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Posted at 2:43 PM ET, 11/19/2010

Thrashers trying to get back on track against Capitals

By Katie Carrera

Andrew LaddNewly-named captain Andrew Ladd and the Atlanta Thrashers host the Caps at 7:30 p.m. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

November has not been kind to the Atlanta Thrashers, who are 1-4-0 in their past five games and 2-5-1 in eight contests this month.

In most of these past five games in particular, Atlanta has been in contention only to cough up a lead or not manage to capitalize on the momentum of a comeback (like in that 6-4 loss Sunday against the Capitals).

"I think, to be honest, we tend to play some of our best hockey against some of the better teams in the league," Atlanta's sophomore left wing Evander Kane said this morning. "The last five games we've been right there and we just haven't been able to find that way to win or that way to hold on to a lead. We need to be able to do that, to learn to have that focus to come out on top in tight games."

Tonight's game marks the fourth meeting between the two clubs this season, with a fifth on tap for Dec. 4, meaning both teams are quite familiar with their opponent at this stage. It should make for an interesting matchup, particularly as Atlanta is feeling the need to win and win soon.

"I think it's an advantage for both teams, to get to see their traits and those things," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You're not going to catch them by surprise. They don't have enough time -- both teams -- to make wholesale changes, whether it'd be systems stuff or personnel stuff. It's like playoffs."

--Ondrej Pavelec will start tonight for Atlanta. He made 16 saves in that loss to the Capitals Sunday after replacing Chris Mason and in 11 career appearances against Washington Pavelec is 1-8 with a 3.91 goals-against average and .879 save percentage.

--Despite leaving the Thrashers' most recent game -- a 2-1 loss to the Panthers -- with a leg bruise, defenseman Dustin Byfuglien skated this morning and it appears as though he will be in the lineup tonight against the Capitals.

--The big news for the Thrashers recently is that the team decided to name Andrew Ladd captain, giving Atlanta someone to wear the "C" for the first time since former captain Ilya Kovalchuk was traded to New Jersey last season.

--Don't forget that tonight's game starts at 7:30 p.m., a half hour later than the usual routine at Verizon Center.

By Katie Carrera  | November 19, 2010; 2:43 PM ET
Categories:  Atlanta Thrashers  
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Thrashers

Comments

Why the thirty minute later start time? Have seen it with other games but don't understand the reasoning behind it.

Posted by: Redwolf1 | November 19, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@Redwolf1

Ever been on the Downtown Connector (I-75/I-85) on a Friday night? The traffic down here speaks volumes for the start time. (I work just blocks away from Phillips Arena and have a great view of the Georgia Dome.)

Enjoy the game. Let's go Caps!

Posted by: Terptwin | November 19, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm not positive Redwolf1, but it seems like weekend night games do tend to start at the 7:30 time [which btw used to be the standard] - maybe due to traffic? Or TV ratings? I don't know.

Speaking of TV btw - how pissed was I to time my gym workout Wed, all psyched to catch the Caps and have time fly - and instead I get effing Wizards?! Ugh - talk about throwing a damper on the entire workout!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 19, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Game is on NHL Network, that could be the reason.

Actually I remember a few years ago 7:30 was the normal start time. Used to be for baseball too (Yankees were at 8 pm I believe).

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 19, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey Terptwin, what's the closest big airport to Atlanta, other than the Atlanta one - for some reason stupid Southwest doesn't fly there!

I have to hit a USA Hockey seminar, supposed to do it in Pitt on Sunday, and I really dislike Pitt enough already without hauling my caboose there all day to sit in some dungy rink!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 19, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

The thing about Bergeron over Carlson is that Bergeron has an incredible shot from the point. That is always big on a PP. Carlson is clearly a much better overall player, but I would take Bergeron over Carlson to play the point on a PP.

I do agree that it is way too early to even consider trading Varly. Neuvy and Holtby both show promise too, but both(just like Varly) have played very few NHL games. I say give it time and let them compete against each other to prove who is best.

In addition, Varly has little trade value now as very few teams are looking for a goalie.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 19, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

atlanta is huge sprawling city, the fan base is almost entirely suburban, and its a downtown rink....they start all their games at 730 to avoid dropping the puck in an empty arena

Posted by: ovckn8 | November 19, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I once drove to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International (BHM) to fly Southwest to Houston Hobby. It's only 2-2.5 hours away depending on where you plan to stay in metro Atlanta.

