The Maple Leafs are yet another team that's passed the struggling Thrashers in the standings. Sitting in tenth place and just one point ahead of Atlanta, Toronto wants to make the postseason for the first time since the lockout. With the help of their rookie goaltender James Reimer, it's looking more and more possible every day. The Thrashers, however, would just like to finish the season on the same kind of tear that they started it with.
Ondrej Pavelec was injured during the first period of Friday's loss to the Florida Panthers, so the Thrashers re-called goaltender Drew MacIntyre from the Chicago Wolves. Chris Mason will be starting for the Thrashers today. Mason was solid in relief Friday, turning away all twenty shots in regulation.
Captain Andrew Ladd has six goals in the last seven games, while Leafs forward Phil Kessel's apparently shaken off the insult of being the last picked overall for the All-Star Game. Kessel has six goals and four assists in his past six games. It's no coincidence, then, that the Leafs are 4-0-2 in that stretch.
The Leafs have won their last two games against the Thrashers. These games aren't low-scoring affairs by any matter. The last game the Leafs won 5-4 on February 7th, and of course there was the 9-3 win at Philips over the Thrashers on January 7th. The Thrashers only win over the Leafs this season was a 6-3 win on December 20th that many point to as the beginning of the end (or the end of the beginning) of the Thrashers' season. Hopefully a win tonight can snap that free-fall and get this ship righted in just enough time to squeak into the top eight.