If the season ended today, the Thrashers would win the Southeast, clinching 3rd in the Conference and would play the Sabres in the first round. Montreal would miss the playoffs entirely. Wow, they suck, they should be moved. Obviously Quebec doesn't deserve to have an NHL franchise.
Now that that is out of the way...
The outcome tonight was obviously great, but it was a rocky road to get there. And not the tasty, chocolate, marshmellow, and almond kind of rocky road. The first period was sloppy. Kari pulled the Thrashers' butts out of the fire after Bogo took a bad penalty early on, and some miscues lead to some good chances for the Caps. Luckily, the home team got some lucky bounces and some impressive opportunistic play to go up 3-1 at the end of the first stanza. It is very lucky that they did so, because the second was a mirror image, with the Caps outscoring the Thrashers 3-1 in turn.
The four goals scored by the Caps weren't really Kari's fault, and I can't even say that they were due to any major breakdowns defensively. They were the result of some impressive puck movement by the Caps that culminated in essentially empty net goals. There was one long range shot that beat Kari on the glove side, but for the most part, the goals were 90% Caps hard work and only 10% Thrashers lapse. This could not be said for most of the lamp-lighters last season.
Most importantly, the Thrashers didn't quit. They gave up a 3 goal lead, went into the locker room for the second intermission, and came out full bore. It wasn't just Kovy. In fact, Kovy didn't dent the twine once tonight. The goals came from the guys that are going to have to share the Czar's load this season. Reasoner. Little. Armstrong. Todd White for God's sake!
As the team gels even more, there will be better team defense and even good passing won't create so many scoring chances for the opposition, and at the same time, Atlanta's chances will come more often. This team is going to get better. Look for a score of 9-1 in favor of the good guys when they take on the Vegas Leafs later on this season.