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Game Day: Senators vs Thrashers, 7:00 PM EST

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Atlanta Thrashers Ottawa Senators
Philips Arena
TV: SportSouth, RDS (HD) Radio: 680 the FAN
SBNation: Game page, Silver Seven
TSN Coverage
Ondrej Pavelec
Pascal Leclaire
(9-12-3 .900 3.66) (11-9-1 .892 2.98)

You know that feeling of terror and dread you had this morning when you woke up? That means it's GAME DAY!

Full game notes are after the jump.

Today's exercise in futility pits the Atlanta Thrashers (who have given 1 or 2 points to the opposition in each of the last 20 games) against the Ottawa Senators (who have lost the last 4 games by 3 goals each game.) One of those streaks will end tonight! Betting closes at 7:00, so make sure to get your thoughts in the comments thread early. (We'll do a poll, too, and I'll let you answer all the way through the 1st period.)

Did you want some more good news? Sounds like the Kovalchuk situation is nearing "trade" - we've started to cover the situation here at BWA over the past few days by asking other SB Nation blogs what they'd give up for Kovalchuk. We're expecting to receive offers from them relatively soon.

On a personal note, for those of you who noticed: yes, I was the participant on the Two Minute Drill for the game against Washington. I claim no responsibility for the outcome of the game.

Thanks to Aaron for the Sens' game notes.

Notes on the Thrashers

Earlier this season, I was very concerned by our poor play early in the game. "You can't win games by playing only 20 or 40 minutes," said everyone. The situation is worse now: the Thrashers appear to be putting up effort for only 10 minutes or so. On some nights it's less. Some have attributed this to the Kovalchuk situation, others have blamed coaching. The only reason the Thrashers are still remotely close to a playoff position (2 or 3 points above 0.500 would do it) is because they absolutely tore it up in November. They'll need at least one more good run like that before the end of the season if they hope to sneak in.

Tonight's three ([American] Senate-themed) questions of the game?

  1. In the age of Rule-by-60, can the Thrashers give a 3-period effort? Even against the struggling Senators, the Thrashers will need to actually play hockey for 60 minutes tonight. This means doing the simple things: winning battles in the corners, keeping the crease clear for Pavelec, maintaining possession of the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone... you know, the things we shouldn't have to be talking about?
  2. Can we ignore the distractions posed by our Leader? Unlike Senate Majority Leader Reid, Captain Ilya Kovalchuk is saying all the right things. "Yes, I want to be a Thrasher for life." That should be somewhat comforting, right? Wrong. It's getting awfully close to the Olympic Break, and without a new contract for Kovalchuk, the status of the team's franchise player is in limbo. As Kovy goes, so go the Thrashers. That's been the operating assumption over the past few years, correct? eek.
  3. Are we giving up too much in Conference? With no regulation wins since November 30th, the Thrashers seem to be giving up a whole lot of those "extra" points to other teams. In the past 20 games, we've won 5 in overtime, with 4 of those points going to teams in the Eastern Conference (2x Rangers, Canadiens, Panthers, those teams are 5 points above 0.500, 1 above, and 2 below, respectively.) If the Thrashers are going to make up ground in the standings, they're going to have to close some games without going into extra minutes, especially against conference opponents.

Notes on the Senators

Record: 22-20-4, 48pts. (T-7th in East, 3rd in NE Div)
Last Five: 1-4-0
Vs. ATL: 1-1-0
Special Teams: PP - 14.2% (30th), PK - 82.2% (14th)
Injuries: Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfedsson, Milan Michalek, Jesse Winchester, Filip Kuba

Hot Player: Jonathan Cheechoo is a point-per-game player in his career vs. Atlanta. The fact that he played most of those games in a Sharks sweater is obviously of no concern. Chris Kelly, on the other hand, is a Sens lifer with 14 points in 18 games vs. Atlanta.

Notes: The Sens are averaging about a game every other day since Nov. 5, and the wear is starting to show. They're 3 for 50 on the power play over the last 15 games. Tow-thirds of Ottawa's top line (Jason Spezza & Daniel Alfredsson) is on injured reserve and Mike Fisher-Underwood has zero goals and 4 assists in his last 13 games. Dark cloud: the Sens just dropped a stinker of a game Sunday in Raleigh, losing 4-1 to the NHL's worst team, the Hurricanes. They should be good and angry about that. Silver lining: Ottawa is 6-13-1 on the road. This is the 2nd game of Ottawa's five game roadie, with stops in New York (Rangers), Montreal & Boston still on the docket.


Tonight's game will be a...

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Thrashers regulation loss
    (17 votes)
  • 6%
    Thrashers overtime loss
    (3 votes)
  • 8%
    Thrashers overtime win
    (4 votes)
  • 51%
    Thrashers regulation win
    (25 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now