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Thrashers Racking up Points Since Kovalchuk's Return


Since Ilya Kovalchuk returned from a broken bone the Atlanta Thrashers have won 14 of a possible 18 points (78%). The Thrashers still have played fewer games than many other NHL clubs so you have to adjust for that when you look at the standings. The Thrasher are tied for 5th and 6th place today once you control for games played. It is very exciting to see the team ranked that high in the East, but the margin of error is small, they Thrashers are only 3 points above 9th place and no playoffs. On the other hand, three additional points and would push them up to 3rd in the conference. The East is very competitive again this year.

Real Eastern Standing (points above .500)

  1. +11 NJD
  2. +10 WSH
  3. +9 PIT
  4. +7 BUF
  5. +6 OTT
  6. +6 ATL
  7. +5 BOS
  8. +4 TBL
  9. +3 PHI
  10. +1 NYR
  11. +0 NYI
  12. +0 MON
  13. -1 FLA
  14. -5 TOR
  15. -11 CAR

On Monday I'm going to have a post on how the current Thrashers team ranks in team history. But the biggest story so far this season is the improvement on the defensive side of the puck. The Thrashers had an above average offense under Coach Anderson last year.

Lately the team has benefited from outstanding net minding. Long time readers know that I'm not prone to praise for Johan Hedberg--but I have to say so far this season Moose is having his best season ever as a Thrashers. And the 1-0 shutout victory over Philadelphia was probably his best single game performance as an Atlanta Thrashers. 

Ondrej Pavelec has not only been steady in his first season as a NHL #1 goalie--he has been outstanding. There is no All-Star Game due to the Olympic Games, but if these was a AS Game, he would deserving of votes given the way he has played. Were it not for spectacular play by Pavelec in the 1st period on the recent road trip to Detroit and  Raleigh, the Thrashers could have been blown out early. Terrific goaltending is keeping the Thrashers in games when the skaters are flat and being out shot badly.

Can these trends hold up over time? Will the team learn to start games stronger? These are all reasons to stay tuned as the rest of the season unfolds.