Here is my updated game story from Friday’s 3-0 over Montreal for those who would like to comment.
The Thrashers are on a roll.
Rich Peverley scored twice, and Tobias Enstrom had a goal and an assist as the Thrashers turned in another dominant performance — this one a 3-0 victory over Montreal on Friday night. The win was the fourth consecutive for the Thrashers, a season high, all coming at Philips Arena. The Thrashers are 4-1 on their six-game homestand, which concludes Sunday.
The Thrashers (11-9-3, 25 points) have outscored their opponents 15-2 in the four wins, three of which have come against division leaders (Washington, Detroit and Montreal). Ondrej Pavelec was again strong in goal, stopping all 25 shots. The goaltender has stopped 114 of 116 (.983 save percentage) shots during the win streak. It was his fourth career shutout, the second in a week.
“There is no question you can see an attitude about him,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “Just the way he looks, the way he walks. He’s feeling good about himself.”
The Thrashers also took charge physically as both Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian were involved in fights 12 minutes left in the game. Kane took exception to Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec horse collaring him in front of the Canadiens goal.
“Somebody grabs you from behind and you turn around you expect he wants to do something about it,” Kane said. “I turned around and he skated away and let his teammates fight his battles for him. I don’t appreciate getting grabbed right around the neck.
“I was frustrated that he grabbed me from behind and skated right away from it. That doesn’t seem tough to me at all. I was more prepared to do something about it and I wanted to. He obviously had no interest.”
As the players were mulling around, Bogosian and P.K. Subban got tangled. Bogosian even knocked Subban’s helmet off to get the fight started.
“I’m keeping it on the ice,” Bogosian said. “Everyone knows who he is, his act. That’s all I’m going to leave it at. I’m not going to sit here and be a tough guy in the media. What happens on the ice stays on the ice.”
Kane and Bogosian stood in the penalty box and continued yelling at the Canadiens. When all was said and done, the Canadiens had a power play as Kane four minutes for roughing, compared to two for Plekanec.
While not entirely happy with the incident while holding a three-goal lead, Ramsay understood his players’ motivation.
“At 3-0, I’m just not inclined to have that,” Ramsay said. “But the most important thing is the players have to police themselves. There was some chippiness going on and the players felt they had to respond. … The guys on the bench liked it, but, for me, I just as soon not be shorthanded. I never can knock when a team stands together.”
The Thrashers’ penalty-kill unit has killed 15 of 16 chances during the win streak.
Montreal (14-8-1, 29 points) lost for only the third time in the past nine games.
Peverley opened the scoring with 18.2 seconds remaining in the first period. He beat Canadiens goaltender Alex Auld, who was making only his second start of the season in place of NHL wins leader Carey Price. The goal marked the eighth time in the past 10 games that the Thrashers have scored first.
The Thrashers scored twice in the second period, as they outshot the Canadiens 23-4. The 23 shots were one shy of the franchise record for shots in a period. Enstrom scored an unassisted goal at the 8:52 mark, and Peverley added his fifth goal of the season, on the power play, at the 15:35 mark.
The four consecutive wins all have come since Andrew Ladd was named captain and Dustin Byfuglien and Enstrom were named alternates. In the four games in their new roles, the trio has combined for five goals and 10 assists.
“We are playing a full 60 minutes,” Peverley said. “In the past we’ve had some lulls during periods and we’ve done a pretty good job of maintaining our consistency and our focus.”