That’s the first-place Thrashers

Here’s my game story, with quotes, for those who would like to comment.

Something you haven’t heard in a long time: The first-place Thrashers.

Something you have never heard: Eric Boulton scores a hat trick.

Both occurred Saturday night as the Thrashers took over the Southeast Division lead by dominating New Jersey 7-1 in front of a Philips Arena crowd of 17,024. The win, coupled with Washington’s loss to Boston, moved the Thrashers one point ahead of the Capitals. The last time the Thrashers held a division lead was Oct. 10, 2008 – after a win in the first game of the season.

The Thrashers (18-11-5, 41 points) are 11-2-2 in their past15 games. They snapped a two-game losing streak, both shootout losses, by scoring three first-period goals.

“We can’t scoreboard watch too much, but we’d be lying if we said we all didn’t know we are in first place,” said Boulton, who sat in a locker full of hats fans had showered on the ice.

Asked if he had ever scored a hat trick, Boulton – who how has 24 career goals in 10 NHL seasons – said simply: “Negative. Not in the NHL, that’s for sure.”

Ron Hainsey, Evander Kane and Boulton scored in the opening period for an insurmountable lead against the struggling Devils. The Thrashers chased Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur in the second period to add insult to injury.

Former Thrashers captain Ilya Kovlachuk was heartily booed in his return to Philips Arena, especially after he scored a second-period, power-play goal.

The Devils (9-21-2, 20 points) lost their second straight game, and seventh if their past eight.

“Everything went wrong,” Kovalchuk told reporters. “I don’t know what. It’s unacceptable. It’s embarrassing.”

Hainsey opened the scoring with his first goal of the season 10:56 into the game. He slapped a loose puck past Brodeur, who was lying in the goal crease after stopping several initial shots. The goal marked the 17th time in the past 21 games that the Thrashers have scored first.

Boulton scored at the 15:30 mark when he converted Chris Thorburn’s pass from behind the net. He would add his final two goals in the third period.

Just 38 seconds later, Kane beat Brodeur. It tied Kane with Dustin Byfuglien for the team lead in goals at 11.

The line of Boulton, Thorburn and Jim Slater combined for four goals and three assists.

“It can’t happen often,” Thorburn said of Boulton’s trio. “He puts in the work and it’s great to see him rewarded like that. It’s fun. We are having a good time about it and I’m sure we haven’t heard the end of him talking about it.”

Andrew Ladd made it 4-0 as he joined Kane and Byfuglien for the goal lead. The captain scored 6:37 into the second period on a wide-angle shot that beat Brodeur to the high glove side.

Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec won his 11th game of the season by stopping 26 shots.

“It was unreal,” Pavelec said. “It was 5-1 and guys were still blocking shots and playing so hard.”

Following the goal, at the next timeout, Brodeur was pulled in favor of Johan Hedberg. The former Thrasher was greeted by a chorus of “Moooose” in honor of the fan favorite’s nickname. “It was very emotional, very touching,” Hedberg told reporters. “The crowd, I thought that was very nice of them.”

Kovalchuk extended his point streak to five games (three goals, four assists) with his goal from a familiar spot. He one-timed a pass from Travis Zajac from the left faceoff circle with 55 seconds remaining in a holding penalty to Nik Antropov. It was too little as the Devils fell to 1-19-0 when trailing after two periods.

Boulton scored his second goal of the game when he jammed in a puck 4:07 into the third period. The goal was reviewed after Boulton crashed into Hedberg and stood after a lengthy look. Boulton got his third goal with 3:06 remaining when he knocked in a loose puck with Hedberg caught out of the net. The forward had two goals all last season. Thorburn, who assisted on Boulton’s first two goals, scored with 1:07 left.

“It’s about expecting to win,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “It’s a long season but our players now go into games expecting to win. They expect to play well. They are pushing each other to participate.”

83 comments Add your comment

Thrashers rule

December 18th, 2010
10:45 pm

Who is Nate Thompson? Has he ever had a hat trick?
NO!!!!!
BOULTON congrats big guy keep up the good hard work!

steve 2

December 18th, 2010
10:47 pm

Enter your comments here

Sweet

December 18th, 2010
10:47 pm

Wow. What a game. Congrats to all.

steve 2

December 18th, 2010
10:48 pm

great game!!! great crowd!!! we are not moving!!!!

