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dan-herrejon
Lightning are going to Three-peat
A new season is upon us. For the Tampa Bay Lightning it begins tonight as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Today every team is undefeated. All 32 NHL teams are still mathematically in the hunt for the postseason. That’ll change by American Thanksgiving when the contenders begin to separate from the pretenders. As the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Lightning are the only team that can repeat as champions this season. They will be reminded of that when the 2021 Stanley Cup banner is raised to the Amalie Arena rafters. The other 31 teams will also remind them when the Lightning is on the schedule. If last season was any indication the Lightning core group will forget last season the moment the banner is hung. Actually this Lightning team can achieve something that hasn’t happened in the salary cap era. A “Three-peat”. Winning three consecutive Cups is rare. Since the original expansion in 1967, only two teams have won three consecutive Cups. Joining the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders could be the proper level of incentive the Lightning need. Since the Cup win over the Canadiens last Spring, there have been numerous changes to the Lightning roster. Sadly, gone is the third line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. No doubt that trio will be missed. Fans shouldn’t expect three players to play like those recently departed players. Their departure however does present opportunities for other players. Also gone are Tyler Johnson, Luke Schenn and David Savard. Now that the final roster has been set, we know who the new faces are. New to the Lightning are forwards: Corey Perry, Pierre-Edoard Bellemare, Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk. On defense, there is a new old name. Zach Bogosian re-signed with the team. Lastly, All-Galaxy Goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy has a new understudy - Brian Elliott replacing the recently retired Curtis McElhinney. As they prepare for the first puck drop of the new season, a review of the division shows that the Lightning are the cream of the crop. Who is going to step up and challenge them? The aging Boston Bruins? The underachieving Toronto Maple Leafs? The much improved Florida Panthers? To be the king, you have to beat the king. Because the core group of the Lightning remains intact, they don’t seem willing to abdicate. This makes it harder for the challengers to dethrone them. So which team will challenge the Lightning the most? I think we saw the team that will ruffle the Lightning feathers the most in the division during the preseason. The Panthers coached by Joel Quenneville should be nipping at the Lightning heels throughout the season. Ultimately, the little brother Cats won’t have enough to supplant the bigger brother Lightning during the regular season or playoffs. Many in the NHL media seem to love Toronto. I get it. They have some of the best forwards in the game. Any team would love to throw Auston Mathews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander on the ice. Yet as we’ve seen in recent postseasons, those guys aren’t enough. In the off-season, the Leafs added more questions than answers to their goaltending and defense. Every team changes every year and the Boston Bruins are no exception. For most playoff contenders it’s the names that remain that give them a leg up. Again, the Bruins are no exception. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand make one of the best lines in the league. Any opponent that underestimates this line does so to their own detriment. Of the remaining teams, only the Montreal Canadiens could sneak their way into the postseason. Though if they do, they will do it without Captain shea Weber. The other teams: Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are clearly in the pretender pile. Ottawa and Detroit are on the rise but let’s not forget their starting point. Here’s my prediction for the Atlantic: Lightning Panthers Bruins Maple Leafs Canadiens Detroit Ottawa Buffalo The salary cap era has leveled the playing field. We’ve seen that over the last almost 20 years. It has been difficult to maintain a level of excellency season to season. In this time, the Lightning have proved to be the exception. A quick recap of the Jeff Vinik era in Lightning history showing this level of greatness. Two Stanley Cups in three appearances. Six Conference Finals appearances, winning three of those. Their superiority in this league is well documented over the last dozen years. The thing is this season can catapult this franchise into a stratosphere rarely seen. They have a chance to go back to back to back. A Three-Peat. Some say good things come in threes but the pressure on this 2021-22 roster will be intense. There are a plethora of teams that are looking to dethrone our champions. The issue for those contenders is they lack one thing. The Lightning’s core group. That is where the last two Cups were won. Vasilevskiy is the best big game goalie in the game. On defense, Victor Hedman is an elite defenseman and arguably still the best in the NHL. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point are two of the best forwards in the game. Kucherov impressed with his stellar postseason last season while missing every regular season game. Aside from being one of the fastest centers in the game, Point has an incredible nose for the net. Last but not least, their lynchpin - Captain Steven Stamkos. If you have read any of my previous work, you know I am a Stamkos fan. His body of work is Hall of Fame worthy, yet he still maintains a high level of skills. Who on the roster would you rather have on the right dot on the power play? The core group carries the load but no team wins a Cup without all the players playing their roles. The Lightning check all the boxes here. On defense, Ryan McDonagh is as solid a player as he is a leader. I am convinced Anthony Cirelli is a future Selke Award winner. Steady Alex Killorn and 200 foot playing, Ondrej Palat. But wait! There’s more. Among the forwards, Ross Colton, Matthieu Joseph, Pat Maroon join the new players to the roster. On defense, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, and Cal Foote join Bogosian. As this team has done during the Vinik era, these guys are deep. They are not going to hand back the Cup without a fight. Battles throughout the 82 game regular season. The boys begin to bond over some of the tough wins and losses. The combat at the start of the playoffs. When the games get real, this team has played balls out. The war the Stanley Cup Final brings. Something tells me our boys are ready. Something tells me they are ready to make some NHL history. First team to win three consecutive Cups in the Cap era. One of only three teams to win that many consecutive Cups since 1967 (First NHL expansion). These boys, our boys, are on the precipice of history. Something tells me there isn’t a team ready to take what’s theirs.
