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Thrashers need to beef up penalty kill

Monday, 09.14.2009 / 3:00 AM / 2009-2010 Season Preview

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

ATLANTA THRASHERS
2008-09 SEASON STATS

Category Rank (Conference)
2008-09 Points 76
(13TH EAst/27TH NHL)
Change from 2007-08 No change
Home Points 38
(14th EAst/28th NHL)
Away Points 38
(11tH EAst/20tH NHL)
Advantage Margin
-9
One reason the Thrashers were more competitive on the road than at home was their ability to draw power plays away from Philips Arena -- their 170 opportunities were third in the NHL among road teams.

Even-Strength Goals Margin
-13
Although he finished with a minus-12 rating, Ilya Kovalchuk was tied for second in the NHL (with New Jersey's Zach Parise) with 31 even-strength goals.
   
Special Teams Goal Margin       
-16
Atlanta struggled badly on the penalty kill, allowing 88 power-play goals, the second-most in the NHL. However, the Thrashers' penalty-killers were second in the NHL with 15 shorthanded goals.       

Goals by defensemen           
31
Though he missed time with injuries, 2008 top pick Zach Bogosian showed signs of being the offensive defenseman the Thrashers have never had by scoring nine goals in just 47 games.

Overtime Record            
Total: 11-5-1 (OT: 4-5, SO: 7-1)
Though the Thrashers struggled all season to keep the puck out of their net, Atlanta led the NHL in winning percentage in shootouts (.875) largely because of the play of its goaltenders: Kari Lehtonen went 4-1 and Johan Hedberg was 2-0 and stopped 12 of 13 shots.

Times Scored First           
39 (Record: 26-10-3)   
The Thrashers were nothing if not consistent when scoring first, winning two-thirds of the games in which they got the first goal, both at home and on the road.

Best 08-09 Number            
9-4-0
The Thrashers' record in March, by far their best showing in any month of the season. Overall, Atlanta was 18-12-1 in its last 31 games after going 17-29-5 in the first four months of the season.

Worst 08-09 Number         
5-13-2
Atlanta's combined record on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Thrashers were 1-6-1 on Wednesdays and 4-7-1 on Thursdays -- but combined to finish over .500 on the other five days of the week.

Scheduling
It won't be a happy holiday season in Atlanta -- the Thrashers begin a seven-game road trip in Boston on Dec. 23. Atlanta plays 17 games in March, but 12 are at home -- including nine of 11 in one stretch.
Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season