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Home Cooking

Last night the Thrashers kicked off a long stretch of games at home (8 of 9) with a solid win over the LA Kings. In my opinion this next group of games could have a huge effect on the rest of the season. Why? Because after this stretch at home the team heads out for brutal road trip in which we play nothing but playoff quality teams (COL, VAN, EDM, CGY, OTT, CAR). Honestly I expect the Thrashers to struggle on that road trip given the quality of the opposition.
Thus, it is imperative that this team stockpile points at home over this nine game section of the season. Why am I making a big deal about winning games at home? Well if you look around the Eastern Conference the normal home-ice advantage has been very weak this year. It a typical year the home has a significantly better record at home than away but this year the gap is much smaller than usual.

Personally, I think the Thrashers should aim to win 6 out of 9 at home (or 12 ponts in 9 games) we simply must beat weak teams like LAK and PHI (twice) which would give us 6 points right there. Then if we can win 3 of the games against MON, NYR NYI, NJ, NYI and BUF that gets us to 12 points. I'm going to guess that that we split the Islanders game and beat NJ and NYR, while we lose to MON, NYI and BUF.

Taking 12 points should help the Thrashers maintain their division lead before heading out of town. If they allow the lead to narrow during this home stand, they likely see it slip away on the western conference road trip and find themselves in a dogfight the rest of the way for playoff position. However, if they play well at home they can take a big step towards winning the division and locking up home ice in the first round.