Los Angeles – There is no advantage to the Thrashers’ power play.
And that’s a problem.
Atlanta failed to score on five man-advantages in Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to Los Angeles. That is bad.
Through three games, the Thrashers are 1-for-14 on the power play – a seven percent success rate. Their lone power play goal came on a 5-on-3 situation. That is worse.
The Kings scored three third-period goals, two by Ryan Smyth, for a come-from-behind victory over the Thrashers (1-2) at the Staples Center. Atlanta became the second straight victim of an opponent’s home opener.
Prior to the game, Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said he was encouraged by the progress of his power-play unit. They were creating chances. The scoring would come.
Ramsay could not say the same following the game.
“That was not a good effort by our power play,” Ramsay said. “Our speed up the ice, at times, was just not good enough. Our entries were not good enough. … [The Kings] did a real good job on us and we didn’t recognize that our points were open. We didn’t get our shots through. We didn’t take shots when we had them. When you get a puck in the offensive zone and you get outworked on it, that’s not good enough. It’s a privilege to play on the power play. I put [Alexander] Burmistrov’s line out there with 30 seconds to go and they had the best entry of the night and that tells you how it works when people are really committed.
“Tonight they outhustled us down deep in our zone. We had opportunities to win battles and get it to the point and we didn’t get that job done. We’ve got some pretty good shooters back there but if you are not getting them the puck it doesn’t do you any good.”
The Thrashers had three first-period power plays and managed a total of two shots.
Three games into the season, the Thrashers have failed to score over 13:29 while skating with a 5-on-4 advantage (0-for-12).
Two of the Thrashers power plays Tuesday were cut short by their own doing. They took two penalties while they were on the man-advantage.
“One thing you can’t do in this league is nullify your power play and I think we took a couple penalties when we were on the power play that hurts the momentum,” said goaltender Chris Mason, who stopped 32-of-34 shots. “You have to cherish those power-play opportunities and we kind of took that away from ourselves tonight.”
The Thrashers jumped to a 1-0 lead with Chris Thorburn’s unassisted goal early in the second period. Thorburn, tied for the team lead with two goals, took control of a center ice faceoff and raced in on Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. He fired a shot the Quick kicked aside but knocked in his own rebound 2:26 into the period.
“It was just a broken play. I don’t know what happened but their D just split and I went up the gut,” Thorburn said. “I was able to get a second opportunity on my first shot and put it in.”
The Thrashers took the one-goal lead into the final period but could not hold it.
With Justin Williams in the goal crease battling Mason for a loose puck, Smyth swept in and knocked it in the net 3:53 into the final period. Just over two minutes later, Stoll beat the Thrashers’ Ron Hainsey wide enough to get off a shot that deflected off the defensman’s stick and beat Mason to his right. Smyth added an empty-net goal with 30 seconds left to ice the game.
“To be honest, I think they took it to us,” Evander Kane said of the third period. “We came out flat. They played a lot in our zone and that’s what’s going to happen. You are going to get scored on. They definitely played better than us in the third period.”
The Thrashers concluded a three-game West Coast trip on Friday in Anaheim and Saturday in San Jose.