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

English Teacher

April 7th, 2011
10:40 pm

English Teacher

April 7th, 2011
10:41 pm

How about that? Frankly, I’m tired of pulling for my home team to be a spoiler.

SomaAtl95

April 7th, 2011
10:42 pm

Payback for playoffs a few years ago, Rangers. Sucks doesn’t it?

Big and Little

April 7th, 2011
10:43 pm

Nice writeup Bill. Hope to see you tomorrow night. Should be a fun game…..

Tom

April 7th, 2011
10:43 pm

Do you think that if the Rangers miss out on the playoffs again this year that Torts will still have his job?

ZAvalanche

April 7th, 2011
10:45 pm

Fantastic game by Thrashy tonight. I thought Bogo made some key defensive moves on the first PK. Little and Ladd had full stride tonight. Ranger Fan is going to be rubbing their sweaty palms together the next few days and Carolina Fan is going to be buying stock in Thrashy (I wish).

Looks like Dallas is going to get 2 of the 4 pts needed to get in by leading CO 4-2. Bummer.

ZAvalanche

April 7th, 2011
10:46 pm

Tom, I think the Rangers would be making a huge mistake by ditching Torts.

ZAvalanche

April 7th, 2011
10:57 pm

Blog Master, I see a Tampa vs Vancouver match for the cup. I would have had LA as a spoiler but with their recent injuries I have to take them out as I think Nashville or Phoenix will toast them, and you have to think that LA is hoping for Phoenix. Chicago or Dallas will face Vancouver and they have to be a bit worried. Put the body on and pound the Sedins, only way to make it work.

I don’t think Carolina will catch Buffablow, but they can make it in. Sorry Ranger Fan. Tampa has to be worried about a healthy Pitt, that is going to be an ugly series. I would love to see Boston and Philly as the ECF, kind of like a UFC match.

Hoof Arted

April 7th, 2011
11:16 pm

Can you just imagine a finals between Tampa Bay and Phoenix. Or Carolina vs Nashville?

I think Canada would boycott it. LOL!

Go Preds! Go Yotes! Go Bolts!

ZAvalanche

April 7th, 2011
11:17 pm

LOL @ Hoof – that would be darn funny!

Smoothie

April 7th, 2011
11:19 pm

Better to drop a goose egg than a giant goose turd the size of Manhattan. Good win fellas!

Sucks being spoiler but why not dish out some more bitter disappointment tomorrow night against the damn Canes. We owe Erik Cole and company a giant a$$ whuppin so have at it kids, go out there and make us proud for once. I’d like to see a 4 to 3 OT win with Cole on the ice for the GWGA. Canes can earn a point and still squeak in with a win as long as NYR lose right? Looks like we’ll need the whole season to determine the outcome of my bet with Red Light.

Who else is going tomorrow night? I’ll be somewhere in the 200’s, gotta look at the tkts.

Rawhide

April 7th, 2011
11:28 pm

Hoof Arted – The hockey gods could only love us so much…but that’s exactly what I’m hoping for.

B and L – I’ll see ya there, my friend!

ZAvs – Even though I’d like to see teams like Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Dallas or Carolina make it to the finals, I’m thinking Canucks-Caps right now. Detroit and Pittsburgh could have a lot to say about that though.

Regardless, I’m starting to get jazzed for next week’s start to the playoffs.

Smoothie – I’ll be there with the younger tax-exemption and his lady friend. Where my seats are…I won’t know that ’til I retrieve whatever KB has left for me at will-call. I’ll let ya know though.

Brendan

April 7th, 2011
11:42 pm

Looks like Vancouver is going to add yet another win to their amazing 2011 point totals. They lead Minnesota, 4-0, through two periods. Who would have thought the Canucks would be having this kind of season, when GM Mike Gillis was hired, two years ago?

FanFromCarolina, good luck to the ‘Canes. I am pulling for them to make it in. I had posted in an earlier blog, that as fans debate the strength and weaknesses of the various divisions, that it looks better for the SE Division to send three (3) entrants into the hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup. I like Carolina’s chances against either Washington or Philadelphia. I think they could push the series to six or seven games, for sure. The good thing for Carolina now is … they control their own destiny. It’s up to them to win out against Atlanta and Tampa Bay.