Here's a link if you'd like to check on Southwest flights: http://www.bhamintlairport.com/

Posted by: Terptwin | November 19, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

@Terptwin - much thanks, I will check it out - anything to avoid driving to Pitt and back this Sunday, thanks man! Oh yeah - and good luck Sat pm, big game!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 19, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - you're right about Bergeron's shot, it's a cannon. But I really think whatever marginal gain he might be - might - at this point over i.e., JC on the 2nd unit, getting that kid PP time will only help his overall game as he sees more game situations and builds his confidence. He's only 20, and will only get better. But I do so where you're coming from.

I also see the need to, just maybe, not have Green and Ovie on the points for 98% of all our overall PP time.

Oh yeah - plus Markov's hurt, I'd think MTL's asking price for MAB just went up too [I do predict PKS experiences definite growing pains this year, way too cocky].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 19, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1 -

Anytime! Hope you have a good time in the ATL. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Btw, here are some sites you might find useful when you visit Georgia's capital city:

http://itsmarta.com/
http://itsmarta.com/
http://allaboutatlanta.net/

Posted by: Terptwin | November 19, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1 - CORRECTION - see the links below

Anytime! Hope you have a good time in the ATL. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Btw, here are some sites you might find useful when you visit Georgia's capital city:

http://www.ajc.com/
http://itsmarta.com/
http://allaboutatlanta.net/

Posted by: Terptwin | November 19, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Timbo_1

Bergeron is a UFA. He never signed with anyone.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@Terptwin

Where's the link to the "Real Housewives of Atlanta"? Psssh, come on man, if you're gonna promote the city, do it right. :P

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | November 19, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

On that Buffalo game the other night we kept hearing how HHGregg was sponsoring HD. Not down here in central VA on DishTV. Who determines whether we get HD?

Posted by: Bartolo1 | November 19, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - gotcha - I just assumed he re-upped with MTL, didn't realize he was still out there. Still leery though.

@Terptwin - much obliged, much obliged!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 19, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I'm leery too, but he could be a good replacement for Sloan. A 7th defenseman who can be used as a sub and can be substituted into the lineup(as a 7th D-man) whenever the PP struggles. That could've been useful last year in the playoffs.

I think if they could get him as a cheaper replacement for Sloan it would be worth it. At least he would have a skill that would be very beneficial.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 19, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

On that Buffalo game the other night we kept hearing how HHGregg was sponsoring HD. Not down here in central VA on DishTV. Who determines whether we get HD?

Posted by: Bartolo1 | November 19, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I'd say DishTV in your area, when it decided not to carry CSN+ in HD. Same was true for RCN in DC, but other providers do offer it in HD.

Posted by: Justafan | November 19, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I hear you on Sloan, I realize playing D ain't easy in the NHL [hell I make it look tough in men's league] and he's young but he needs to step it up. I didn't see him in Hershey, wasn't he pretty good there though?

But, it is a big jump, just like AAA to the majors; some guys [well most actually] never make it. Hopefully he turns things around.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 19, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

>I'd say DishTV in your area,
>when it decided not to carry
>CSN+ in HD. Same was true for
>RCN in DC, but other providers
>do offer it in HD.

In Montgomery County, FIOS had it on 501 which was supposed to be HD but was SD with bars on the sides instead - not cool, esp considering I could see HD highlights from CSN elsewhere.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | November 19, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Who else would love to see Andrew Ladd in a Caps uni?

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | November 19, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris Vivlamore of the AJC reports that Dustin Byfuglien - what a name! - is likely going to suit up tonight. Visit his blog post for more Thrasher's news, including tonight's anticpated line-up:

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-thrashers-blog/2010/11/19/byfuglien-most-likely-back-in-lineup/

Let's go Caps! Let's get two points in Blueland!

Posted by: Terptwin | November 19, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Chris Vivlamore of the AJC reports that Dustin Byfuglien - what a name! - is likely going to suit up tonight. Visit his blog post for more Thrasher's news, including tonight's anticipated line-up:

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-thrashers-blog/2010/11/19/byfuglien-most-likely-back-in-lineup/

Let's go Caps! Let's get two points in Blueland!

Posted by: Terptwin | November 19, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@chris - Not only would I like to see Ladd in a Caps uni, I would really like to see Byfuglien in one. That guy is thunder and lightning on ice. What amazing speed he has for such a big man. It's no wonder that he excelled during Chicago's Stanley Cup run last year.

Posted by: Terptwin | November 19, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The airport in Atlanta is the worst in the country. I don't think I've ever had a flight out of there that wasn't delayed by a few hours.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | November 19, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Just read that Pat Burns has passed away. He put up a good fight. RIP Mr. Burns.

Posted by: natresgroup | November 19, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

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