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The Old Measuring Stick Game

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I wrote a nice post after the Pittsburgh game only to have to vanish through some problem with blogger. Oh well, we play them again in a few days and I'll get another chance.

Tonight the Thrashers take on Anaheim a team that just so happens to be 1st overall in the NHL point standings. For the Thrashers this is a classic measuring stick game as they get to test themselves against another highly ranked team and also a rare game against the Western Conference.

So far this season Anaheim has used a top ranked offense and a rock solid defense to reach the top spot in the standings. One would certainly expect their defense to be outstanding since they have 2 of the top 10 defensemen in the league. The luxery of having either Pronger or Scott Niedermayer on the ice gives them a major advantage when they play a team like Atlanta that has two scoring stars on different lines. They don't have to pick their poison as they can play a great defensemen against each scoring star.

The Tale of the Tape
ATL.. ANA...CatagoryRank among the 30 NHL teams
4th.....2nd.....Offense (GFA)
17th...4th......Defense (GAA)
9th.....1st.......Goal Differential (GFA-GAA)

9th......1st......Power Play Percentage
23rd....8th.....Penalty Kill Percentage

15th....4th......Shots on Goal For
15th....6th......Shots on Goal Against
19th....4th......Save Percentage

When you look at the numbers Anaheim should clearly be the favorite. The Thrashers rank lower in every single catagory. Still I like this club's chances. They do seem to play better when the pressure such as when they ended Buffalo's point streak back in October or last fall when they had to win almost every night to stay in the playoff race.

I'm also looking forward to seeing Jason Krog play again for the Thrashers with Larsen and Mellanby out of the line up. I've liked Krog ever since I saw him play against the Chicago Wolves in the 2002 AHL Championship (which the Wolves won).