Montreal was QUITE FORTUNATE to gain a point against the Ottawa Senators, tonight. Ottawa was eleven seconds away from a regulation time win, when the player I pressed to acquire from Los Angeles, when he was a King, Mike Cammalleri, scored to force overtime. I told told, “Cammalleri’s too slow. He can’t keep up with Kovalchuk.” Well, if Mike Cammalleri sucks so much, why has he scored so many goals in the NHL? Clearly, he does not suck. Kuba was the OT hero for Ottawa.

WBF, I know Buffalo has new ownership, committed to winning, but do you think any overpriced Sabres could be headed out of town to let Regier go shopping and trading this offseason? Vanek, Roy, and Pomminville have some trade value. Stafford have something like 30-31 goals in some sixty-odd games. Vanek has 31, I think, but he’s played almost every game this year.

ZAvalanche, unfortunately, I missed Stewart’s big play, but I might be able to catch in on Comcast’s “OnDemand.”

I’m not much of a Dallas Stars fan, but I’d like Kari Lehtonen to get a chance to redeem himself for those 2007 playoffs. What a shootout, last night, between the Kings and the Coyotes. I hope the Coyotes and Predators can finally get a playoff series win in their respective cities this year.

My pick to win the Cup is Washington, but I honestly can’t say that the Caps will escape the first round. Buffalo or Carolina could be a troublesome matchup.

An AJC.com point totals update is coming up next.

Jethro

April 7th, 2011
11:49 pm

I dun bean elemonaded frum the powints contest.

LAC

April 7th, 2011
11:51 pm

I just have to question WHY can we not play like this every game ?? This has been an issue
all season. Next season…. Same thing ???

LAC

April 8th, 2011
12:07 am

“He wasn’t hot. We didn’t play well,” Tortorella said.

This is the comment on MSG network tortorella said about Pav’s… And he is an NHL coach ?
What game was HE at Thursday night ? Was he drunk ? What ? Pav’s WAS Hot and made
a number of Point Blank Saves….

tortorella, needs to get a life after That stupid comment, I hope they don’t make it and he gets Fired, Good Riddence !!!

ZAvalanche

April 8th, 2011
12:15 am

LAC, I don’t think the same thing will happen next year. 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. It will gel and Thrashy is going to be a 6th seed next year – yup, you heard it here first.

Brendan, a solid PF with good hands and speed is hard to find, see if you can get the clip of Stewy roasting 2 defenders. Guaranteed you will enjoy it. As for our discussion as to who “won” the trade, I think it is win-win. Charlie Sheen would agree :)

Carolina Fan, I hope you make it, I would love nothing more to see the big market knocked out (they play the Devils) and replaced by a southern team. Thrashy made me proud today and my NYC buddies are p!ssed as hell at me for rooting for them. Lundqvist looked mortal tonight and if he doesn’t pick it up he is going to be golfing soon – but he has to talk some trash to Carolina and cross his fingers.

Blog Master – hmmm, Caps vs Canucks. One of those will be upset I think. I hate Vancouver, LA, San Jose and Dallas, most especially Detroit, so I am hoping for some upsets in the West. In the East, I really don’t have a problem with any team other than the Devils, but I would like to see a southern team make it to the cup again. I still want the Preds in the cup final.

To all of the posters who say Pavs doesn’t get it done, you are eating crow right now. He was FANTASTIC tonight. Pick up some solid D and Thrashy will be a strong team next year. It takes time to grow into the game, obviously, and Thrashy is doing that. Bogo was good as well, though he gets hammered on this board.

Anybody else super excited to see some playoff hockey?? Best game in the world. By far.

Brendan

April 8th, 2011
12:55 am

Well, back when we were stuck on 60-points, I questioned whether we’d make it back to 76-points. Now, it seems, we actually have an outside chance of equaling the 83-points of the 2010 season. To do that, we’ll need a win and an OTL or SOL. I think we could beat the Penguins on Sunday. That gets us to 82-points, but we’d need a pity point in Friday’s Hurricanes game.

Keith Jones, the mental Giant of the Versus crew, has already decreed that Carolina will trounce us, since we’re tired from tonight, and don’t have Carolina’s talent. I think he specifically said that Carolina has dominated us, and that Cam Ward would shut us down. Well, I guess we’d better not watch that game, then, huh?

Okay, a few more eliminees in the contest. With the win, the following posters, at 78 and 79-points, are eliminated: Nate, Jethro, Zoomo, Joe Friday, and Curly.