0.00
11
2
dan-herrejon
Lightning are going to Three-peat
A new season is upon us. For the Tampa Bay Lightning it begins tonight as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Today every team is undefeated. All 32 NHL teams are still mathematically in the hunt for the postseason. That’ll change by American Thanksgiving when the contenders begin to separate from the pretenders. As the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Lightning are the only team that can repeat as champions this season. They will be reminded of that when the 2021 Stanley Cup banner is raised to the Amalie Arena rafters. The other 31 teams will also remind them when the Lightning is on the schedule. If last season was any indication the Lightning core group will forget last season the moment the banner is hung. Actually this Lightning team can achieve something that hasn’t happened in the salary cap era. A “Three-peat”. Winning three consecutive Cups is rare. Since the original expansion in 1967, only two teams have won three consecutive Cups. Joining the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders could be the proper level of incentive the Lightning need. Since the Cup win over the Canadiens last Spring, there have been numerous changes to the Lightning roster. Sadly, gone is the third line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. No doubt that trio will be missed. Fans shouldn’t expect three players to play like those recently departed players. Their departure however does present opportunities for other players. Also gone are Tyler Johnson, Luke Schenn and David Savard. Now that the final roster has been set, we know who the new faces are. New to the Lightning are forwards: Corey Perry, Pierre-Edoard Bellemare, Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk. On defense, there is a new old name. Zach Bogosian re-signed with the team. Lastly, All-Galaxy Goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy has a new understudy - Brian Elliott replacing the recently retired Curtis McElhinney. As they prepare for the first puck drop of the new season, a review of the division shows that the Lightning are the cream of the crop. Who is going to step up and challenge them? The aging Boston Bruins? The underachieving Toronto Maple Leafs? The much improved Florida Panthers? To be the king, you have to beat the king. Because the core group of the Lightning remains intact, they don’t seem willing to abdicate. This makes it harder for the challengers to dethrone them. So which team will challenge the Lightning the most? I think we saw the team that will ruffle the Lightning feathers the most in the division during the preseason. The Panthers coached by Joel Quenneville should be nipping at the Lightning heels throughout the season. Ultimately, the little brother Cats won’t have enough to supplant the bigger brother Lightning during the regular season or playoffs. Many in the NHL media seem to love Toronto. I get it. They have some of the best forwards in the game. Any team would love to throw Auston Mathews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander on the ice. Yet as we’ve seen in recent postseasons, those guys aren’t enough. In the off-season, the Leafs added more questions than answers to their goaltending and defense. Every team changes every year and the Boston Bruins are no exception. For most playoff contenders it’s the names that remain that give them a leg up. Again, the Bruins are no exception. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand make one of the best lines in the league. Any opponent that underestimates this line does so to their own detriment. Of the remaining teams, only the Montreal Canadiens could sneak their way into the postseason. Though if they do, they will do it without Captain shea Weber. The other teams: Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are clearly in the pretender pile. Ottawa and Detroit are on the rise but let’s not forget their starting point. Here’s my prediction for the Atlantic: Lightning Panthers Bruins Maple Leafs Canadiens Detroit Ottawa Buffalo The salary cap era has leveled the playing field. We’ve seen that over the last almost 20 years. It has been difficult to maintain a level of excellency season to season. In this time, the Lightning have proved to be the exception. A quick recap of the Jeff Vinik era in Lightning history showing this level of greatness. Two Stanley Cups in three appearances. Six Conference Finals appearances, winning three of those. Their superiority in this league is well documented over the last dozen years. The thing is this season can catapult this franchise into a stratosphere rarely seen. They have a chance to go back to back to back. A Three-Peat. Some say good things come in threes but the pressure on this 2021-22 roster will be intense. There are a plethora of teams that are looking to dethrone our champions. The issue for those contenders is they lack one thing. The Lightning’s core group. That is where the last two Cups were won. Vasilevskiy is the best big game goalie in the game. On defense, Victor Hedman is an elite defenseman and arguably still the best in the NHL. