Well well well, what do we have here? A hockey team? We haven’t seen one of those around these parts since November. It’s true though, but is it too late? The Thrashers welcomed the first-place Flyers to town for a St. Patty’s day showdown. Both teams had a reason to fight hard. Atlanta, still in contention for a playoff spot. And Philly, fuming after melting down last weekend at home against your Thrashers. Would revenge be coming our way? The answer to that is no.
I’m not sure if many people had high hopes coming into this game. There’s no doubt Atlanta is desperate for a win. If they have ANY shot at the playoffs, they have no choice but to lay everything they have out on the ice for the remainder of the season. It seems as if they’ve done that over a stretch. In the last 10 games, the Thrashers are 5-3-2. Not good enough, but progress is obviously being made. Last night was no different.
Tim Stapleton put your Thrashers on top first, as he sped his way up the ice around defensemen and blasted one right past Boucher. Not long afterwards, Giroux would tie the game up, which isn’t too surprising for us Atlanta fans. I think we’re pretty used to giving up leads pretty quickly, and this was no different. Bryan Little would put your Thrashers back on top in the 2nd, only to be caught ten minutes later, once again. This time, “Danny Boy” Briere gave Flyers’ fans hope of payback. The first two periods, despite the two goals were powered by the defense, allowing only twelve shots on goal. I can see the first goal being blamed on the defense, but the second put Ondrej Pavelec at fault. He decided to go behind the net to retrieve a puck, not knowing Briere was there and just didn’t get back to the net in time to stop the shot. He’s a young, talented goalie, but still has a lot to learn about being a NHL player. Who strikes next? That would be the Thrashers, again. This time the goal came from former-captain, Nik Antropov. He received a great assist from Chris Thorburn from behind the net to capture his 13th goal of the season. All of Blueland was sitting for the last
Third period. Thrashers up 3-2. Both teams hungry for a win. According to Atlanta’s 3rd period statistics, holding onto the lead was almost hysterical . This game was no different. Once again, “Danny Boy” scored the game-tying goal with just over a minute remaining, after pulling Boucher from the net. Were Thrashers’ fans stunned? I’d say I wasn’t. When it comes down to the end, you have to clear the puck from the zone. Defense showed lack of consistency in the 3rd, which is nothing new either. Tired or not, you have to do the job.
So then we have a shoot out. Pavelec in net. I’m scared. I have two ignorant Philly fans next to me, and I want nothing more than to rub ANOTHER win in their face. First up is Bryan Little. He hasn’t had a tremendous amount of luck in the shootout and was not able to get one past Boucher. Pavelec evened the draw, stopping the first as well. Next up, Rob Schremp. I figured we may see this little roadrunner. He showed exactly why he was chosen, putting on some amazing moves to put the Thrashers on the board. Well, “Pavs” stopped number one. Could he possible stop number 2? That answer is YES! What an amazing performance from the young goaltender in the shootout, thus far. So would he have to face a third shooter, or would the big man, Blake Wheeler, send the Flyers home in style? Start packing Philly. After almost losing control of the puck, Wheeler regained composure and put one up top-shelf to give the Thrashers the win, and more importantly, two points in the standings.
Now the important question. Are the playoffs still possible for these guys? I know I said you could faintly here the fat lady singing in the background, but it seems like she’s getting more quiet lately. The New Jersey game was a big hit , but the Thrashers are picking up points. They are still in contention with 11 games left. The next game will either make or break Atlanta. They head on the road to Buffalo, who lead the Thrashers by four points in the eastern conference. They have to take this game more seriously than they have any other this season. All we can do now is hope. For more on last night’s game, visit the Broad Street Buzz .