Rangers left hoping Thrashers can repeat their Broadway performance against Canes

In most cases, when you lay an egg on Broadway it’s considered a bad thing. But not when your goalie lays one up on the scoreboard in New York, as was the case Thursday night.

Behind Ondrej Pavelec’s shutout performance, the Atlanta Thrashers played one of it’s best games in many, many moons and beat the New York Rangers 3-0 in a game that was very important to their playoff chances. It was the fourth shutout of the season for Pavelec…the first since blanking the Washington Capitals 1-0 just prior to the All Star break… and the sixth of his career.

Pavelec stopped 29 Ranger shots to drop the goose egg on the ice of Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers, on the other hand, looked like a team playing with their Pucker Factor Meter cranked up to 11. The loss leaves them sitting with 91 and only one game left, Saturday afternoon against the New Jersey Devils.

Ondrej Pavelec makes one of his 29 saves Thursday night against the Rangers Ruslan Fedotenko (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Ondrej Pavelec makes one of his 29 saves Thursday night against the Rangers Ruslan Fedotenko (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

It also swings the door wide open for the Carolina Hurricanes, who sit just 2 points behind the Rangers but have two games remaining on the schedule. One of those games will be Friday night here in Atlanta. So New York will be looking for the Thrashers to have a repeat performance to help out their cause.

The Canes will close out their regular season Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Theoretically, they could still finish as high as 7th in the Eastern Conference given the Buffalo Sabres have 92 points with 2 remaining.

Buffalo will take on the Philadelphia Flyers Friday and Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday.

So by the time the Thrashers finish their 2010-11 campaign against the Penguins Sunday afternoon, we’ll already know which one of those three teams is left out of the playoff race, and they’ll have had something to say in how two of them faired down the stretch.

However, Atlanta’s 2011 Spring Spoiler Tour will be far from over as Pittsburgh has worked their way back to within one point of the Flyers. The outcome of Sunday’s game here could very well determine who winds up winning the Atlantic Division and possibly the second seed in the east.

Going back to the race lower down between the Canes, Rangers and Sabres, I have to say that of those three the one I would really like to see in the postseason the most in Carolina. If they do beat out the odds and squeak in somehow, it’ll mean the Southeast Division will send a trio of teams to this spring’s Great Hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

But to do so, the Hurricanes will need to depart Thrasherville with a pair of points, something I hope the Thrashers deny them of, or at least make them scrap hard for them. I’m a Thrashers fan first, after all.

Looking forward, if the Canes do indeed find there way in then what I’ll personally be pulling for is a Tampa Bay-Carolina Eastern Finals. Yeah, that’s a long shot given the way teams like Washington, Pittsburgh and Boston are playing…but just think of the wailing and gnashing of teeth that would come from north of the Mason-Dixon line if such a matchup were to happen in a couple of months.

Such a scenario would be made even that much sweeter if a possible Lighting vs. Hurricanes ECF were also combined with on pairing Nashville with, say, Phoenix out west…or Dallas if they were to pull off the miracle finish.

85 comments Add your comment

WTF?

April 8th, 2011
1:05 pm

No matter how much you dreamers want a southeastern team in the finals, it’s not gonna happen. Besides why pull for those same southeastern teams that absoultely owned Atlanta this year. You are supposed to hate those teams and not pull for them. Just shows how we don’t have any real NHL fans in Atlanta. You fools probably pulled for Green Bay in the super bowl because they are in the NFC yet they beat the crap out of Atlanta. Fair weather fans here in Atlanta.

Spud Webb

April 8th, 2011
1:05 pm

Agreed on a lot there WBF, Gragnani, LOVE that dude, man crush for sure. I think Guasted will be gone also, sooooooooo slow footed. Love his faceoffs.
Glad the russian had a good game! nice!!!

Red Light

April 8th, 2011
1:07 pm

Yes, ZAvs, imagine where this team would be without two back-ups in goal? But, remember neither are No. 1s, not even the guy who played last night and got his fourth shutout, the same number that Luongo, Ward, Roloson and Crawford have this year. Imagine if he had a higher save percentage than .916? Then, he would be even farther ahead of Ryan Miller, Roloson, Halak, Howard, Kirpusoff and Brodeur!

