Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Devils Shut Out Thrashers

I'll keep this one fairly short and to the point. The Devils are favored to make the playoffs, perhaps win their division or even finish 1st in the Eastern Conference (so says James Mirtle). The Thrashers are favored to do none of those things.

For 60 minutes the Thrashers competed and matched the Devils on the ice. They lost because they hit two crossbars and Brodeur made a highway robbery save. They were also out shot by a sizable margin but Lehtonen kept them in the game. They had a chance to tie a quality team and came up just a little bit short.

I know there is some grumbling among fans about the losses to the Wild and Devils but frankly I'm more encouraged than discouraged. The NHL season is LONG and the Thrashers are playing a fairly entertaining brand of hockey and they are hanging in there against better teams. If they keep playing like this consistently they will get their share of points. That said I have never considered this Thrashers squad to be a likely playoff team. This season is about constructing the foundation for a contender and breaking in young players and figuring out who to keep for a contending club (not looking so good for Mr. Williams or Mr. Christensen through the first few games).

The bad news is that the October schedule is still rather rough. The Sabres are a VERY talented team and they come to town on Saturday. On paper they are better than the Thrashers and they should win the game. Can Atlanta overcome the odds and get some points? That's why they play the games I suppose.

Corsi Box Score (ES Thrashers Shots minus Opposition Shots Attempted)

Team

Lehtonen -16 Not so good for the Thrashers at Even Strength versus the Devils.

Defense
26:17 Schneider -2
16:17 Bogosian +1 (A new high in ice time for Bogo)

15:15 Havelid -11
18:43 Enstrom -14

Holy Cow! The Thrashers were out shot at ES by a big margin it happened almost entirely while the Swedish D pair were out there on the ice. When I first saw this I thought maybe Enstrom and Havelid had been matched up against the Elias line and that explained their struggles but the Hainsey-Exleby pairing had more TOI versus that line.

22:24 Hainsey +1
17:22 Exelby +0

Forwards
The top line was even, while the other three lines were outshot. Was this a D problem or a F problem? Given the brutal numbers of the Enstrom-Havelid pairing I'm inclined to think it was a defense problem.

23:10 Kovalchuk 0
17:48 White +1
20:37 Little +1

15:50 Kozlov -5
14:11 Williams -8
15:41 Christensen -5

15:31 Perrin -6
17:17 Reasoner -5
14:52 Armstrong -4

7:27 Thorburn -6
8:57 Slater -7
6:55 Boulton -5


Real Eastern Standings (Points - Games Played)
This controls for differences in games played by teams
+4 NYR
+3 MON
+3 BUF
+2 NJD
+2 WAS
+1 CAR
+0 PIT
+0 NYI
---------- Playoffs
+0 BOS
+0 OTT
+0 TOR
-1 ATL
-1 FLA
-2 TBL
-2 PHI

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