Still alive, at 80-points, are: Red Light, WBF, and Ex-STH. Eliminated, at 80-points, is J-Man, because he has the Thrashers 13th in the Conference, and Atlanta will either finish 11th or 12th. At 81-points, Brendan and polskidawg are still alive, tied to an 11th place Conference finish. Dwayne is eliminated, at 81-points, because he has the Thrashers 3rd in the SE Division, and Atlanta has clinched the 4th spot. At 83-points, all by himself, is BuzzEng. And, at 84-points, is Russ. R.Stroz, and J(Z) are eliminated at 84-points because they do not have the Thrashers in the 4th spot in the SE Division, therefore, they lose the tie-breaker to Russ.

So, to recap, if the Thrashers finish with 84-points, Russ wins the tie-breaker over R.Stroz and J(Z), because Russ has the Thrashers in 4th place in the SE Division and R.Stroz and J(Z) do not. If the Thrashers finish with 83-points, BuzzEng wins the contest. If the Thrashers finish with 81-points, dwayne loses the tie-breaker to both polskidawg and Brendan, who would share the victory, with identical guesses of 81, 4th, and 11th. If the Thrashers finish with 80-points, it’s a nail-biter! WBF, Red Light, and Ex-STH all have the Thrashers at 4th in the SE, as does J-Man. However, J-Man has the Thrashers 13th, which eliminates him. Ex-STH has them 12th, and WBF and Red Light have identical picks of 11th. The 11th and 12th place spots are neck-n-neck between Atlanta and NJ.

Remember, the first tie-breaker criteria is SE Division rank. The second tie-breaker is rank within the Eastern Conference. If there are identical winning picks, we’ll have multiple winners. In the event that no one guesses the correct total, we’ll go to whoever is closest, based on the tie-breakers. If, for example, the Thrashers finish with 82-points, nobody guessed that. BuzzEng had 83-points, 4th in SE, and 10th in East, while polskidawg and Brendan have 81-points, 4th and 11th in the East. In that case, BuzzEng is eliminated because he tied his 2nd tie-breaker to 10th place in the East, which Toronto has now clinched. Atlanta can only finish 11th or 12th in the East.

With two games left, we have seven (7) posters still alive, out of 83, last October: Russ, BuzzEng, polskidawg, Brendan, WBF, Red Light, and Ex-STH. Good luck to all of you. Thanks to all that played.

R. Stroz

April 8th, 2011
1:26 am

If the Thrashers finish with 84 points, I will declare a Meat Loaf victory with my forecast of 84 points, 3rd in the division, and 11th in the conference.

For those of you wondering what a Meat Loaf victory is, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”

Brendan

April 8th, 2011
1:36 am

I caught it, right away, R.Stroz. It’s been a really, really close contest this year. I hope it’s 83-points, so we can equal last year’s total, in our first full year without Kovalchuk. And then, the person with the best handle, BuzzEng, would win the contest.

VOLinATL

April 8th, 2011
5:24 am

Too bad we didn’t play like this earlier this year…

World Be Free

April 8th, 2011
7:41 am

Folks, don’t be surprised if Buffalo folds this weekend. I am sttill not toally sold on this team, they would be cooked if they did not have Enroth, he’s the reason they are still in this. The choice to keep Patricl LaLime (LaLame) as the backup was horrible this season-no value other than being Ryan Miller’s buddy, that’s it.

Rangers just blew it last night. I give our guys credit, but will give them more credit if they can beat Carolina tonight. Now that would make me happy!

Brendan, not sure what Buffalo will do this summer. Vanek will be named captain because he earned it, especially after his hattie the other night. Sabres have some kids to bring up, or deal if they want to win now. Buffalo has developed their players well in the minors; their kids are their future. They are a team to watch on July 1, a darkhorse for Brad Richards, in my opinion.

LAC

April 8th, 2011
7:43 am

Z, I hope you are right, We looked forward to making the playoffs this season, but it seems we lay an egg after the first of the year, Every year. We need some changes, YES, but we have scored as many goals as Washington. But look at the GA, This has KILLED Atlanta for years and defense has prevented us from becoming a playoff team. We MUST make solid changes on defense, or
do what Washington did and chamge the system and play a defensive first system.

I AGAIN, agree with Smoothie… We OWE Carolina an A$$ Whipping , like the 9-0 one we handed them in 2006. If someone does not lay Erik Cole out along the boards or on the ice, I will be very disappointed, he has cost us this season 7 points I figure.

