What started out as a 2-0 lead disintegrated with a Travis Zajac goal. A late one in the 1st period undid the goals by Tim Stapleton and Chris Thorburn in the first, when they scored two goals in just over a minute on Martin Brodeur. That was Brodeur’s only weak spot in the game; he poke-checked and fought off a late game flurry to give the Devils a win.
More credit needs to be given to the Devils tight defensive system. They smelled weakness in the Thrashers’ play, and exploited it. Atlanta has never been able to counter a trap, and the Devils trapped them worse than a lobster in the Atlantic – they were all over the Thrashers. The Thrashers had just two shots on goal in the second and nine in the third for a total of twenty for the entire game. They had twice as many against Philadelphia on Saturday night.
The Thrashers’ penalty kill was two for two, which is good against a potent Devils’ powerplay. Also, Nik Antropov was a +1 for the night. He was the only Thrasher to end up on the positive side.
Atlanta is back into 12th place after a brief stay in 10th. The Devils, Thrashers, and Maple Leafs are now all eight points behind the New York Rangers, who won this evening. With just twelve games left, it looks like Atlanta might wind up out of the playoffs for the tenth time in eleven seasons.
It’s ok. Misery loves company. The Thrashers have the Blue Jackets to hang out with in that department.