The Thrashers nailed an impressive, and necessary victory last night over the Carolina Hurricanes, continuing the road team winning trend and giving the Thrashers faithful who made the trip something to cheer about - 4-0 shutout by Johan Hedberg.
You can tell a turn-around worked when we had as many SOG after 1 period as we did the entire game against the Leafs. Whatever was said in that locker room, and whoever said it, needs to give the exact same speech before every single one of our last seven games. Fourteen points lay in the balance, and while I don't expect the Thrashers to get every single one of those points, I do expect Philly to lose as many points as we get (to put it one way).
Wait, Philly? What of Boston? Boston and Philadelphia are tied for 8th in the East with 80 points, with the Bruins holding the tiebreaker of having more wins. Boston seems to have righted their ship as of late under the outstanding goaltending of Tukka Rask and the re-emerging Tim Thomas. Philly has short three of their top 4 goalies, which leaves Brian Boucher in their starting role. Making up the goals allowed is going to be tough, since their top scorer, Jeff Carter, is done. Philly plays the Devils tonight. I hope that Ilya Kovalchuk scores 5 goals, I seriously do.
Making it is going to be hard, as the guys over at Birdwatchers Anonymous have pointed out. We cannot tie either team, because they'll have the tiebreaker over us - we absolutely have to pass them in points. The better team to crash and burn out of the Bruins and Philly is the Flyers, and frankly I think bumping them from the playoffs after sweeping this season's series would be gravy.
SportsClubStats.com has us having to go 5-2 to make the playoffs. Our remaining opponents are Carolina, Toronto, Washington, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Washington, and Pittsburgh for the season finale. Two of those teams theoretically better not be a problem for us again. Jersey should yield a packed Philips for the return of Kovy, and the team might want to prove a point. We haven't lost a closer in 4 seasons. If we can win those four, then there's some wiggle room. Unfortunately, no one can ever predict what this team's going to do, and which Thrashers team is going to walk out of the locker room and onto the ice.