Brenden, keith jones needs to go wherever and get back in his hole. He $ucks, like I have never seen. As I rarely watch versus, I don’t see him, but he may as well come out on the air and say, “I Hate Atlanta, I hate the Team, The City and ESP Their FANS.” Then he would be telling the truth, he is simply one of the WORST hockey has to offer ! He should never be allowed on TV ever !

But I still think of all the goals and points zach has cost us this season, I really feel if he was gone this season, we would be in the playoffs. Wishful Thinking.

Let’s hope for a BIG WIN Tonight ! And another Pittsburgh beatdown would leave a refreshing taste
in our mouths going into next season.

World Be Free

April 8th, 2011
7:57 am

I do not see Torts getting fired in New York. The Rangers have had injuries to key players this season. I thouight they played extremely well when they were in here mid season with half their players injured. Torts seems to get alot out his players, the Rangers made a great comeback Monday night. Like the Thrashers, they are a few pieces short of being real good. The King is tired in the nets and he looks it lately. Shows you the value of having goaltender depth in your organization, which we do not have.

I like Vancouver alot, so much dedication to team play. Detroit is looking very old right now, but I would not count them out. This playoff season is going to be wide open, some great hockey ahead.

JT from Columbus

April 8th, 2011
8:11 am

I can’t believe it only took about 6min before the announcers started talking about the “State of the Franchise in Atlanta”. It made it all the sweeter when we kicked their behinds. When are these people gonna get over it?

World Be Free

April 8th, 2011
8:12 am

Brendan-I wish I was totally wrong about estimating where we would be at season’s end.

Buzzeng

April 8th, 2011
8:51 am

(also posted on Viv’s board…) From the “Woulda-Shoulda-Coulda” department comes this gem… with winning records against the Flyers, Crapitols and Ranjerks, and tying records with Montreal and Boston, it would have been really nice to see what we could have done in the playoffs…Of course, we would have probably ended up playing TB or Buffalo in the first round…

Rawhide

April 8th, 2011
8:52 am

The highest point total the Thrashers can finish with now is 84. That’s interesting.

Why? Well see, if the Thrashers were to win these last two games and finish with 84 points, do you realize that would be the third highest points total in franchise history? Uh-huh…yup.

2006-07 = 97 points
2005-06 = 90 point
2009-10 = 83 points

Question is, would that be considered an “accomplishment” for a first-year coach…or just sad that 84 points would be better than 8 of the 11 seasons?

jimbo

April 8th, 2011
8:55 am

Is this Ground Hog Day or what? Every year once the pressure is off, we seem to play well. Certainly points to the lack of a veteran presence that can stabilize a young team during the down periods that hit every team. Add to it, the absolute inability of a coach to motivate a group of young men or to change strategies mid course and this Ground Hog Day is likely to be repeated next year. Does anyone know of any other business where you produce an inferior product year after year and then blame potential customers for not buying your crap? UNBELIEVABLE!

J-man

April 8th, 2011
9:02 am

Even if the Thrashers fail to pick up a point in the final 2 games, Dudley will declare the season a success and I’d expect a comment along of the lines of “We’re already ahead of schedule” or something similar. It will be up to us fans to decide if we agree with that or not.

KLS1

April 8th, 2011
9:11 am

I love how we play against the Rangers…you can tell they hate playing us, its like how we play against Tampa, like we know we are going to lose.

Great game! Re-sign Ladd and give Schremp a spot next year to compete for a job…this team desperately needs a player with good hands to make plays with Burmi. Plus over the course of a season he could give us 5 or 6 points by scoring in shoot outs.

Old Time Hockey

April 8th, 2011
9:12 am

Exciting game. The kind of game that makes people want to watch. After the first 4-5 minutes they played a pretty good game. Aggressive play, great goaltending and a little luck. Sort of like the first half of the season. I really liked the way they challenged the Rangers. Pushing up ice. Wheeler would get the puck and drive it down the ice until someone stepped up to stop him. The million dollar question is why they can’t play like that every night. It really makes you wonder HOW to get them to do that every game. Maybe they need a psychologist more than anything. What’s Jack LLewellyn doing these days? Worked with Smoltz, maybe he can transform an entire team.

Also have to admit as much as I hate the Rangers, I was impressed again with Sam Rosen’s call of the game. Obvious homer, but gave credit to Thrashers every time they earned it. Plus that voice would make reading the phone book sound good.

Brendan

April 8th, 2011
9:32 am

Rawhide, the more disappointing thing, by far, is if the Thrashers actually do hit 84-points, they’re locked into 11th place. Which means, what? Say it with me, for the eighth time in eleven season (8/11) the Thrashers will have finished in the BOTTOM THIRD of the Eastern Conference.