The Thrashers last won consecutive-night, back-to-back games on Oct. 15 and Oct. 16 against Anaheim and San Jose. They played a “great” “wonderful” “smart” game last night. Too bad about the coach who can’t!

Me, cynical? Nah.

Rawhide

April 8th, 2011
1:26 pm

Uncle Milty – First, allow me to address your very reasonable response as to why you wouldn’t mind seeing Tampa Bay and Carolina in the eastern finals. regardless of you is playing in may and June, they’ll be many fine players from Canada participating. I’ve no issue with that at all.

True hockey fans, which I’m sure you are one, don’t see the sport fenced in by regional boundaries. Good hockey teams and good hockey players are what we want to tune into watch during the CF and SCF. It doesn’t matter what division or part of North America they are from.

To put an opposite spin on it, I’m sure there are many in these parts that would not like to see Montreal or Pittsburgh face Vancouver simply because of where they are from. Not me…I think that would be would be a great finals matchup.

But that leads me to your initial comment, that I have some sort of ‘skewed’ perception of fans in other places. No…I most certainly do not. We in the SE have had to deal with many, many fans that simply detest the fact that our sport is played in this region. For some odd reason they feel NHL hockey should be limited to only certain parts of the continent. Believe me, we’ve had to put up with their type for years.

Are they a majority sampling of hockey fans? No, probably not. But they are indeed there.

Spud Webb

April 8th, 2011
1:43 pm

WTF, so Tampa and or Washington don’t have a chance to go to the finals? Come on, those two can play w anybody in the league & the east.
I’m not one of those root for conference or division guys, but the reality is, either of those teams could end up representing the east.

BluelandBELIEVER

April 8th, 2011
1:46 pm

Hell, give the canes and point and then get the OT winner Thrashers. Anything to screw over the rangers.

Back from NJ

April 8th, 2011
1:47 pm

Blogmaster…my issue with the “Mason-Dixon line” comment was that you left out the Crapitols. They play on the right side of the line (and most of their fans probably are too). I’m rooting for the ‘Canes because I like their fan base. I want to hate TB, but I have always been a huge Stevie-Y fan so I have mixed feeling about them.

Rawhide

April 8th, 2011
1:52 pm

Back from NJ – Point taken about the Caps and their fan base. ‘Twas an oversight on my part.

Personally, that’s where I originate from…born in Falls Church, VA.

KLS1

April 8th, 2011
2:23 pm

Smoothie is right about Mark Stuart…he is composed but still can make the hit. There is some concern from the other team when he is out there…how many times have we been able to say that?

Did you see the play where he stepped in behind Pavs and knocked the puck out from the far post attempt…solid position play, just solid.

Hockey Biltong

April 8th, 2011
2:51 pm

Wtf, we owned the scrapitols. Nobody else in our division, but hey, thats the way it is. Btw. Rooting for teams in your division supports the logic of being part of that strong division. Especially if they win.Mind over matter for most of us.
Keep struggling with your issues. We all hope for the best for you.

Brendan

April 8th, 2011
3:47 pm

Spudd, what do you think of Atlanta’s pick # 38 in the 2011 Draft for Drew Stafford? Or are you thinking, try pick # 8; Stafford is a 30-goal scorer, who scores a goal every other game, on average this season? He’s also nearly a point-a-game player, who hasn’t even hit his PRIME yet, at 25. http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8471226.

I’m interested in Derek Roy, also. Pominville, not as much. Pominville is way overpaid, which makes getting his contract a relatively easy thing. Vanek has three (3) years left on his contract, @ $6.4 million-per-annum. I’d do that for pick # 38 in a heartbeat! And Darcy Regier would punch me in the mouth. Derek Roy has two (2) years left at $4.5 million and $5.5 million.

Red Light

April 8th, 2011
3:59 pm

Brendan:

Isn’t Stafford simply a carbon copy of Wheeler? And with both being restricted free agents expecting a raise off decent seasons (Stafford’s has been better, but Wheeler seems to work harder more consistently), are you willing to give them both a spot on the wing for the top 2 lines?

Red Light

April 8th, 2011
4:00 pm

Stafford = $2.2 million this season. Wheeler = $1.9 million this season.

