Here is the updated game story from Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to St. Louis for those who want to post comments.
ST. LOUIS – The Thrashers made it easy on Ondrej Pavelec — for awhile.
Three first-period goals will do that. But they didn’t last.
TJ Oshie and Brad Boyes scored shootout goals for St. Louis in a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Thrashers on Saturday night at the Scottrade Center. Rich Peverley and Alexander Burmistrov missed their shootout attempts as the Blues capped a wild comeback.
The Blues erased a 3-1 deficit with two late third-period goals, 1:36 apart, to force overtime. Jay McClement had a hat trick for the Blues, scoring both third-period goals in the final six minutes. A scoreless 4-on-4 overtime sent the Thrashers to their second shootout of the season.
In Pavelec’s first game back since he lost consciousness and collapsed in the season opener Oct. 8 due to a fainting spell, the goaltender was the beneficiary of the Thrashers’ early offensive onslaught.
“We spent so much time in our zone in the third period,” Pavelec said. “That’s why they scored. … We played 50 minutes of great hockey, but if you want to win in this league you have to play 60 minutes.
“I was very excited to be back. I couldn’t wait to get a game in the NHL, but we lost so it’s kind of disappointing.”
Pavelec was sharp in his own right, having missed the past nine games. He turned aside a weak shot with his right pad 1:03 into the game for his first save — of the game and season. He finished with 32 saves, including several spectacular stops in the third period and overtime.
The Thrashers (5-4-2, 12 points) nearly handed the Blues their first home loss but could not keep their two-goal lead and failed to win for the third straight time. Still, Atlanta got five points in a three games in four day span.
“We lost a couple of battles,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said the final period. “I think we got a little tired in that third period. We’ve played a lot of hockey. We’ll take five out of six [points] most of the time. I think that’s workable.”
The Thrashers had two chances to put the game away early in the third period. They had two 5-on-3 advantages, 19 and 57 seconds, but could not score.
“Maybe we sat back a little bit,” Peverley said. “You get two 5-on-3s in the third period you’ve got to score on one of them. That would have made it 4-1. We have to look at the 5-on-3. That was the difference [Friday] night and it was again tonight.”
Peverley opened the scoring for the Thrashers with a power-play goal 8:58 into the game. It was Peverley’s first goal of the season and he became the 15th different Thrasher to score a goal. In beating St. Louis goaltender Jaroslav Halak with a rebound shot, the Thrashers snapped his shutout streak at 160 minutes, eight seconds. He entered the game off two straight shutouts and hadn’t allowed a goal since Oct. 22.
The power-play goal marked the eighth straight game the Thrashers have scored with a man-advantage.
Nik Antropov added another power-play goal and Niclas Bergfors scored with 2.7 seconds left in the opening period. It was Bergfor’s third straight game with a goal and the second in back-to-back nights for Antropov.
The Bergfors goal would be the Thrashers’ last.
The Blues scored in the first period when Matt D’Agogstini’s shot hit McClement, who was lying in the crease. The puck bounced off McClement and over Pavelec’s pad. The goal was reviewed but it was ruled that Thrashers defenseman Brent Sopel had knocked McClement off his feet.
Dustin Byfuglien assisted on Bergfors’ goal. He has 10 points in 11 games. Peverley extended his point streak to four games (one goal, five assists).
Maybe bigger than the point earned, is a return to normalcy for Pavelec.
It’s a good thing for the goaltender.
“I just tried to focus on the game,” Pavelec said. “It was the same feeling as the games before, nothing special. … I spent three weeks that were kind of different in my life after the accident. It was a difficult time. It was nothing serious and now I can play hockey.”
It’s a good thing for the Thrashers.
“Now he can finally let it go,” Ramsay said. “Everybody will stop asking him about it. Now, he’s played. He showed up and is ready to go. That’s a good thing for our hockey club.”