Truly, we are a franchise that does not catch many breaks. Maybe trading the 7th or 8th overall pick for a proven Tier I player can be accomplished at the morning of the Draft?

Spud Webb

April 8th, 2011
9:35 am

WBF, Vanek has turned into the player we’d hoped he be, not 50 goals a season, but 30 and responsable play on both ends. A haas in front of the net and skates hard, every shift. Very unlike his first few years in the league.
I believe Roy & Pominville will be gone, stafford has saved his hide for the time being. I personally wouldn’t mind all 3 being shipped out. If i have to watch Roy and Pominville try to make a play, fall down and complain to the refs while the play is going to the other end one more time i’ll throw up. Roy especially is a dive king…too soft for my liking, let him go to broadway and or LA, he can continue acting there. ahhahaahhhaahah
Great game by the Thrash last night, I didn’t get to watch, how did the russian D man look?

Brendan

April 8th, 2011
9:39 am

Since February 25th’s OTL versus the Panthers, when the team was 25-26-10, the team has gone 9-8-2, for a mark above .500, since that point. Prior to it, the team was playing at about a .333 clip for the previous 30 games or so. And a dysmal .150 clip during a portion that absolutely locked us out of the playoffs, as highlighted by the loss, in Edmonton, versus the Oilers.

Here’s a link: http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/teams/schedule/ATL/

Truly, when we were locked on to 60-points, it looked as if LAC would win the AJC.com points contest with his lowball pick. We WERE on pace for that kind of finish, before Clint Malarchuk screamed at the boys and woke them up. But, as Sage of Bluesland might say, “Yeah, lotta good it did. Just blew our lottery draft pick.” Sadly, that may be true.

WBF, I don’t think Torts will get fired in NY. He did a lot with a team that I, personally, didn’t think would come within a “sniff” of the playoffs, with Todd White and Erik Christensen, as their Centers, in preseason. The Rangers can still make the playoffs, they just need help, now.

WBF, the Sabres will probably spend, spend, spend during this offseason. I’d like to relieve them of Drew Stafford, if they feel he “disappears” too much, in Buffalo.

Rawhide

April 8th, 2011
9:48 am

Spudster – I thought Zubarev played very well. Looked very comfortable out there. He made a really nice pass to Schremp for on the game’s first goal…it was AZ’s first NHL career point.

He finished with the assists, 4 hits and 1 holding penalty during 16:41 TOI.

Spud Webb

April 8th, 2011
9:56 am

Thanks Rawhide.
Brendan to your point, Stafford is only 24 and does disappear at times. I think he has 30 goals this season, with 4 hat tricks. So i believe he’s played around 60 games, so 4 games 12 goals, 56 games 18 goals. Decent sure, but worth the amount of money he’s going to want come contract time? Not sure, again he’s ONLY 24 years old. Time is now though, being the 13th overall pick in 2004, its now time to either step up and be a star for the sabres, or step down and be a 3rd liner for your career. All of this is just my opinion, but watching almost every sabre game this year, I wouldn’t give up a bunch if I were the thrashers to get Stafford.

Spud Webb

April 8th, 2011
10:25 am

& Where is RL after this Ranger choke job to end the season! I need some insight RL?? Is Torts gone? What changes are coming for the boys in blue up there?

Midfield

April 8th, 2011
10:55 am

Tortorella’d better have second thoughts about sending his troops to block Chara’s shots from the point at all cost the other night. Rangers are toast without Callahan.

DWTOO

April 8th, 2011
10:56 am

C’mon Spud give our man Red Light a break here. He’s probably still on hold with the suicide hotline.

bulldog52

April 8th, 2011
11:00 am

it is amazing how one win can make most of the comments think in a positive vain. The team is still not good enough to make the playoffs next year. If you keep the same coach and the same owners think maybe 85 points next year?I guess most of you are old cub fan wait till next year..

ZAvalanche

April 8th, 2011
11:15 am

WBF, you are correct, Trots will not get the can. And a lot of people don’t understand how tiring playing that many games as a goalie is, and having no real solid backup. HL is beat tired.

