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The Great Tease or the Great Comeback?

What exactly are we watching here? With the Thrashers big win versus Tampa on Tuesday they are still alive and kicking—just barely. We are either watching one the greatest last second playoff drives in NHL history or we are witnessing one last tease before the playoff beacon gets doused for good.

I have to admit having mixed emotions watching the Tampa game. When the Lightning went up 1-0 part of me was almost glad. That part of my brain was ready to get off the emotional roller coaster that has been the 2005-06 season. Of course, the other part of my brain went wild when they scored. Yet another region of my head went "Andy Sutton with two goals in a game—is this a sign from God or a portent of the apocalypse?"

Now here we sit with a week to go. The Thrashers need to be perfect (4-0) and Tampa has to be ordinary for (1-1-1) for Atlanta to get in. The win versus Tampa reminded of other years when another team I root for was trailing 3-1 in the playoffs and wins to make it 3-2. You’re happy, but you know that elimination still looms. You hope for the best, but worry that you're just stalling the inevitable painful finale.

The last few days the Thrashers have benefited from things beyond their control. Carolina showed up on Saturday and played with zero energy and Atlanta got an easy win. Tampa lost to Florida (thank you Panthers). Then Tampa had a goalie meltdown as Burke played way back in his crease and helped the Thrashers leap out to a huge lead on Tuesday.

Now the team needs lots more breaks—and they do receive some in the form of a very winnable schedule the rest of the way. Woeful Washington arrives in town tonight followed by beatable Boston on Saturday. Then it is on the road to Washington and Florida. All of these are non-playoff teams, but that could make them dangerous since they have nothing to play for—other than NHL jobs next season.