Finally. A January riddled by injuries, only three wins out of eleven games, and just one regulation victory is finally over. This has been an atrocious month for Atlanta, who seemingly as responded to their earlier, torrid pace with a New Year's resolution to fall off the face of the earth. The schedule's been a nightmare, no doubt, but there are no excuses in professional sports. No one cares how many players are out, no one cares how tired you are. You're still expected to go out there and win, and the team hasn't done that.
Winning will be hard tonight with Andrew Ladd, Tobias Enstrom, Evander Kane, Jim Slater, and Chris Mason all out. With no call-ups, the team better be careful - an in-game injury could prove disastrous. Or more so than usual, because recently disaster has been par for the course.
That's not to say that the Thrasher are out of luck for the season - there's still over two months left, and the team has shown that when it's rested and healthy they're a force to recon with. Hopefully the All-Star break gives them a chance to be both by the start of February. Dustin Byfuglien hasn't had a point in nine games, and apparently as goes Buff, go the Thrashers. He won't be getting any rest this weekend, but maybe being in the spotlight'll light a fire under him.
The Capitals are a bit banged up as well, missing Alexander Semin, Michel Neuvirth, Matt Bradley, Eric Fehr, (probably) Tom Poti, and Semyon Varlamov. Pavelec has been solid against the Caps, sporting a .75 GAA and a .978 save percentage against them. The last time these two teams met at Philips, the Thrashers shut out the Capitals 5-0, and chased Holtby with three goals on five shots. Of course, that was during the Thrashers' hot streak way back on November 19th. Tonight'll be a different animal for both teams.