Two more goals came in the third period for Tampa Bay. Pavel Kubina’s slap shot from the circles found its way straight past Peter Mannino, helped by a screen made up of Tim Stapleton and Vincent Lecavalier. Simon Gagne’s second goal of the night was a powerplay tally with Tim Stapleton in the box for goalie interference, and Rich Peverley sitting out a two minor penalties for cross checking and roughing. Rich Peverley scored his 13th of the year with just over four minutes left in the game to break Dwayne Roloson’s shutout bid, getting an assist from Niclas Bergfors, who has 17 on the year so far.
Thankfully, the Thrashers have one more game left before the All Star Break, and that is their only game in eight days. Wednesday night they face the Capitals, who they have faired well against when healthy. The light schedule they’re having over the next week will give the injuries to the players that are out some time to heal up, but don’t expect to see Chris Mason and Jim Slater back very quickly, as their injuries will certainly take a while to heal up – a concussion and a tweaked ACL aren’t easily bounced back from.
It’s hard to say exactly what the problem was, but the crux of it is that the schedules in November and December set the team up for this kind of January. There are still two months in the season to fix things, and at least the Thrashers have gotten points recently instead of losing outright. Three losses within as many weeks by huge margins, though, isn’t really saying a lot about the state of the team, healthy or un-healthy. General manager Rick Dudley can’t evaluate what needs to be done right at this moment, because of the number of injuries, but if a move comes at some point, don’t be surprised. The bad thing is, it’ll be a player that we want just as much as other teams. We’re not going to trade prospects and older players like Fredrik Modin for a sniper.
The games after the All-Star break will tell exactly what direction Atlanta is headed in, and should give Dudley some idea what, if any, moves need to be made before the trade deadline.