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point are two of the best forwards in the game. Kucherov impressed with his stellar postseason last season while missing every regular season game. Aside from being one of the fastest centers in the game, Point has an incredible nose for the net. Last but not least, their lynchpin - Captain Steven Stamkos. If you have read any of my previous work, you know I am a Stamkos fan. His body of work is Hall of Fame worthy, yet he still maintains a high level of skills. Who on the roster would you rather have on the right dot on the power play? The core group carries the load but no team wins a Cup without all the players playing their roles. The Lightning check all the boxes here. On defense, Ryan McDonagh is as solid a player as he is a leader. I am convinced Anthony Cirelli is a future Selke Award winner. Steady Alex Killorn and 200 foot playing, Ondrej Palat. But wait! There’s more. Among the forwards, Ross Colton, Matthieu Joseph, Pat Maroon join the new players to the roster. On defense, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, and Cal Foote join Bogosian. As this team has done during the Vinik era, these guys are deep. They are not going to hand back the Cup without a fight. Battles throughout the 82 game regular season. The boys begin to bond over some of the tough wins and losses. The combat at the start of the playoffs. When the games get real, this team has played balls out. The war the Stanley Cup Final brings. Something tells me our boys are ready. Something tells me they are ready to make some NHL history. First team to win three consecutive Cups in the Cap era. One of only three teams to win that many consecutive Cups since 1967 (First NHL expansion). These boys, our boys, are on the precipice of history. Something tells me there isn’t a team ready to take what’s theirs.
0.00
11
2
dan-herrejon
Lightning are going to Three-peat
A new season is upon us. For the Tampa Bay Lightning it begins tonight as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Today every team is undefeated. All 32 NHL teams are still mathematically in the hunt for the postseason. That’ll change by American Thanksgiving when the contenders begin to separate from the pretenders. As the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Lightning are the only team that can repeat as champions this season. They will be reminded of that when the 2021 Stanley Cup banner is raised to the Amalie Arena rafters. The other 31 teams will also remind them when the Lightning is on the schedule. If last season was any indication the Lightning core group will forget last season the moment the banner is hung. Actually this Lightning team can achieve something that hasn’t happened in the salary cap era. A “Three-peat”. Winning three consecutive Cups is rare. Since the original expansion in 1967, only two teams have won three consecutive Cups. Joining the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders could be the proper level of incentive the Lightning need. Since the Cup win over the Canadiens last Spring, there have been numerous changes to the Lightning roster. Sadly, gone is the third line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. No doubt that trio will be missed. Fans shouldn’t expect three players to play like those recently departed players. Their departure however does present opportunities for other players. Also gone are Tyler Johnson, Luke Schenn and David Savard. Now that the final roster has been set, we know who the new faces are. New to the Lightning are forwards: Corey Perry, Pierre-Edoard Bellemare, Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk. On defense, there is a new old name. Zach Bogosian re-signed with the team. Lastly, All-Galaxy Goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy has a new understudy - Brian Elliott replacing the recently retired Curtis McElhinney. As they prepare for the first puck drop of the new season, a review of the division shows that the Lightning are the cream of the crop. Who is going to step up and challenge them? The aging Boston Bruins? The underachieving Toronto Maple Leafs? The much improved Florida Panthers? To be the king, you have