The last time the Thrashers won seven in a row at home was in 2007. They might very well be able to do the same this Friday night, thanks to a 3-2 overtime win against the Nashville Predators. The win puts the Thrashers in 6th place in the Eastern Conference and tied for second in the Southeast Division – the team stands at 33 points, which is exactly where it was last season.
The downside is, as many Thrashers fans know, the team began a massive 10 game losing streak this time last year. It’s doubtful that will happen this time around, since this team’s finally found a way to battle back from a deficit. Actually, this team has found a way to win in just about any situation, which is what sets it apart from the team this time last year – confidence.
The Predators got to an early lead on a Colin Wilson wrist shot from the circles that, by any measure Ondrej Pavelec should have had. Two and a half minutes later, Steve Sullivan deflected in a shot off of Zach Bogosian’s ankle that put the Predators up 2-0. Admittedly, as was discussed on the 680 the Fan post-game show a few times, after the Predators jumped to the early two goal lead, there was an inkling in Blueland that this was going to be another clunker. But, going back to my previous article, it’s time for Thrashers’ fans to bump up their expectations a bit. Where before the Thrashers could have given up, or managed to get within one just to fall short, this year’s team has a bit more get up and go.
Jim Slater deflected a Tobias Enstrom slapshot to put the Thrashers within one, and on a boarding call on Shea Weber at 6:44 of the third period, Andrew Ladd broke the Predators’ nine game penalty killing streak by continuing the Thrashers’ league leading power play, popping in a backhand on a Dustin Byfuglien assist. If you’ll remember (or look to the game preview below) Byfuglien had three goals against the Predators in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and Ladd had a two goals and an assist. They still have the Predators’ number, as Byfuglien made several impressive defensive plays to strip the puck from Nashville, and Ladd was in prime goalscoring position all night long.
One of the gentlemen behind me must be someone who continues in the AJC blogs’ comments section to have an issue with Zach Bogosian’s play, because he said that if Bogosian scored the game winning goal in overtime he’d lay off of him. Bogosian must be getting tired of being called out for generally solid play, because he did this to win the game immediately after the fan said that:
Unfortunately the camera cut away on the perfect pass to set the goal up from Ben Eager, who recovered the puck after Alexander Burmistrov took a spill at center ice. Bogosian planted it past rookie goaltender Anders Lindback, who played a solid game tonight for Nashville. The camera also didn’t capture the full extent of Bogosian’s summersault after the goal. If you want something that’s a combination of excitement, happiness, and relief at finally scoring again, look no further than Bogosian’s face.
Tenacity and finding ways to win are what separate almost-rans from playoff teams. The Thrashers have both. Don’t be shocked to see them meander back into the playoff picture if they maintain this kind of focus.