Today the Atlanta Thrashers visit the Northeast Division Boston Bruins @ 1pm. By the time 60 minutes of NHL action is in the books, the Bruins have a chance to clinch the Northeast Division, while the Thrashers must win this game to keep their slim post season hopes alive. A fourth and final meeting between both clubs, the Thrashers have a 2-1 advantage in the season series and will aim for a 3rd victory this afternoon.
The Thrashers enter today’s game coming off a 1-0 shutout in Philadelphia. Backup goaltender Chris Mason earned his 21st career shutout and recorded his first as an Atlanta Thrasher turning aside all 43 shots he faced. Forward Nik Antropov scoring the only goal of the game, found the back of the net on Flyer goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for his 15th goal of the season keeping Atlanta’s post-season hopes alive heading into the weekend.
“I drove to the net, I was fortunate it hit me,” Antropov said after the game.
Chris Mason was the #1 star in a game where the Thrashers played a style of hockey that was dearly missed throughout parts of the season.
“The trouble with us is, we seem to have not been ready for teams that are near us in the point standings. We come into a place like this knowing we have to be ready or we’ll get our butts kicked. I don’t know what it is. Maybe we just get more prepared,” Goaltender Chris Mason said following the game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Atlanta finished their season series 3-1 against the Flyers this season.
Thrasher forward Blake Wheeler and defensemen Mark Stuart return to familiar territory as they face their former teammates for the first time since the trade that also sent forward Rich Peverley to the Bruins.
A win today in Boston might be Atlanta’s 34 victory of the season and keep slim hopes alive, but it has zero significance if the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers collect a single point this weekend. The Rangers face the Flyers on Sunday. The Sabres face the Washington Capitals tonight and the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow.
As tough of a situation as it is for the Thrashers, winning today’s game and continuing to take points from top teams in the Eastern Conference is a clear indication of where Atlanta is headed, regardless of what the outcome is after a do or die weekend.
Thrashers forwards Jim Slater (concussion), Patrice Cormier (upper body) and defensemen Freddy Meyer (head) are all out for the remainder of the season