Dustin Byfuglien is tied for the NHL scoring lead among defensemen, but he isn’t the only Atlanta blue liner putting up numbers this season. In fact the Thrashers back end has scored 29 points in its first 12 games, the second-highest total in the league behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.
That helps explain why the Thrashers, who do not have a $100-million forward in their lineup anymore, woke up this morning leading the Eastern Conference in scoring. In fact, the only team in the league with more goals so far is Chicago, where Byfuglien, three other Atlanta players, along with GM Rick Dudley and associate coach John Torchetti all came from.
The name of the game in Chicago is attack, and it tends to start from the back end where the Blackhawks are fortunate to have some of the game’s best puck-movers to lead the way. Atlanta’s group isn’t quite as accomplished, but so far they are doing their best to emulate the Stanley Cup champions’ philosophy.
“That’s the mindset,” Torchetti said. “We come from Chicago where it was run-and-gun, but here we have to be a little more selective.
That said, we like the idea of guys jumping up into the play and helping make things happen.”
Byfuglien has been leading the way with 12 points in as many games, while Tobias Enstrom is close behind with 10 points. Enstrom though, picked up 50 points last season which means the Thrashers have some pretty potents weapons coming from their own zone.
“They complement each other well,” Torchetti said. “Thing is teams are starting to shadow Buff a little bit so Toby is going to have start shooting some more.”
Deep dish defense
Posted on: November 4, 2010 3:35 pm