to beat the king. Because the core group of the Lightning remains intact, they don’t seem willing to abdicate. This makes it harder for the challengers to dethrone them. So which team will challenge the Lightning the most? I think we saw the team that will ruffle the Lightning feathers the most in the division during the preseason. The Panthers coached by Joel Quenneville should be nipping at the Lightning heels throughout the season. Ultimately, the little brother Cats won’t have enough to supplant the bigger brother Lightning during the regular season or playoffs. Many in the NHL media seem to love Toronto. I get it. They have some of the best forwards in the game. Any team would love to throw Auston Mathews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander on the ice. Yet as we’ve seen in recent postseasons, those guys aren’t enough. In the off-season, the Leafs added more questions than answers to their goaltending and defense. Every team changes every year and the Boston Bruins are no exception. For most playoff contenders it’s the names that remain that give them a leg up. Again, the Bruins are no exception. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand make one of the best lines in the league. Any opponent that underestimates this line does so to their own detriment. Of the remaining teams, only the Montreal Canadiens could sneak their way into the postseason. Though if they do, they will do it without Captain shea Weber. The other teams: Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are clearly in the pretender pile. Ottawa and Detroit are on the rise but let’s not forget their starting point. Here’s my prediction for the Atlantic: Lightning Panthers Bruins Maple Leafs Canadiens Detroit Ottawa Buffalo The salary cap era has leveled the playing field. We’ve seen that over the last almost 20 years. It has been difficult to maintain a level of excellency season to season. In this time, the Lightning have proved to be the exception. A quick recap of the Jeff Vinik era in Lightning history showing this level of greatness. Two Stanley Cups in three appearances. Six Conference Finals appearances, winning three of those. Their superiority in this league is well documented over the last dozen years. The thing is this season can catapult this franchise into a stratosphere rarely seen. They have a chance to go back to back to back. A Three-Peat. Some say good things come in threes but the pressure on this 2021-22 roster will be intense. There are a plethora of teams that are looking to dethrone our champions. The issue for those contenders is they lack one thing. The Lightning’s core group. That is where the last two Cups were won. Vasilevskiy is the best big game goalie in the game. On defense, Victor Hedman is an elite defenseman and arguably still the best in the NHL. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point are two of the best forwards in the game. Kucherov impressed with his stellar postseason last season while missing every regular season game. Aside from being one of the fastest centers in the game, Point has an incredible nose for the net. Last but not least, their lynchpin - Captain Steven Stamkos. If you have read any of my previous work, you know I am a Stamkos fan. His body of work is Hall of Fame worthy, yet he still maintains a high level of skills. Who on the roster would you rather have on the right dot on the power play? The core group carries the load but no team wins a Cup without all the players playing their roles. The Lightning check all the boxes here. On defense, Ryan McDonagh is as solid a player as he is a leader. I am convinced Anthony Cirelli is a future Selke Award winner. Steady Alex Killorn and 200 foot playing, Ondrej Palat. But wait! There’s more. Among the forwards, Ross Colton, Matthieu Joseph, Pat Maroon join the new players to the roster. On defense, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, and Cal Foote join Bogosian. As this team has done during the Vinik era, these guys are deep. They are not going to hand back the Cup without a fight. Battles throughout the 82 game regular season. The boys begin to bond over some of the tough wins and losses. The combat at the start of the playoffs. When the games get real, this team has played balls out. The war the Stanley Cup Final brings. Something tells me our boys are ready. Something tells me they are ready to make some NHL history. First team to win three consecutive Cups in the Cap era. One of only three teams to win that many consecutive Cups since 1967 (First NHL expansion). These boys, our boys, are on the precipice of history. Something tells me there isn’t a team ready to take what’s theirs.
