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Playoff Countdown: Game #10: Theft

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The Thrashers have lost some games in heartbreaking fashion this year and when that happens people complain on the boards about "how come we never get any breaks?" Well, last night the karma was returned in spades as Atlanta went home with two points that the Rangers probably deserved to win.

I hear that the Rangers coach was asking to talk to the Atlanta Police Department after the contest, crying "we was robbed!" Johan Hedberg was simply outstanding (and lucky at times) as the Rangers piled up some terrific chances around the Atlanta net but could only manage to get one goal behind. I've never played goaltender, so I can only imagine that how difficult it would be to remain that sharp after seeing so little game action of late. I real tip of the hat to Hedberg for keeping himself mentally focused.

The power play was once again pass happy. At one point I counted seven consecutive passes inside the Rangers zone without a shot. When a team passes that much they are helping the opposition kill the power play. Before the game GM Don Waddell had one of his meet the season ticket holder events and he was asked about the lack of shots. DW said that despite the offensive skills of players like Hossa, only Kovalchuk liked to shoot the puck on the PP. "Everyone in the league knows who our shooter is and they adjust to that."

I'm thinking that it is the job of the coach to change their mentality. Institute a fine system for anyone who passes up an open shot on the PP. Or make them climb the mountain in practice if they fail to take open shots. It is great that this team continues to win in spite of their power play unit, but when we get to the playoffs we need EVERY part of this working effectively.

With the two points against the Rangers and the Tampa loss to Buffalo, the Thrashers now control their destiny in terms of winning the division. Of course, Sunday this might all change with when Tampa plays a Washington team that they should beat and the Thrashers play a Sabre team which is ranked higher in the standings.

Yet another point (or points) that were gained because of the players acquired at the trading deadline. Zhitnik largely shut down Jagr during regulation and then in OT Zhitnik fired the puck from the blueline and Tkachuk created a great screen in front of Lundqvist for the game winner.