LAC, like I have said for a while, this team doesn’t have a problem scoring, they have a problem defending. There were several situations last night where the defender had to turn around and chase when they should have already been playing back. And it wasn’t because the Rangers had some sort of incredible outlet pass, just bad positioning by the D. And as I have stated before, I have zero problem with D jumping up, but when they do, the center or one of the wings needs to see this and rotate back to cover. Watch the Wings play, they do this all the time, it is a veritable Merry-go-round of offense and defense.

Pavs was outstanding. I thought he looked quick and really on top of the wrap around chances with his pads. **thumbs up to pavs**

I do believe Malkin will be playing, but Pitt would be a fool to play Crosby before the playoffs. I really wonder if Vancouver will “rest” their stars before the first round. Coach Dungy, formerly of the Colts, should call and tell them not to. When you are in a stride, you don’t break it.

WBF – Detroit is always scary, no matter what position they are in but Vancouver is soooo deep, that club took the Detroit snapshot and built like they did. And guess what, it worked……very well. As much as I loathe Detroit, they have a system for building awesome teams every year. Charlie Sheen would call them a “winner”. Perhaps they drink tiger blood?

ZAvalanche

April 8th, 2011
11:20 am

bulldog52 – I think you are wrong. This team has the skill, but is very young and lacks some solid veteran D. Sign two big D in the off season and this team is in the playoffs next year, guaranteed. Their problem, which I think RL or WBF stated a while ago, is that they play to the level of the opposition. When they grow up, they will kill it. Wheeler was an amazing trade and he is going to be a superstar in a few years.

Smoothie

April 8th, 2011
11:48 am

You know who played really well? Mark Stuart. 7 hits??! Wow, this guy is all grit and heart, tough as freakin’ nails. The new Garnet Exelby, but a helluva lot better skater. Bogosian played well. There, I said it. And Zubie looked a lot more comfortable last nite, however, he is still quite raw. Don’t see him ever being more than a #7 depth D-man with potential for #6. We shall see.

Bring on the Canes and rain on their parade, payback is a dish served best wet and tropical. Suck it Carolina!!

Smoothie

April 8th, 2011
11:49 am

I’m sorry, I meant 7 BLOCKED SHOTS!! Even more impressive. And he still dished out 3 hits. MONSTER!

World Be Free

April 8th, 2011
12:13 pm

Spud, Vanek grew up, finally-he is finally earning his money. Just goes to show you that sometimes it takes players time to get it together. Shanahan took time to mature on the ice.
Not sure where the team will go with Roy or Pominville. Roy is not a number one center, but was forced into the role once Briere and Drury left. Pominville has been overpaid for a long time, despite his skills on the special teams. I have never been a big fan of Pominville. Speaking of Briere, is it me or does Gerbe remind you of Briere? Two little guys that make players at the right time, good 3rd period guys. Get the kids like Adam, Byron, Gragnani up to the big club; I am a huge fan of Mike Weber, good that they left him in the minors to develop.
Zubarov was much better last night, great pass to Schremp on the first goal. He was much more relaxed and looked better out there. Bogo played better last night too-the entire team was loose. Hope it happens again tonight.

Brendan-Stafford was playinmg for a contract this season, thus the improvement in his play. I was all in favor of giving him to you, but he may have earned his way. Not sure Buffalo has to spend too much next season, they have kids on the farm including Zach Kassian in juniors to take spots. Spud named a few players that may be gone in the offseason, time to get rid of the soft players in BUF.

jimbo

April 8th, 2011
12:23 pm

Bulldog52- I agree completely. One good game with no pressure and everyone sees this team through rose colored glasses. Over the last half of the season, it has folded at every key time- game, third period, OT, etc. We need more talent and a veterna presence to stabilize things when we hit the rough patches. We don’t have it and we sure don’t have the grit to stand up to teams that play a physical style. Most disappointing to the season tix fan base is our inability to win at home. Brendan and other statistic buffs- how does our home record compare to others in the SE division over the past 10 years. Tough to get fans back when all we experience are disappointing efforts.

Mr. Heat Miser

April 8th, 2011
12:37 pm

Getting my Eric Cole/Cam Ward combo voodoo doll ready for the 3rd period……………

Monkey

April 8th, 2011
12:54 pm

Uncle Milty

April 8th, 2011
12:55 pm

Quote = Iceman: “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.”

Why would gnashing of teeth from “north of the Mason-Dixon line” occur? Your perception of at least some fans located elsewhere is apparently quite skewed. To Canadian fans anyway, we still get to watch our homeboys play and dominate under such a scenario. I’d personally love to see a Tampa versus Carolina Eastern final.

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.