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Swinging Sunday

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Yesterday was a big win in the history of the franchise. On paper it seemed likely that the Thrashers would lose to a Buffalo team with a better record and Tampa would beat a Washington with a worse record. Instead the Thrashers get a huge victory against the Sabres and Tampa has a meltdown game and the division lead is now 6 points (with the Lightning holding a game in hand). If the Thrashers can keep that lead above 3 points it will make the final regular season game from deciding the outcome of the division title (and home ice advantage).

I'm a bit short on time today, but a couple of quick observations:

Havelid looked his old self yesterday. Let's hope that his confidence has been switched back on and he plays like he is capable of playing.

Tkachuk's play at the front of the net has really transformed this team. He was crucial in both OT victories at home. The team needs to try to feed Keith in front of the net like that more often on the power play. He is willing to shoot, get him the puck!

I think that Tkachuk has also encouraged other players to crash the net. We are seeing more Thrasher chances develop where multiple players converge on the crease to put pressure on the opposing team's netminder and defense.

Zhitnik continued his great weekend. First he shut down Jagr and then last night he made more big plays to keep the game tied including throwing himself down across the crease when Lehtonen was out of the net.

Overall I thought the Thrashers defense did a solid job against the best offense in the East. You are not going to completely shut down Buffalo's forwards but the Thrashers played them as well as they have in any of their meetings this season.

I don't complain about calls much because it is the NHL, but the non-call on Hossa that preceeded the diving call on Havelid was just awful. That hook on Hossa has been called a penalty all season long and now it is not a penalty? What happened to the standard that any time your stick in parallel to the ice and on another player's body it will be called? Right out the window it seems. Overall it was a poorly called game as things were missed against both teams.

The power play remains to pass happy. I counted another sequence in which they made seven consecutive passes in a row without a shot. At least they did cash in a 5 on 3 chance for a change, but Kovalchuk's shot happened because nobody else wanted to shoot the puck--again.

Four days off for the guys to rest. Should be good as long as they don't get too overconfident and come out flat versus the Sharks. Every time we have played a western team (other than Colorado's goalie meltdown) it seems like the team from the West has outskated us in the 1st period. Hopefully they can reverse that on Thursday. I've watched the Sharks a fair amount this season and they will be a tough team to beat.