quiet little candy a$$! Yell, scream and holler to the BAD CALL! Its your season all because of another bad call! Besides Dvorak getting hooked, tripped and raped before the end of the 2nd period without a call, the officials clearly SUCKED! Say something RAMSEY or just quit and be the assistant GM. Yell and scream Ramsey!!!!

Tony C

March 15th, 2011
11:27 pm

QUestionable call, but I put this one on the coaching staff. Lemaire is the best in the business. Don’t agree? Look at NJD record before and since. Lemaire had the advantage of the last change and exploited it classically. Ramsay was exposed as the bright noob that he is. Everytime Byfuglien came over the boards after the score was tied, so did the Kovalchuk line and negated whatever impact our “superrover” might have had. Additionally, Lemaire showed different formations/vaiations that consistently clogged the neutral zone, taking away the Thrasher’s speed, and stymieing whatever tweakes Ramsay came up with (if any). Thought Bogosian had a good game, but really was disappointed by the Antropov line.

All in all, if Le Thrash stole two points in Philly, instant Karma got them as they gave away a game they could/should have had. After the 1st intermission, there was no sort of urgency on the forecheck, and that was the only thing that had prevented NJD from executing their game plan properly.

ex-ex-STH

March 15th, 2011
11:34 pm

Agreed Tony C. Ramsey is not a NHL coach. He is a great teacher for the young guys but the Thrash need a passionate yeller like a Tortarella or a Keenan. Even Terrian (the previous Pittsburgh coach) made sure his disagreements with officials were heard. I got lower bowl tickets for the last 5 games if anyone wants them.

Brendan

March 15th, 2011
11:46 pm

People, you know better than this. You really do. I’m continually amazed at just how much some of let Sage of Bluesland bother you. When all you really have to do … is ignore his posts, if they bother you. But if you like feeding him, then don’t be surprised when he comes back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths. Folks, Sage is entitled to his opinions. Just like the rest of you are. You have the right to ignore him. No one can take that right from you.

To me, that Kane’s deflection looked like a good goal. I’m not, truthfully, sure how tall Evander Kane is. But let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that he’s a smaller type player. When a smaller player raises his stick high in the air on a redirect, the refs think it’s over the crossbar. When, in fact, it might be at all. When a very tall player deflects a shot at chest height, the refs think it’s BELOW the crossbar, since his stick isn’t very high in the air. It’s frustrating. It’s really tough to tell on replays, too. So, really, it basically boils down to this. Whatever the refs called at ice level … is going to stand, due to a lack of conclusive evidence that their initial call was incorrect.

It’s a bit funny to me, but in tennis … they developed a video system to determine if the ball touches the line or not. In football, TV broadcasts show where the 1st down marker is with a yellow line embedded in the screen. We all know the yellow line is unofficial, but it’s usually correct. In hockey, the NHL has yet to develop video software that will imbed, in the visual frame, just where the height of the crossbar is. You’d think, by now, that someone would be all over this concept. We have the technology to send a fax from the moon to someone on a beach in Costa Rica. We can print out something at home … from our cellphones, at the airport. But we can’t determine the height of the crossbar … for NHL hockey games. The point? Nothing. I just think it’s funny.

Thrasherdawg

March 16th, 2011
12:01 am

Just change the rule….if the puck goes in the net off a stick it’s good. That would fix all the problems.

It was the wrong call. I have 113 inch screen and can run “frame by frame”, maybe Toronto should do the same. Toronto counts a goal that is a good foot-and-a-half over the crossbar (Phoenix game) and calls this a no-goal when it is clearly touched under the crossbar.

Maybe Toronto should get a 113 inch screen so they can see what the heck they are doing. Whatever method they are using now ain’t workin. They have cost the Thrashers at least 2 points and maybe 4. All we fans ask is that you get it right. Apparently, that seems to be alittle to much.

Thrasherdawg

March 16th, 2011
12:08 am

Two rules need to be changed in hockey…If the puck goes off the netting and stays in play keep playing. Why do you need to blow the whisle. I’ve seen to many games whee puck hits netting, no whistle, defense stops and offensive team puts the puck in the back of the net.

NHL should allow plays to continue when a puck is played with a hig stick, then there are no issues. This is not unlike clearing the puck over the glass from the defensive zone…it’s a penalty regardless of the intent.

Dee Dubya

March 16th, 2011
12:27 am

You know, I’ve been here for 11 seasons and haven’t lead this team to a playoff win yet.

And some of you Kovy is a goat…NAH…NAH…NAH

ZAvalanche

March 16th, 2011
1:03 am

That is one heck of a screen dawg, wanna have everybody over for the finals? Sage will bring the beer….

I agree that if the puck goes in off a high stick it should count, but the rule is the rule. Anybody know why that is a rule? My best guess is to prevent and deter players from raising the stick that could potentially injure a player. If the high stick doesn’t touch another player on the same team it should be completely legal.

