The Atlanta Thrashers have a heck of a time with the Boston Bruins, but this year might be different. The last time these two teams met, in Atlanta, the Thrashers hit a listless Boston team for four goals, winning 4-1. First place is on the line for both of these franchises, so don't expect the same flat performance from the Bruins as before.
Boston isn't a high scoring team - they've scored 89 goals and 145 assists to the Thrashers 116 and 187. Where their most important asset lies is between the pipes. Tim Thomas has had an excellent return to form this season, leading the league in both save percentage and goals against average. Right behind him? The Thrashers' very own Ondrej Pavelec. Tonight should be a goaltenders' duel as the two best goalies in the league face off. Let's compare how great these two guys are, shall we?
|2010 - Ondrej Pavelec||23||1286||12||6||39||1.82||684||645||.943||2|
|2010 - Tim Thomas||23||1373||15||4||39||1.70||756||717||.948||5|
Their stats are practically identical - even their teams allow the same average number of shots on goal at 33.9 a game. The Bruins might have to have as much luck as the Thrashers need to have tonight. The Thrash might need to have a bit more luck, seeing as how Zach Bogosian is out tonight:
Zach Bogosian out of #Thrashers lineup with several nagging injuries, including hit vs. Blues Tuesday.
This means that Freddy Meyer'll be in for the Thrashers for the first time since December 2nd against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Other than that, the lines and pairings are the for the most part the same, but with with Niclas Bergfors and Tim Stapleton checking out the ice from the pressbox. Ben Eager's back in his old spot on Alex Burmistrov's left wing, with Fredrik Modin on the right. The AJC's Thrashers' blogger, Bill Tiller (AKA "Rawhide") has some good comparison of Bergfors between his time in Atlanta last season and his time so far this season. Not too much difference, so it goes back to what I mentioned the other night - Tim Stapleton's a bit rougher around the edges and willing to fight, and that's what Bergfors needs to do. He does that, no problem - the kid's back in, because unlike Stapleton, Bergfors can score regularly. But when you cough up the puck and get it to the other team, you're just encouraging the opposition to score regularly, and that's not what the Thrashers need.