Atlanta Thrashers coach John Anderson didn’t want to use the word “horrific” to describe the special teams’ play after Atlanta’s 5-2 drubbing by the doormat Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night at Philips Arena, but he was rightfully at a loss of words to describe it any other way.
The Thrashers were 0-for-6 and mustered just six shots in 12 minutes with the extra attacker while the team from Raleigh capitalized on three of their four chances.
The result was an embarrassing loss to the worst team in the league.
Anyhow, without any further fan fare, let’s get to the notes after this much-unneeded home defeat.
1) Staaled out over Atlanta. Eric Staal once again had a sensational night in Atlanta, posting his second career hat trick here to lead his team to victory.
The newly minted Carolina captain has recorded a staggering 14 goals and 14 assists in 19 games at Philips Arena. He was already talking like a captain after this one.
“It was a nice game for us,” Staal said. “It was a nice effort by everybody, and I thought our penalty kill was superb.”
2) Schubert to the IR. The Atlanta Thrashers placed D Christoph Schubert on the injured list on Wednesday. The Atlanta blueliner has missed the last three games with a lower body injury.
D Mark Popovic (foot) and C Todd White (lower body) were Atlanta’s two scratches on Thursday.
3) Not back-to-back, jack. It’s difficult for a team to gain traction in a playoff race if they cannot string together a winning streak, especially in a league where momentum gets you to its second season. Atlanta has not notched back-to-back wins since December 12-14, when the club defeated the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers.
You have to dig even deeper to find the last time the Thrashers won two straight in regulation, which occurred on November 28-30, vs. the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers.
4) Ward(en) of Philips Arena. Another player who has done well before a usually half-empty Philips Arena crowd is Carolina netminder Cam Ward.
He steered aside 32 of 34 shots for his club in this one to notch the win and improve to 9-3-0 lifetime at Atlanta’s home rink.
““I don’t know why,” Ward said when asked of his success here. “It’s not the easiest place to play with all of those dark seats.”
5) Oh where oh where has the defense gone? Atlanta has been prone to slow starts with defensive breakdowns leading the way. On Tuesday night, two defensive lapses put the Thrashers in a hole in which they never recovered.
Atlanta has been outscored, 52-35, in the first period this season.
Quote of the night – Anderson on the play of the Thrashers’ special teams: “I don’t want to use the word, ‘horrific,’ but that’s the first thing that comes to my mind. Our power play isn’t generating a lot.”