0.00
11
2

zmiller82
The Last Hurrah #9: Pittsburgh Penguins v. Atlanta Thrashers 4/10/2011 @ Philips Arena
By Zane Miller On Sunday, April 10th, 2011, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 5-2 in the final NHL game played at Philips Arena so far, as the Thrashers relocated at the end of the season to become the Winnipeg Jets. On Thursday, June 5th, 1997, Philips Arena (now State Farm Arena) broke ground as construction began on the new facility, as the arena was intended to replace the Omni Coliseum, which was also in Atlanta and had opened in 1972 and was closed on May 11th, 1997. Meanwhile, the prospect of a brand new arena brought in interest for a new National Hockey League franchise, as Atlanta was granted an NHL team on Wednesday, June 25th, 1997. Coincidentally, the very next day saw the demolition of the Omni Coliseum. Prior to the new team’s first season, which would be for 1999-2000, the Atlanta Thrashers name was selected as a result of a fan vote. On Saturday, September 18th, 1999, Philips Arena officially opened to the public, however the first regular season game for the Thrashers would not be until October of that same year. The Thrashers started off with a 14-61-7 record (.187 win percentage) in their debut season, which still stands as the worst for the Thrashers/Jets franchise as of this writing. The team struggled throughout the first half of their tenure in Atlanta, finishing with losing records in each of their first five seasons in the league. The primary bright spot for the Thrashers was forward Ilya Kovalchuk, whom the team drafted with the first overall pick in 2001 and had quickly put together a pair of solid seasons, scoring 38 and 41 goals in 2002-03 and 2003-04 respectively. Following the 2004-05 lockout, the Thrashers came out with their first non-losing season in 2005-06, claiming a 41-41 record. While the team missed the playoffs for that season, their stronger showing than in years prior would help them build momentum for 2006-07. Atlanta scored a 43-39 record in 2006-07, not only giving them their first winning record in franchise history, but also allowing them to reach the 2007 playoffs. Their first round opponent would be the New York Rangers, coming in with a 42-40 record. However, Atlanta would not be able to capitalize on their postseason appearance, as they were unable to score a win in the series with the Rangers sweeping them four games to none. New York moved on to the second round, although they would be eliminated in six games by the Buffalo Sabres. The Thrashers would not be able to reach their 2006-07 peak throughout the remainder of their time in Atlanta, with their next four seasons resulting in losing records along with no playoff appearances. Coming into their last game of the 2010-11 season, Atlanta sat with a 34-47 record. While the Thrashers were out of playoff contention, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on the other hand, were solidly inside the postseason with a 48-33 showing. Starting in goal for Pittsburgh would be league veteran Brent Johnson. While fellow Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury saw most of the starts for the Penguins that season, Johnson performed well in his share of games with a 12-8 record and .920 save percentage. Atlanta sent out their backup in Chris Mason, who would be looking to build upon a 13-15 record before heading into the offseason. Early on in the contest, it looked as though the Thrashers would be able to finish the season on a high note, with forward and team captain Andrew Ladd scoring on the power play just over four minutes in. The Penguins would not answer in the rest of the first period, with the Thrashers taking a 1-0 advantage into the locker room. Starting with the second period, however, Pittsburgh would be denied no longer as forward Tyler Kennedy added a power play goal of his own at the 6:25 mark, followed up by forward Pascal Dupuis taking the lead for the Penguins as he scored at 10:53. The team kept the momentum going as forward Mike Rupp scored at 15:27 to make it a 3-1 game, before forward Mark Letestu tacked on another goal at 18:14. When the dust settled, Pittsburgh held a 4-1 lead going into the third period. In the third, Atlanta continued to fight with their final goal as the Thrashers scored on the power play courtesy of forward Tim Stapleton at 13:15. However, Pittsburgh slammed the door on any comeback attempt with 1:28 to go in the game, as forward Mike Comrie scored an empty net goal to put the Penguins ahead by three once again. Not only was this Comrie’s first goal of the season, but it would also be his final goal scored during his career. The Penguins claimed the 5-2 victory to finish the season at 49-33, while the Thrashers fell to 34-48 with the loss. The Penguins would face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2011 playoffs, although their playoff run would not be as successful as their regular season with Tampa Bay winning the series in seven games. On Tuesday, May 31st, 2011, it was formally announced that the Atlanta Thrashers would be relocating to Winnipeg, Manitoba to become the Jets, essentially reviving the team that had played in the NHL from the 1979-80 season until 1995-96. However, unlike other facilities that I have covered in this series, State Farm Arena is still in business to this day, as the arena still hosts the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. Due to this fact, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the NHL returning to the facility at some point, most likely as a one-off exhibition game. However, a full-time team returning to State Farm Arena is far more unlikely at this point. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Zmiller_82
