The Atlanta Thrashers have managed to win 6 of 8 possible points in their last four games. That surge has pushed them up into the top half of the conference--the area reserved for playoff teams. It is way too early to know if this is a playoff team, but it is clear that the special teams are carrying the weight during this recent hot streak.
In the last four games the Thrashers have outscored their opposition 16 to 13 (I'm not counting shoot-out goals). Atlanta's Power Play has outscored the opposition's 6-0. The Penalty Kill has been 100% and the Power Play has been operating at 22% lately. The outstanding special teams play has covered up for the team being outscored at Even Strength by a 10-13 margin.
On the Power Play, Nik Antropov has emerged from a slow start and began to show flashers of the guy was the Most Valuable Forward for Atlanta (post-Kovalchuk). Dustin Byfuglien has played well offensively of late too.
On the PK unit Johnny Oduya and Brent Sopel have been chewing through opposition Power Plays with great effectiveness. While Oduya has struggled at times at EV he has done better while a man short.
In the long run the Thrashers must get better at Even Strength because special teams wax and wane. Nobody has a hot PK or PP forever. To win you have to earn it when the teams have even numbers. But the good news is that the strong special teams have pushed them back up the standings and given the team more time to work on their EV play.