That sound you heard was the Thrashers dropping almost completely out of the playoff hunt. Now seven points behind the Carolina Hurricanes, the Thrashers dropped an absolute must win game 4-1 to the Buffalo Sabres, putting the Sabres in sole possession of 9th place.
Tobias Enstrom apparently took over the mantle of “defenseman who can’t play” of the evening. On the ice for every goal against, he made several errors that were obviously mental lapses of questionable intent. Also having an unpleasant night were his line-mate Dustin Byfuglien, Anthony Stewart, Evander Kane, and Nik Antropov. The second line in particular had an atrocious evening defensively.
The team played fairly well for most of the game, but just a few minutes of not paying attention killed them. Again. Witness these tweets from Chris Vivlamore:
That’s 21 times this season the #Thrashers have allowed goals less than 2 minutes apart – five times in under 35 seconds.
It’s even worse. Six times this season the #Thrashers have allowed back-to-back goals in 39 seconds or less.
Frankly, things like this are mental. You allow a goal, you keep the same lines out, they’re in a fog, and boom – happens again. Bad turnovers, letting yourself get into a hole, and you start thinking “Oh, this again? Been here, done that, seen the movie,” and you allow them to score again.
Dan Kamal compared these two months to Groundhog Day, and he’s right. This just keeps happening over and over and over again, and the only player who doesn’t seem to be impacted by it is Captain Andrew Ladd. Lather, rinse, repeating yourself out of a playoff spot like the Thrashers have done is a monumental task, and one that they’ve completed with gusto.
The trade deadline is coming up next Monday, and if the Thrashers don’t get someone who can score, and someone who can help on the PK, they’re done for the year. A roster that is probably better than last season’s should not fall out of contention a month before last year’s team. It’s inexcusable.