Talk about fading fast. Both of these teams in this Southeastern Division matchup have all but been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with a swoon of almost epic proportions. At one point the Atlanta Thrashers were well on their way to making a post season run. However a team that’s not deep in talent and suffered a few injuries runs into a brick wall at times. And for the Thrashers they’ve hit theirs. Atlanta finds themselves in the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference eight points behind the Carlolina Hurricanes, with the New Jersey Devils breathing down their neck.
Having lost two in a row and with a 2-7-1 record in their last 10 games, they will need some help from other teams besides winning their own games to get themselves a playoff birth. Picking up three points in their last four games hasn’t helped their cause, as coach Craig Ramsey has said he doesn’t want his players scoreboard watching.
Andrew Ladd is the only player listed in the hot section of the TSN Scoreboard, with seven points in his last eight games. Ladd the Thrashers captain leads the team in goals with 23. It will also be the first time that the Panthers will play against former teammate Radek Dvorak who was traded last Monday to Atlanta for Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rissmiller. The Thrashers seem to also suffer from the same thing as the Panthers when taking a lot of shots. In games where the Thrashers have more than 40 shots on goal their record is 2-5-2. Noting good about that stat.
The Florida Panthers meanwhile are fading faster than a speeding bullet. Their tease of a playoff run is certainly over and now it’s all about pride and jobs. I hope. I’m not one to say tank the season in order to get a crack at the number one draft pick, and those of you who are, shame on you. There is no guarantee that we would win the lotto pick, and there’s no guarantee that the drafted player will make an impact right away, or at all. There have been # 1 pick flubs you know. For that matter there have been # 4 flubs too. It’s a crapshoot sometimes.
The Panthers are 3-7-0 in their last ten games and are looking like a team that is beaten and struggling. A frustrating end is on it’s way for a team that had shown a work ethic that continued to come up short on nights that one more goal for, or one less goal against was the plan. The TSN scoreboard has no hot players. Some of the ladies might disagree, but let’s focus here. The power play is no longer last in the NHL, as they have finally vaulted into 29th place. The penalty kill is a very solid third. You can point right at the PP for being a difference maker this season. That will have to change for next year.
The game tonight means more in the standings to Atlanta than it does to Florida. The season record between the two teams finds Atlanta leading 3-1-1, but they have lost both home games. Florida has lost three straight games scoring only two goals in that time. This will either be a 2-1 sleeper, or we’ll see some riverboat hockey and a 7-5 game. Who knows.
I can’t promise how much of this game I’ll watch. There’s another matchup at the same time that will obviously grab my attention. You can figure that one out.
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