0.00
11
2

zmiller82
The Last Hurrah #9: Pittsburgh Penguins v. Atlanta Thrashers 4/10/2011 @ Philips Arena
By Zane Miller On Sunday, April 10th, 2011, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 5-2 in the final NHL game played at Philips Arena so far, as the Thrashers relocated at the end of the season to become the Winnipeg Jets. On Thursday, June 5th, 1997, Philips Arena (now State Farm Arena) broke ground as construction began on the new facility, as the arena was intended to replace the Omni Coliseum, which was also in Atlanta and had opened in 1972 and was closed on May 11th, 1997. Meanwhile, the prospect of a brand new arena brought in interest for a new National Hockey League franchise, as Atlanta was granted an NHL team on Wednesday, June 25th, 1997. Coincidentally, the very next day saw the demolition of the Omni Coliseum. Prior to the new team’s first season, which would be for 1999-2000, the Atlanta Thrashers name was selected as a result of a fan vote. On Saturday, September 18th, 1999, Philips Arena officially opened to the public, however the first regular season game for the Thrashers would not be until October of that same year. The Thrashers started off with a 14-61-7 record (.187 win percentage) in their debut season, which still stands as the worst for the Thrashers/Jets franchise as of this writing. The team struggled throughout the first half of their tenure in Atlanta, finishing with losing records in each of their first five seasons in the league. The primary bright spot for the Thrashers was forward Ilya Kovalchuk, whom the team drafted with the first overall pick in 2001 and had quickly put together a pair of solid seasons, scoring 38 and 41 goals in 2002-03 and 2003-04 respectively. Following the 2004-05 lockout, the Thrashers came out with their first non-losing season in 2005-06, claiming a 41-41 record. While the team missed the playoffs for that season, their stronger showing than in years prior would help them build momentum for 2006-07. Atlanta scored a 43-39 record in 2006-07, not only giving them their first winning record in franchise history, but also allowing them to reach the 2007 playoffs. Their first round opponent would be the New York Rangers, coming in with a 42-40 record. However, Atlanta would not be able to capitalize on their postseason appearance, as they were unable to score a win in the series with the Rangers sweeping them four games to none. New York moved on to the second round, although they would be eliminated in six games by the Buffalo Sabres. The Thrashers would not be able to reach their 2006-07 peak throughout the remainder of their time in Atlanta, with their next four seasons resulting in losing records along with no playoff appearances. Coming into their last game of the 2010-11 season, Atlanta sat with a 34-47 record. While the Thrashers were out of playoff contention, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on the other hand, were solidly inside the postseason with a 48-33 showing. Starting in goal for Pittsburgh would be league veteran Brent Johnson. While fellow Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury saw most of the starts for the Penguins that season, Johnson performed well in his share of games with a 12-8 record and .920 save percentage. Atlanta sent out their backup in Chris Mason, who would be looking to build upon a 13-15 record before heading into the offseason. Early on in the contest, it looked as though the Thrashers would be able to finish the season on a high note, with forward and team captain Andrew Ladd scoring on the power play just over four minutes in. The Penguins would not answer in the rest of the first period, with the Thrashers taking a 1-0 advantage into the locker room. Starting with the second period, however, Pittsburgh would be denied no longer as forward Tyler Kennedy added a power play goal of his own at the 6:25 mark, followed up by forward Pascal Dupuis taking the lead for the Penguins as he scored at 10:53. The team kept the momentum going as forward Mike Rupp scored at 15:27 to make it a 3-1 game, before forward Mark Letestu tacked on another goal at 18:14. When the dust settled, Pittsburgh held a 4-1 lead going into the third period. In the third, Atlanta continued to fight with their final goal as the Thrashers scored on the power play courtesy of forward Tim Stapleton at 13:15. However, Pittsburgh slammed the door on any comeback attempt with 1:28 to go in the game, as forward Mike Comrie scored an empty net goal to put the Penguins ahead by three once again. Not only was this Comrie’s first goal of the season, but it would also be his final goal scored during his career. The Penguins claimed the 5-2 victory to finish the season at 49-33, while the Thrashers fell to 34-48 with the loss. The Penguins would face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2011 playoffs, although their playoff run would not be as successful as their regular season with Tampa Bay winning the series in seven games. On Tuesday, May 31st, 2011, it was formally announced that the Atlanta Thrashers would be relocating to Winnipeg, Manitoba to become the Jets, essentially reviving the team that had played in the NHL from the 1979-80 season until 1995-96. However, unlike other facilities that I have covered in this series, State Farm Arena is still in business to this day, as the arena still hosts the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. Due to this fact, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the NHL returning to the facility at some point, most likely as a one-off exhibition game. However, a full-time team returning to State Farm Arena is far more unlikely at this point. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Zmiller_82
