Dateline: New York, NY, 30 October 2008. The Atlanta Thrashers have completed their first 10 games and, while not eliminated, are Dusting Off Clubs.
The Thrashers are currently finishing Games 1-10 below their historical Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) average by a -1. Their play places them at OGA's rating of Dusting Off Clubs. Despite the fact that the Thrashers have not failed to tell us in their first 10 games how their season is going to end since the Lockout, this ranking indicates that ATL is not eliminated, but they are on a path that will make that happen if they cannot put a halt to their losing ways. With a 7-0 loss to PHI, ATL's losing goal differential is a -1.22. Without that 7-0 loss, the differential is only a -.5 goals which is a deficit that, similar to the Thrashers' current PQC rating, is not insurmountable. PLUSES: The play of Center BRYAN LITTLE on the Thrashers' top line who has the only GWG from this period and is their leading scorer; SOG from HAINSEY and SCHNEIDER on the blueline; NHL top 10 in team SOGs; and competitiveness that led to defeat of BUFFALO and took DETROIT to a 3rd period EN goal. MINUSES: Injury to BOGOSIAN; SOG against makes ATL 29th in the NHL; less than 75% on the PK.
In the next 10 games, the Thrashers historically gain about six wins. They tend to play three games in either Overtime or on to the Shootout in this stretch. Games 11 - 20 are played between 1 - 25 NOVEMBER and half of them are played at home. The Thrashers will play all but one game against the Eastern Conference, including a home-and-home against CAROLINA. Their matchups also include, with the 30 October game against the NEW YORK RANGERS, a complete run through the Atlantic Division. So it is not an easy 10 game period to skate through. In order to stay in the hunt for the playoffs, ATL will have to turn around the six, one-goal losses they suffered in the season's opening stanza and make one-goal games a win instead of a loss.