I consider it an upgrade over Sunday. After allowing 8 unanswered goals, the Thrashers finally scored, coming from Antropov with assists by Oduya and Bergfors, who continues to out produce Kovalchuk.
And that was all we got. Two first period goals by the Predators were all that it took. One by Suter, one by Wilson - but despite the fact that the Wilson goal was listed as unassisted, Mark Popovic probably needs to get one on it. Come to think of it, he had a generally atrocious game tonight. I really do sense a Kulda call-up here before Friday, which is nice, because I'm looking forward to finally getting to see the kid play a regular season game in person this year. Bogosian plays so much better with him, honestly.
The power play has gone from a predictable passing pattern with maybe one or two shots attempted to some weird spastic display of overmovement and overthought. No one wants to just take a chance and shoot, or when they do pass, they manage to pass it to someone who isn't in a shooting lane at all. There were several times tonight on the power play where Enstrom had a wide open net for a point shot and no one got him the puck.
I really think that the most frustrating thing about tonight was Thorburn's goal that got called back for goaltender interference. To see us tie the game, and then to have the ref signal no goal, well, that was deflating for the fans and to the team. We picked it up in the 3rd, but Dan Ellis was on his game tonight, and nothing was going to squeak past him again.
If we don't pick it up, we're out. Gone. So much for the hope of playoffs that we flirted with for most of the season. That 10 game losing streak in December is what basically sucked any wiggle room out of the season. Whatever the reason for it - and I still feel it was team uncertainty over the Kovalchuk situation - we can't lose many more games. Our schedule isn't that hard, and we just lost two of three games to teams that we should have, and could have beaten easily.
I've been a hockey fan for long enough to know that you don't base team loyalty on if your guys make the playoffs or not. That being said, with a team as good as we have here this season, and as close as we were, this is more frustrating than usual. It'll go down with 2005-2006 as one of those coulda... shoulda... but not quite seasons.
At least Columbus is still right there with us.