Thrashers' third-period success about skill set

The bad news: It’s partly a product of playing from behind.

Entering Saturday's game, the Thrashers lead the league with 52 goals in the final period. Defenseman Ron Hainsey said there are a couple of reasons for the success – skill level, especially of the forwards, and playing from a deficit.

“Our forwards' skill level, and our defense too, if the other team backs up, which happens in this league when you have a lead, we get more time in the offensive zone,” Hainsey said. “Our skill level is just as good as anybody. It’s in the top five in the league forward-wise. If we get more time in the offensive zone, our guys are just that dangerous.

“That’s why we’ve been able to get into it late, because our guys are too good, especially the forwards and the d jumping up, causes the other team a ton of trouble. It’s harder to sustain that early in games because they are not sitting back. Other teams get a lead and they sit back. That’s when we look at our best because we are getting offensive zone time.”

Long road stretch

The Thrashers are nearing the end of a stretch of the schedule where they played 13 of 17 games on the road between Dec. 5 and Jan. 5. The trip ends with seven straight road games.

“We need to keep our heads above water, keep in the mix,” Anderson said. “I think if you look at our schedule, the home dates favor us after the Olympic break. Our goal is to keep our head above water, keep playing well and make a big run at the end and make the playoffs. You see two or three teams that are separating themselves in the standings [New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Washington], but everyone else is in the same mix and everybody can beat everybody.”

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