Enstrom gives Thrashers a helping hand

Tobias Enstrom is making quite a habit of assisting on Thrashers' goals.

Heading into Saturday's game, the defenseman leads the team with 22 assists – one more than Rich Peverley and Nik Antropov. Enstrom is tied for third in the NHL in assists by defensemen and tied for fourth in points by defensemen (25).

Enstrom has five assists in the past four games. He also has 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in the past 20 games.

"He sees the ice really well and he makes good flat passes," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "It helps when you are passing it to [No.] 17 [Ilya Kovalchuk] when he is shooting bombs."

However, Enstrom hasn’t scored in the past 13 games. As he does with most of his players, Anderson wants Enstrom to shoot more often.

“This is what I mean by shoot more,” Anderson said, citing an example from Thursday’s 6-5 win over Dallas. “He skates up the ice, and he’s a tremendous skater, very fleet of foot. He steps around a guy, if he would just throw it at the net. Instead he goes all the way around the net and they block him in. If he shoots it when we have guys going to the net, maybe there is a rebound. But if he goes all the way around the net, it allows [the defense] to collapse in that one little area. That’s what I’m talking about shooting more.”

Anderson had a good example for the bad. Enstrom set up Antropov’s power play goal in the second period against Dallas.

“Another time he came across the middle, we scored a power play [goal] on it," he said. "We couldn’t get anything to Kovy, couldn’t get anything to Kovy. All of a sudden he snaps one in and we tap the rebound in. Thank goodness that happened, so he has the confidence to put a few more on [net].”

No time for reflection

Following Thursday’s back-and-forth dramatic victory over Dallas, we at the NHL Insider asked Anderson if at some point following the game he had a moment to enjoy the victory.

Not really.

“We are a results-oriented business, which I am very happy for, and that’s why we have video,” Anderson said. “We are in meetings [Friday] and trying to fix those little things that are creating problems like we had [Thursday] night. You don’t have time to reflect on it, but to be proactive with it. I’m going to go home and have a nap because my head is spinning because there were so many things we had to do. Player meetings, plus practice, plus video, it seems like there isn’t enough hours in the day sometimes. You don’t have time to say “Whew,’ because tomorrow we play. We are in the business of plugging holes in the dyke, and hopefully as we go along, there will be less and less until you get to where you want to be as a team. I don’t think we are close to that yet. Still we are over .500 and things seem to be going decently for us. But imagine if we did all the little things? That’s the process we are going through right now. There is no reflection time.”

Prospect report

*Heading into Friday's game, Brett Sterling leads AHL Chicago in goals with 15 and is second in points with 25.

*Two of the Thrashers' 2009 draft picks had big weeks in the Western Hockey League. Jimmy Bubnick (sixth round, 155th overall) had three goals in two games for the Kamloops Blazers. Levko Koper (seventh round, 185th overall) had five points on three goals and two assists for the Spokane Chiefs.