It’s hard not to view the Atlanta Thrashers with a bit of hairy eyeball.
A team that’s made the playoffs just once since entering the league in 1999-00 presently sits sixth in the Eastern Conference. Are we really supposed to believe Maxim Afinogenov and Rich Peverley are point-per-game players?
While a certain amount of suspicion is justified based purely on precedent, we’re here to tell you the Thrashers are for real.
It starts with goaltending, something Atlanta has received in spades from Ondrej Pavelec and Johan Hedberg. Up front, a major bounce-back year from Afinogenov and the stunning continued success of Peverley, a waiver-wire pickup nearly one year ago, have helped give the Thrashers the kind of offensive depth they’d previously only dreamed of.
On the back end, slick Swede Tobias Enstrom is tied for sixth in league scoring among defensemen, while big Pavel Kubina is plus-16 and providing a great example for the team’s future stud blueliner, sophomore Zach Bogosian.
This turnaround under coach John Anderson started halfway though last season and now the Thrashers are on track to reach a new threshold for success.
Scored 14 goals in the two games Alex Ovechkin sat out for his suspension
Devin Setoguchi has been slowed by a leg injury, but the Sharks would love to get him going
Happy to get Johnny Oduya back on the blueline
With Kane, Toews and Keith all locked up, the real – and fun – question becomes, who gets moved to make cap room?
Evgeni Malkin has 55 points in 37 games without Sidney Crosby over the past three seasons
Flames are 11-2-3 on the road this season
With Milan Lucic out, banger Byron Bitz gets a chance to show his upside on the first line
A busy December stretch means Patrick Lalime gets another shot to prove he's a worthy backup to Ryan Miller
Anze Kopitar hasn't scored in 12 games; Dustin Brown hasn't found the net in 13
Jason Arnott (11 points in his past 10 games) and Martin Erat (nine in his past nine) both producing for the Preds
Coach John Anderson says rookie Evander Kane can expect more ice time thanks to his strong play
Incredible this team is doing so well when its leading scorer, Shane Doan, is on pace for 50 points
Can kick start their season by dominating an eight-game homestand that begins Thursday
Brenden Morrow getting it going with goals in five of his past six games
Rookie Ryan O'Reilly has hit the wall offensively, but fellow freshman Matt Duchene is just starting to heat up
Earned at least a point in five of their past six games
Jimmy Howard finally showing he's up to stopping NHL-caliber shots
Is Alex Kovalev coming alive? He has points in each of his past three games
Chris Higgins has done precious little to endear himself to his new team
Offense comes alive as Minnesota suddenly reels off five straight wins
Vincent Lecavalier received 16:09 of ice time against the Isles on Saturday - his second-lowest total of the season
On target for a mid-to-late December return, Rick DiPietro made a start with the American League's Bridgeport Sound Tigers
We'll give new coach Peter Laviolette a mulligan on his debut, an 8-2 loss to the Caps
Take away a terrible October and this team is a respectable 7-6-3
Friday night's 100th anniversary ceremony proved pageantry is now the only thing Montreal does way better than everybody else
Stephen Weiss goes off for six goals in his past four games
Just when you thought this franchise had turned the corner…
Battered and bruised, the Oilers currently have seven regulars spending significant time on the IR
I know credible hockey observers who thought this team could win the Cup this year
No better scenario for this team now than drafting high and adding another high-impact player to a core that includes 25-year-old Eric Staal and Cam Ward and a bunch of quality forward prospects
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.
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