0.00
11
2

zmiller82
The Last Hurrah #9: Pittsburgh Penguins v. Atlanta Thrashers 4/10/2011 @ Philips Arena
By Zane Miller On Sunday, April 10th, 2011, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 5-2 in the final NHL game played at Philips Arena so far, as the Thrashers relocated at the end of the season to become the Winnipeg Jets. On Thursday, June 5th, 1997, Philips Arena (now State Farm Arena) broke ground as construction began on the new facility, as the arena was intended to replace the Omni Coliseum, which was also in Atlanta and had opened in 1972 and was closed on May 11th, 1997. Meanwhile, the prospect of a brand new arena brought in interest for a new National Hockey League franchise, as Atlanta was granted an NHL team on Wednesday, June 25th, 1997. Coincidentally, the very next day saw the demolition of the Omni Coliseum. Prior to the new team’s first season, which would be for 1999-2000, the Atlanta Thrashers name was selected as a result of a fan vote. On Saturday, September 18th, 1999, Philips Arena officially opened to the public, however the first regular season game for the Thrashers would not be until October of that same year. The Thrashers started off with a 14-61-7 record (.187 win percentage) in their debut season, which still stands as the worst for the Thrashers/Jets franchise as of this writing. The team struggled throughout the first half of their tenure in Atlanta, finishing with losing records in each of their first five seasons in the league. The primary bright spot for the Thrashers was forward Ilya Kovalchuk, whom the team drafted with the first overall pick in 2001 and had quickly put together a pair of solid seasons, scoring 38 and 41 goals in 2002-03 and 2003-04 respectively. Following the 2004-05 lockout, the Thrashers came out with their first non-losing season in 2005-06, claiming a 41-41 record. While the team missed the playoffs for that season, their stronger showing than in years prior would help them build momentum for 2006-07. Atlanta scored a 43-39 record in 2006-07, not only giving them their first winning record in franchise history, but also allowing them to reach the 2007 playoffs. Their first round opponent would be the New York Rangers, coming in with a 42-40 record. However, Atlanta would not be able to capitalize on their postseason appearance, as they were unable to score a win in the series with the Rangers sweeping them four games to none. New York moved on to the second round, although they would be eliminated in six games by the Buffalo Sabres. The Thrashers would not be able to reach their 2006-07 peak throughout the remainder of their time in Atlanta, with their next four seasons resulting in losing records along with no playoff appearances. Coming into their last game of the 2010-11 season, Atlanta sat with a 34-47 record. While the Thrashers were out of playoff contention, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on the other hand, were solidly inside the postseason with a 48-33 showing. Starting in goal for Pittsburgh would be league veteran Brent Johnson. While fellow Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury saw most of the starts for the Penguins that season, Johnson performed well in his share of games with a 12-8 record and .920 save percentage. Atlanta sent out their backup in Chris Mason, who would be looking to build upon a 13-15 record before heading into the offseason. Early on in the contest, it looked as though the Thrashers would be able to finish the season on a high note, with forward and team captain Andrew Ladd scoring on the power play just over four minutes in. The Penguins would not answer in the rest of the first period, with the Thrashers taking a 1-0 advantage into the locker room. Starting with the second period, however, Pittsburgh would be denied no longer as forward Tyler Kennedy added a power play goal of his own at the 6:25 mark, followed up by forward Pascal Dupuis taking the lead for the Penguins as he scored at 10:53. The team kept the momentum going as forward Mike Rupp scored at 15:27 to make it a 3-1 game, before forward Mark Letestu tacked on another goal at 18:14. When the dust settled, Pittsburgh held a 4-1 lead going into the third period. In the third, Atlanta continued to fight with their final goal as the Thrashers scored on the power play courtesy of forward Tim Stapleton at 13:15. However, Pittsburgh slammed the door on any comeback attempt with 1:28 to go in the game, as forward Mike Comrie scored an empty net goal to put the Penguins ahead by three once again. Not only was this Comrie’s first goal of the season, but it would also be his final goal scored during his career. The Penguins claimed the 5-2 victory to finish the season at 49-33, while the Thrashers fell to 34-48 with the loss. The Penguins would face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2011 playoffs, although their playoff run would not be as successful as their regular season with Tampa Bay winning the series in seven games. On Tuesday, May 31st, 2011, it was formally announced that the Atlanta Thrashers would be relocating to Winnipeg, Manitoba to become the Jets, essentially reviving the team that had played in the NHL from the 1979-80 season until 1995-96. However, unlike other facilities that I have covered in this series, State Farm Arena is still in business to this day, as the arena still hosts the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. Due to this fact, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the NHL returning to the facility at some point, most likely as a one-off exhibition game. However, a full-time team returning to State Farm Arena is far more unlikely at this point. 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