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Defense and Goaltenders Carrying the Load for Thrashers

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The Thrashers finally re-wrote the script last yesterday. Stop me if you're heard this before: Thrashers started off slow at home, fall behind and stage a furious third period. Only this time that 3rd period included two goals in the final 7 minutes to gain one point and two more goals in the tie-prevention device to add a second point. The 2nd Atlanta goal came as a result of a hugely favorable bounce of the puck.

It was great to see Enstrom and Hainsey get credit for their 2nd goals of the season. Combined with Kubina's recent goal and Bogosian's regular scoring ability the defense has provided virtually all of the scoring since Kovalchuk departed.

When Ilya went down I mentioned the offensive talent of the Thrashers defense--but this is getting riduculous. Someone among the forwards needs to get rolling. The Thrashers worked the puck around in the 3rd but nobody seems to have any luck up front right now. Bryan Little, Slava Kozlov, Todd White and Antropov--the team badly needs one of these top six forwards to catch fire in November. I will credit Kozlov with a great rush to the net where he lowered the shoulder and drove hard to the net. The puck didn't go into the net, but it was exactly the sort of thing the team needs him to do every single game with Kovalchuk out.

The effort level from the Thrasher forwards was much better, but their decision making with the puck is not good right now. As a group the forwards are failing to shoot quickly while the lane is still open. Far too often they are waiting to shoot. The delay usually leads to the goalie squaring up to the point of attack or the defense filling and blocking the shooting lane. The Blues were extremely good at using their big bodies to jam up the slot area of the ice last night. The Thrashers forwards need to shoot earlier.

A quality start for Hedberg last night. He made a couple of huge saves after the Thrashers tied the game. Allowing a goal in that spot would have been extremely deflating. For years I've wondered what the Thrashers could do with above average NHL goaltending on a nightly basis. I don't have a stat for this, but it seems to me that the number of "fluke goals" or "weak goals" is down sharply so far.

If the team can find a way to kick start the forward lines, that will help them weather the Kovy-less period.

Real Standings (Points above .500)

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