Atlanta Thrashers At Toronto Maple Leafs: Thrashers Still Tied For Eighth Place After 5-4 Loss To Maple Leafs

The fact that the Thrashers are still tied for the final playoff place in points is a miracle, as they've won only two games out of the last twenty one in regulation.

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Final Score:Atlanta Thrashers At Toronto Maple Leafs: Thrashers Blow Two Goal Lead, Lose 5-4

The first game since the 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens that the Thrashers score more than three goals, and they still managed to lose. A two goal third period for the Maple Leafs began with a Nikolai Kulemin goal that Dustin Byfuglien assisted on. A blind pass back to presumably Johnny Oduya wound up right on Kulemin’s stick. To be fair to Ondrej Pavelec, he wasn’t set for that shot because absolutely no one expects a defenseman that people consider to be a Norris Trophy candidate to pull a move like that.

Toronto’s game winning goal, scored by Tim Brent with assists from former Thrashers Joey Crabb and Colby Armstrong, was thanks to Tim Stapleton being a shrinking violet and not being able to maintain puck control near the boards. For someone who was played consistently by coach Craig Ramsay over Niclas Bergfors for his grittiness and things of that nature, Stapleton adds very little to the game over Bergfors.

Andrew Ladd scored a dirty goal at the front of the net in a scrum, but it proved to be too little too late as the Thrashers still sit tied for eighth place with the Carolina Hurricanes playing the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night.

Chris Thorburn had another excellent game tonight. Thorburn has never taken a game off this season, and tonight was no exception, with him blocking a shot that came dangerously close to his face. Bryan Little and Rich Peverley each had two assists on the evening, and Zach Bogosian had two assists with a +1 rating. Alexander Burmistrov took a turn at playing goaltender, blocking a few of Colby Armstrong’s empty net attempts.

Burmie might be getting the start in net Friday night when the Rangers come to town.

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Atlanta Thrashers At Toronto Maple Leafs: Thrashers Allow Three Goals In Second Period

The second period hasn’t been kind to the Thrashers during their slump – they seem to run out of gas, only to find themselves climbing uphill during the third period. As softly as the team has been playing recently, playing to win two out of three periods isn’t a recipe for success.

Just 1:21 in, Dion Phaneuf scored his first goal as a Toronto Maple Leaf in the ACC Center. He came to Toronto from Calgary at the trade deadline last season, if that gives the reader any idea of how often he scores. Mikhail Grabovski tied the game at two at the tail end of a five-on-three, as Tim Stapleton was in the box for hooking and Chris Thorburn was in for a delay of game penalty. Grabovski is up to 22 goals for the season, and Clarke MacArthur added his 27th assist to the point.

Thirty nine seconds later, Nik Antropov caught his own rebound in front of the net to put the Thrashers back up 3-2, but the lead was not to stay. Clark MacArthur scored a career-high tying seventeenth goal. MacArthur had two goals in the last meetup between these teams. Apparently he enjoys taking it to his old team.

After eighteen shots on goal during the first period, the Thrashers only managed seven in the second period. The tempo needs to increase and the defense needs to play more responsible hockey if the Thrashers want to recapture the momentum that they had in the first period.

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Atlanta Thrashers At Toronto Maple Leafs: Thrashers Up 2-0 On Two Powerplay Goals

I should criticize the powerplay more often. The Toronto Maple Leafs seem determined to get the Thrashers back into 8th place tonight via taking as many penalties as possible. So far, the Leafs have been called for six penalties. The Thrashers scored on the first Toronto penalty of the night – Phil Kessel was called for hooking just a minute and four seconds in, and at 2:39 Evander Kane wristed his 14th goal on the season past Toronto goaltender J.S. Giguere.

Dustin Byfuglien scored his seventh powerplay goal of the season and his first goal in fourteen games on the fifth Toronto penalty, His boomer from the circles flew past Giggy’s outstretched blocker. Buff now sits alone on top of the team with seventeen goals.

The first period’s shot totals were fluffed by the six powerplays – the Thrashers netted eighteen shots on goal to Toronto’s eleven.

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