The Thrashers are looking to keep it rolling tonight in Colorado versus the Avalanche. The way the team is clicking right now, they should do just that. Being drug up the standings by the play of Dustin Byfuglien and Ondrej Pavelec, the Thrashers will seek a franchise tying sixth straight win tonight. Following a week of play that included victories over the Capitals (5-0; Which by the way was the first time in nearly two calender years that the Caps have been shut out), Redwings (5-1), Habs (3-0), and Bruins (3-1); this stop in Colorado should be just another step in the right direction for this suddenly flaming hot Atlanta squad. Pavelec will again be in net, as off season aquisition Chris Mason has found himself sitting on the bench due in part to his sub-par play, and Pavelecs phenominal play. After witnessing Ondrej passing out first hand on opening night, I can not say enough about his play that now has him ranked as the third best goalie in hockey (1.62GAA & .949SAVE%). The 23-year-old Kladno, Czech Republic native has given up only 3 goals during the teams current 5 game winning streak.
The Chicago players that came over in the off season can not be given enough credit. With Andrew Ladd (8G 16A) being named the captain at the beginning of the win streak, and big Buff leading all NHL d-men in scoring, Rick Dudley and Don Waddell are looking like geniuses due to there CHI-town robbery. Not to mention the solid play of Brent Sopel and Ben Eager. Undoubtedly Buff is the biggest piece of the puzzle though.
Byfuglien played a key role in the Thrashers' surge last week by leading all defensemen in scoring with six points (two goals, four assists), including his League-leading fifth game-winning goal of the season. Byfuglien notched one goal in the victory over the Red Wings, posted one assist and a +2 rating in shutting out the Canadiens and scored the game-winning goal, plus three assists and a +2 rating in the win over the Bruins. Returning to HIS preferred spot on the blueline this season, is more than paying off for him and the team.
The Avs are no push overs and they have won four straight home games. But undoubtedly the Thrash should pressure them right from the start. With the team clicking and having bought into Craig Ramsays system, any team in any conference, should fear the Thrashers, night in and night out.
-Brother of Thrashers forward Anthony Stewart, Chris, will miss the game and 4-6 weeks to due an injuy he recieved during a fight in his last game VS the Wild. This is a huge loss to the Avs as he is one of their leading scorers.
-The Washington Capitals acquired defenseman Scott Hannan from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for center Tomas Fleischmann on Tuesday. Fleischmann is not expected to be ready by tonight.