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Gameday: Thrashers vs Bruins, 7:00PM

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Atlanta Thrashers Boston Bruins
TD Garden
7:00 PM
TV: SportSouth, Radio: 680 the FAN
SBNation: Stanley Cup of Chowder
TSN: Thrashers vs Bruins coverage
Ondrej Pavelec
Tim Thomas
(9-9-3, .910% 3.28) (8-8-5, .917% 2.43)

Game preview is up after the jump.

The month of December hasn't been particularly kind to the Thrashers. They've gone 4-6-1 so far, but with games against Boston (twice), Tampa, and New Jersey yet to play, they have a chance to get up to 0.500 for the month. Still, there have been some concerning stats:

  • Zach Bogosian is a -8 in December and hasn't been a plus player for a single game. That's right: he's been even or minus for 11 games in a row. Zach has just one point - an assist - this month.
  • Ron Hainsey is also -8 this month and hasn't been a plus player for a single game. He does at least have a few more points; Ron's got one goal and three assists this month.
  • Ondrej Pavelec has won just one of his 5 starts this month and hasn't played a game with a save percentage over 0.900. He's let in 22 goals in those 5 games. (Really, 4.67 games, as he was pulled after two periods against Toronto.) While the team playing in front of him certainly hasn't helped, in the end, Pavs is going to have to take some responsibility for all those GAs.

That said, we've had a few players who have picked it up considerably:

  • Nik Antropov has 7 goals in his last 7 games, mostly because he's actually been shooting the puck lately. His monthly shots/game illustrate this nicely: October - 0.7, November - 1.57, December - 2.18. Also, Nik has picked his faceoff win percentage up to 45.5%. Not terrific, but it's certainly better than in years past.
  • Tobias Enstrom has 11 points in 11 games in December, all of them assists.
  • Christoph Schubert, a common target of mine, has played much better lately. He's a +2 in December and has 88 hits in 32 games this season.
We're all a little bit busy with the holidays here at BWA, so I'm going to keep my keys to the game short and simple: SCORE FIRST. The last thing the Thrashers want to deal with on the road against Claude Julien's Bruins? Being down against a team that can clamp down and play strong defense. Boston is very effective when scoring first, winning 80% of their games (good for 5th in the NHL). Their penalty kill also runs at 87.1%, 1st in the NHL. They average just 2.34 goals against/game, again good for 5th. If the Thrashers score first and set the pace of the game, they have a good chance to win. If not... well, let's hope they score first.