The Thrashers have struggled to score of late and they have been playing just .500 hockey in January. In the modern NHL .500 equals missing the playoffs. Throw in a TON of Kovalchuk trade talk and I'll admit to feeling a bit depressed about the state of the team.
Last night was nothing short of unalloyed good news. There are 8 teams trying to squeeze into the final 3 playoffs spots. 4 of those desprate teams played Thursday, and only one club--your Atlanta Thrashers--walked away with points. They gained ground on 3 of their 7 competitors for that final playoff berth.
Many players contributed to the big win including guys I've abused on this blog in the past. Johan Hedberg's career year continued with another very strong performance. Jim Slater is getting better chances now that he is off the 4th line and he cashed in two of them last night by putting himself in the high traffic crease area. So kudos to both players. Evander Kane had a terrific game setting up two goals and giving Chris Pronger headaches all night.
This sets up another HUGE game on Saturday versus the Predators. Nashville will travel up to Detroit tonight (Friday) to play their division rival, the Red Wings (a team struggling to make the post-season), and will return to Music City tired for Saturday's game. The Thrashers will have a golden opportunity to jump on a team in a back-to-back situation and put a little daylight between themselves and their pursuers.