Don Waddell

April 8th, 2011
4:03 pm

Brendan would make me look good, if he was a GM.

Frosty the snowman

April 8th, 2011
5:14 pm

***This team is young and getting more experienced by the day. I have really enjoyed the hockey they have played down the stretch. The part about not playing like this every game is purely (in my opinion) due to a lack of team chemistry***

Not picking on you Z AVALANCE…… but someone makes this statement every year around this time. It’s always next year, and they just need to build chemistry, and this guy we just traded for is gonna be awesome and then that following year that player slides in his own terd on the ice for the season and we end up doggin him. This team as it stands, will not make the playoffs next year. A major overhaul from top to bottom would be required to make the playoffs.

Tom

April 8th, 2011
8:56 pm

Bogo gives 2 gifts, Stewart gives another – Happy Birthday Carolina, you may be going to the playoffs…

Think Torts isn’t watching this game screaming at the television?

R. Stroztradamus

April 8th, 2011
9:44 pm

Time for Predictions:

1) All point contestants with 83 and 84 points are eliminated.

2) The Thrashers will lose tonight’s game against Carolina.

Bank on it.

Frosty the snowman

April 8th, 2011
9:45 pm

Mr. Rawhide I believe I have a comment from earlier that has not been posted?

jim

April 8th, 2011
9:56 pm

Read the Winnipeg Free Press online today…who is the Balkan?!! Sounds like there is stuff going on…I hope Mr.Kincade is right about what he is saying in his interview….fascinating.

LAC

April 8th, 2011
10:39 pm

What can you say about tonights game… Watching my grass grow was better than this game.
How could you be so good one night and flop the next ? Just another SAD part of another losing season in Atlanta !

Lastly, why did NOBODY ever touch Erik Cole ? He should have the first target of the game, rough
him up abit and it turns the tide, we did not and had the Tide clean our clocks !!!

Don’t know who it was, who commented about Stewart, But I agree… Good-Bye !

big duece

April 8th, 2011
10:44 pm

The thrashers really are an ahl team like so many have stated.

LAC

April 8th, 2011
10:44 pm

The only thing I could find in The Winnipeg Free Press, was This headline…..

Chicken barn explodes, but no birds hurt

Now don’t that sound like a GREAT place to live & Play hockey in ???????

Brendan

April 8th, 2011
11:21 pm

Red Light, yes I would. I’d give them both a spot. They deserve it. Let the best players earn the positions, as top six forwards.

AJC.com updated … Russ and BuzzEng are now eliminated. So now, it comes down to Ex-STH, Red Light, WBF, Brendan, and polskidawg. If the Thrashers manage one or more points, the winners, plural, will be Brendan and polskidawg. If the Thrashers lose in regulation, it’ll come down to whether the Thrashers finish 11th, giving Red Light and WBF the win, or 12th in the East, giving Ex-STH the win. Good luck.

Fan Appreciation Day? Jerseys Off Backs???

April 8th, 2011
11:25 pm

Are the Thrashers having Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday? Are they doing the jerseys off our backs? I did not see any mention of it. ????? OR is the ASG so frickin cheap/broke they have cut this out too? God – please help us.

Brendan

April 8th, 2011
11:26 pm

Carolina is now 8th in the East. If they hang on, that’s three (3) teams from the Southeast Division. Interestlingly, I do wonder if this would be the first time in 15 or more years that the New York City region was entirely shutout of the playoffs. Devils and Islanders are eliminated, and the Rangers teeter on the brink. That won’t help hockey’s ratings, having the # 1 market in the country outside of the dance.

Chicago just may be defending their title after all. I hope the Bhawks get the Canucks in the opening round. I sure don’t want to see the Coyotes vs. the Red Wings again. Can’t that Phoenix team catch a break? I’d like an LA-Phoenix series. But, if it’s LA-Nashville, then that’s still good. San Jose vs. Phoenix is intriguing as a 1st rounder.

Brendan

April 8th, 2011
11:37 pm

Nashville punched their ticket tonight! Yes! As did Buffalo, by reaching overtime and then winning it, on the goal by Vanek.

