Appreciate the info Steve on the Isles' playoff scenario. You never know. I thought they showed a lot of heart last night. They wouldn't die. It's a credit to Ted Nolan. Rob, I thought your post from yesterday on the potential offseason for the Fishsticks was right on. My one question in regards to Dubi is why he's never really been given a shot to be the backup. He's never really been dreadful when I've watched him. And Doneham might be a nice guy but he's got nothing left. He proved that in that must win for Atlanta last year where he let in goal after goal. Though I do believe Mike's advice to the 28 year-old before the shootout was a big reason he stopped all three Ranger shooters.
As a Ranger fan, I'll admit that our team didn't deserve last night's game and even the point was fortunate considering how on their heels they were at the end.
I'm very nervous about tomorrow's game against the Canadiens. They really need to bring everything into this one and come out with the 'W' to ensure a second straight postseason. Don't chance it because if they do, that final game at Mellon Arena could be a problem. The Pens might not be playing for anything but they're a royal pain in the ass and a tough match-up.
My feeling is if the Rangers come to play tomorrow, everything will take care of itself. I really believe in this team and think if they get in, they can play with anyone. Right now, it's all about getting in first. Like the classic Nike commercials say, "Just Do It!"
Tonight, Atlanta takes on the Caps. If they win, they'll be that much closer to a first ever division title. They already locked up the franchise's first ever playoff spot. I believe the Thrashers will be a difficult out in the playoffs due to what they possess up front. KT has added a lot to that team and fit in. Hossa is terrific and Kovalchuk finally gets a chance to shine. Probably the most underrated player on that roster is Slava Kozlov. With the Wings, he was a big playoff performer who notched big goals. And we all know what Holik brings as well as Mellanby. I like Kari Lehtonen in net. The question is the blueline. Look for Bob Hartley to match physical D Andy Sutton against someone's top line. He's their most physical defenseman and plays tough. Do they have enough offense from the backline? Well, I'll repeat one thing which Rob already did. The Isles look stupid for getting only Freddy Myer back for Alexei Zhitnik. Especially when you see how well Zhitnik has fared in Hotlanta and what the Flyers got back in Braydon Coburn, who btw has looked really good thus far.
Everyone assumes that Atlanta would be an easier out than the Sabres or Devils. I'm not so sure. They definitely play a more physical style than either of the other top two and have more size. That kind of style combined with the grit and skill they possess could wear down opponents. We'll certainly see.
Right now, they do lead the Caps 1-0 in the first. A win would put them three up on Tampa for the Southeast. Tampa takes on Florida Friday and faces Atlanta Saturday in a game which could decide it.