Brendan – I kind of like to feed the trolls, if they are trolls who know what they are talking about. You got to admit that they are kind of funny :)

Brendan

March 16th, 2011
1:16 am

Not sure if a new blog is coming or what, but it might just be time to update our AJC points total contest. We finally have some eliminees, after I erroneously eliminated about 20 or so, two weeks ago.

At present, the most points Atlanta can bank is 94. With that in mind, anyone with a guess over 94-points is eliminated. There are many guesses at 93-points. So, there is no possibility of anyone at 95-points winning … by being closest. The lowest possible point total is 70-points.

With that in mind, East Point Bob’s guess of 60-points makes him eliminated this year, as LAC, at 71-points, would clearly win that tie-breaker. At 95-points and higher, and therefore eliminated, are: Flames, Diego From Lilburn, Fan From Flames Days, Will L., Spud Webb, Derrick, SomAtl95, Mr. Willson, and Cousin Eddie.

At 94-points, teetering on elimination, are: Litz, BG33Brown, Smitty, and ben.

At 93-points, and eliminated by any future regulation time loss by the Thrashers, are: thebigharybeast, J.B., Cornbread, Dandylions, and Jack. For now, you guys at 93 and 94 points are still alive.

Currently, the Thrashers have 29 wins and are .500 for the season, NHL-style. If they finish .500, they’ll end with 82-points. Oddly enough, no one guessed that number. Seriously, not one person did!! BuzzEng has 83-points. And three posters have 81-points. So, if it’s 82-points, we’ll have to go to the tie-breakers to determine our winner(s).

ZAvalanche

March 16th, 2011
1:25 am

Brendan – I cannot imagine what will happen if LAC wins – dogs and cats living together? The end of man-kind as we know it?

Smoothie, I think you said you were a golfer, so you will get this movie quote: LAC will say (in essence) “you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep. check out the name tag, you are in my world now grandma”.

Brendan

March 16th, 2011
1:29 am

Glovesave29, re: 8:51PM post, it’s amazing to see the level of chutzpah that a multi-millionaire can put on display. This guy doesn’t need any financial assistance. Or he couldn’t buy the team. He just wants someone ELSE to pay for it. It amazes me … that an owner who stands to profit from events occuring at the venue … wants the tax-payers to pay for it.

NFL played this game with Los Angeles. They figured, “there’s no way that the people won’t agree to pay for this. They love football, and will do ANYTHING to preserve it.” But they figured wrongly. And the NFL left the # 2 market in the United States … at least in part, because the ownership refused to pay the freight that it would cost to keep it there. It was a dangerous game of chicken, but the people didn’t flinch. But, as a result, Los Angeles, California, doesn’t have an NFL franchisek

ZAvalanche

March 16th, 2011
1:48 am

Wow, as of tonight it is very possible that the penguins could wind up as the 4th seed and have more points than the 2nd or 3rd. Canucks pretty much have the Presidents Trophy cinched unless they have a melt down. Washington is looking really scary and may be peaking at the right time.

I don’t see the East changing that much as far as who is in with the exception of NJ (who I think will make it). The West? Yeah, it is a mess. I don’t think 93 points will get you in and I expect Minnesota to climb the ladder to come very close if not in.

Cliff Fletcher

March 16th, 2011
6:58 am

nobody is picking on poor little sage-he’s an idiot, always has been. just another idiot in a society filled with them. he’s like the idiot that cuts you off in traffic or fails to show some sense of intelligence when the situation calls for it.

we all know the team was out of it weeks ago, though some here held hope that the thrashers may rise and grab the last playoff spot. these fans have the right to feel that way, just as sage has the right to be an idiot. idiot, turd or just plain loser, whatever you want to call him. i pity the “mrs” that has to spend quality time with him, whatever that might be.

Rawhide

March 16th, 2011
7:03 am

G’morning all…so, did Evander kane and the thrashers get jobbed on that ‘no goal’ call last night? You can debate that here in my new blog. But the Thrashers would not have even been in position if they had the ability to properly protect a two goal lead.

Shameus

March 16th, 2011
1:58 pm

Sages of Bluesland: You have been warned. Please do not force to me exercise my supreme power over the internets. If you do not believe me, just ask “Behind the Net” (”BTN”) or any of my other various and sundry band of merry men. Whenever I have a need for Vagisil application, “Behind the Net” (”BTN”) happily applies it, all from here in the comfort of my mother’s partially finished basement.

I am SHAMEUS, GLOBAL MODERATOR, LORD OF ALL THE INTERNETS.

Don’t PM me. I will PM you.

R. Stroz

March 17th, 2011
10:30 am

Rawhide

March 21st, 2011
7:29 pm

R. Stroz – Nope.