When the Atlanta Thrashers arrived at the HSBC Arena on Saturday night, four points separated them from the 8th place Buffalo Sabres. Several hours later, the team left the rink after a disappointing 8-2 loss. To make matters worse, the Sabres hosted the Nashville Predators on Sunday and gained a valuable point in an overtime loss. Seven points now separate the Thrashers from the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
A four day break began yesterday for the Thrashers as they look to re-group for a matchup on Thursday night against the New York Islanders at the Nassau County Memorial Coliseum. Going back to the drawing board is exactly what the Thrashers will need to do in order to get back in the win column. It’s not a do or die situation just yet, but with ten games to go in the 2010-11 regular season, every single game is crucial.
” We pitched a stinker. We can’t really dwell on it and let it be the turning point of our season. Every game is a must-win, so we’ll regroup,” Thrasher forward Anthony Stewart said after the loss.
The loss on Saturday night put an end to a 4-1-1 stretch for the Thrashers and brought their regular season total in the loss column to 30. With a 30-30-12 record through 72 games, Atlanta must find a way starting on Thursday night to get their battle level back to where it’s been through stretches of the season.
Odd-man Rushes and turnovers seemed to be a regularity at certain points allowing the speed of the Sabres to take over and put pucks past a frustrated Ondrej Pavelec, followed by backup Chris Mason. Furthermore, the outcome of the Sabres taking a two-goal lead in the 2nd period, was the ultimate downfall of the Thrashers bench.
“We allowed our frustration to take control of the game. We have to play with pride. We lost our pride and our compete,” Head Coach Craig Ramsey said.
Atlanta had a chance to keep themselves in the game until forward Nathan Gerbe’s 10th goal of the season put Buffalo ahead 4-2 in the 2nd. From there, it started a five goal run ending with a power play goal by Sabres forward Tim Connolly in the final frame giving Buffalo an 8-2 victory and a huge two points.
Thursday night, expect Atlanta to re-group on Long Island as they begin the final 10 games of the 2010-11 season. Time is running out.