I was exhausted but went to the game anyway since it was the Kovalchuk return game. Brodeur got his 600th win. Thrashers were officially eliminated. Everyone in the big trade played nervous. Kovalchuk failed to get a shot, Oduya struggled to hold the puck at the blueline. Bergfors was very quiet other than one chance.
In Lou We Trust has a rather complimentary post-game write up.
I honestly feel bad for the Thrashers fans. It was a must-win game for the Thrashers and, well, they had the better start and played about even with the Devils for the first 40 minutes. The Thrashers outshot the Devils early until a Devils power play helped New Jersey get rolling on the ice, still ended up 8-8 and getting a few chances at the end of the first. Despite an early goal given up, the Thrashers powered on throughout the second period and had plenty of possession in New Jersey's end. The two teams traded off chances, fed off each other's turnovers, but Atlanta had a shot. At that point, the shots were 19-17 in favor of New Jersey, the score was 2-0 to New Jersey, but you wouldn't think the Thrashers were defeated after the first two periods. They just needed that one break, that one great open shot to get something going. It never happened. Not only did Atlanta not get those chances, they didn't work hard to try and make them happen. Atlanta just completely gave up in the third period.
To be perfectly honest, I'm utterly worn out by the season and I need a couple of days off. If I posted something tonight it would end up being an unintelligent vent, so I'm going to take a breather first. Tomorrow I have a job interview and then I'm attending the Braves-Cubs game. I've collected a chunk of data for end-of-the-season series but it isn't quite ready yet, plus the season still has two games left. So the big picture posts probably will not appear until next week.
In other news all 30 SB Nation team editors were asked to nominate players for "Most Underrated NHLer" and we were not allowed to suggest anyone on the team we cover (I nominated Jan Hejda). Rich Peverley was picked by several other writers. Click over to From the Rink and vote for Rich to win the title of Most Underrated.
Over at Behind The Net, Gabriel Desjardins finds that the Thrashers finished 2nd in the NHL in frequently icing the puck. Gabe is also kicking off a multi-part series on playoff trends and what regular season stats help you pick post season winners.