Dallas hung on, for a 3-2 win. They’re still alive. Phoenix is up, 3-1, on San Jose, in the 2nd period. Chicago won their game with Detroit, 4-2. Anaheim and LA are tied, 1-1, in the 2nd period.

Wayne stuck in AL

April 9th, 2011
12:25 am

Sadly, what will be the final game of the Thrashers in Atlanta, it will not be on TV Sunday.

(I don’t believe in this Kincade-”Balkan” nonsense.)

Brendan

April 9th, 2011
12:46 am

Anaheim beat LA and the Coyotes held on for the win over San Jose.

Did Florida just lose its tenth (10th ) game in-a-row? Operation “Tank It” for them, I suppose.

Brendan

April 9th, 2011
12:52 am

Andrew Brunette scored his 18th goal of the season. How many years has it been since the Thrashers determined that Brunette’s services weren’t necessary? How many goals has Brunette scored since then?

PensFan

April 9th, 2011
5:21 am

If Pittsburgh advances and plays the Caps without Crosby, they have very little chance of making it to the finals. They have just been too dominant defensively over the Pens in recent matchups. Malkin is gone for the year too. These Caps are no longer the ole Caps that were soft.

My rankings for the East if Pens dont have Crosby by the second round
1) Caps
2) Who the hell knows
If Pens have Crosby
1) Caps
2) Pens
3) Who the hell knows.

Let’s see if MAF can maintain his regular season excellence in the playoffs. He was flat out awful last year in the playoffs.

Always Hoping

April 9th, 2011
6:30 am

Kincade is a tool. He’s in a no lose situation. If someone should step forward he’ll proudly proclaim “See I was right!” If no one steps up he’ll utter “The Balkan who wishes to remain anonymous was unable to strike a deal.”

He needs to knock his silly tweets off until he can give us a name. One of the benefits of missing the playoffs is no longer having to listen to his b.s.

Rawhide

April 9th, 2011
8:18 am

PensFan – That’s about as insightful a breakdown of the eastern playoff picture as I’ve seen. :lol:

Good luck to your Penguins…after tomorrow afternoon, I mean. :cool:

As for our Thrashers….well, last night as we were walking out of Philips Arena someone asked me just what I was going to write about that game. My reply…”Probaby nothing”. What can be said about it, really?

Instead I’ve tried to find a little something positive on this the last weekend of a lost Thrashers season…and here it is.

Joe Friday

April 9th, 2011
8:22 am

Find out last night that they’ve fired two more of the bartenders in the clubs, for a ridiculous reason, then two more have quit in frustration. We need new owners so badly . . .

Good thing Ramsay called timeout there or it could have been 7-0!

Let’s review Ramsay’s job this year and see if he warrants a second chance this year:

I pegged this lineup at 79 pts last fall, we’re at 80 and might get 82 if the Pens lay down tomorrow. Did he coach this roster up? Nope.

Pavs has regressed this season, started out very strong, but last night showed the level of his frustration. Why has Ramsay been playing Mason so much lately? Obviously Pavs is frustrated by the situation here. Did we develop our franchise goalie this season? Nope.

Is the system implemented by Ramsay a successful one that will lead to this core group jelling into a Stanley Cup contender? Nope.

What young players have shown marked improvement in their play this year under Ramsay’s tutelege? Bogosian? Nope. Kane? Has shown some signs the last quarter of the season, but not a marked improvement. Litlle? Back to the form he showed two years ago. Stewart? Nope. Ladd is Ladd. Enstrom is Enstrom. Buf has regressed. Burmistrov? Nope. Has Ramsay elevated anyone’s game on this roster? Nope.

He hasn’t elevated any of our player’s game and his system isn’t a winning one. His in game decision making is puzzling and his line changes are confounding, it shows in the incredible amount of back to back (and to back again sometimes) goals we give up.

Can anyone make a case showing that Ramsay has been effective this year?

Move Buf up front to top line RW and if we can get a new owner by July 1st then mabye we can sign Bieksa and a top 6 forward and bring in a new coach and compete next year.

R. Stroz

April 11th, 2011
2:52 am

Rawhide

April 12th, 2011
4:10 pm

R. Stroz – Nope.