Nate

December 18th, 2010
10:52 pm

17.000 + fans. Suck it Bill Daly and Canadian haters!!! Great game by the boys in front of the biggest crowd of the season! Surely that will get many of them to go back again and again!

East Point Bob

December 18th, 2010
10:57 pm

Ha Ha Ha ilya 21 points behind us and it feels great, you got the $ you wanted, but not the team !

Loser!!!!!!!

Nate

December 18th, 2010
11:00 pm

From Pierre LeBrun’s weekend wrap:

Thrashers want to move Bergfors

“Atlanta recently sent a memo to other teams saying to give it a call if they wanted a forward. I was told Saturday that Niclas Bergfors is the guy the Thrashers would really like to move. He was part of the Ilya Kovalchuk deal last February but has fallen out of favor.”

So it finally comes out, Wish Ramsay had the you-know-whats to be straight with everyone though.

OmniFan

December 18th, 2010
11:07 pm

Really big game in many ways. Third time was the charm in taking over first place. Reversing a long-time Atlanta pro sports tradition: draw the big crowd and lay an egg. This time, the boys came through in front of the biggest house of the season with an exciting entertaining beatdown. If this kind of performance doesn’t put butts in Blueland seats, we don’t deserve to be a hockey town. And, top it off by a vintage performance by IK: IG 0A -3. WooHoo!

litz

December 18th, 2010
11:09 pm

FYI … Chris’ game story is the LEAD STORY on ajc.com right now, upper left corner with picture!

Well deserved, and let’s hope we have many more as the season progresses.

(the last time hockey made that position on the website was #17’s trade)

For those that want to watch the shellacking again, it’s on at midnight on FSSO

Bluelander

December 18th, 2010
11:13 pm

Great win. Great crowd as we topped 17k. The crowds will come back. Just keep up the inspired play. Maybe they should start talking about relocating the Islanders (8,400 tonight) or Columbus (13k tonight) …those crowds are pathetic…we even outdrew Nashville and Carolina this evening.

Wayne stuck in AL

December 18th, 2010
11:24 pm

I don’t get why Bergfors is on the outs with Ramsay; can anyone tell me why?

Glenn Healy was on the CBC tonight saying the team will move in the next year or two…

Unfortunately, when the team takes the Monday pre-game skate in Toronto, the topic of the franchise’s instability will be certain to come up.

Marcus Valdes

December 18th, 2010
11:30 pm

Love my new season ticket seats. Glad I bought them before they get expensive!!

litz

December 18th, 2010
11:39 pm

These people talking about the team moving have no clue about the financials of the hawks and thrashers … if either team leaves, someone has to buy out the remainder of the Philips contract.

Plain and simple. no way around it. That makes buying (and moving) the team very poisonous.

Several tens of millions of dollars worth of poisonous.

All those talking heads up there have no clue about this.

Speaking of … have we heard ANY talk about this that HASN’T come from a Canadian ? Nope.

They just don’t like hockey in the South.

My bet, actually, is on the Islanders in 2015, since the local city up there seems to have no interest in rebuilding/replacing Nassau Coliseum … which is pretty much a requirement for the Islanders staying put.

stendek

December 18th, 2010
11:47 pm

Thrashers same spot Falcons occupy within their division. Just took hockey brothers a bit longer to reach pinnacle. Congratulations guys in blue. Climb could not have come against a better team. Right Ilya? So extremely proud of all you guys. Even feel good that my buddy Johan Hedberg looked so far superior to Martin Whathisname. Not Pavs though. Still giddy. First place. Wow. Will savor every moment of upcoming replay. Except for one nauseating point. Will research exact time of Devil goal then channel flip until it is over. Hated that spoiled prima donna bestard scored. Oh well. Merry Christmas all. First place. Ho ho ho. :) :) :) :) STENDEK

Flames

December 18th, 2010
11:56 pm

I am so happy for Eric Boulton..He is a super person. He Is always giving the kids at the game hockey pucks. Good things happen to good people. It could happen to a better person. My two sons and my wife all threw our hats onto the ice…

Thrashy Thrashy

December 19th, 2010
12:00 am

The only good think about Kovy’s goal is that it came on the power play and didn’t knock anything off of his minus-3.

Thrashy Thrashy

December 19th, 2010
12:00 am

Good think…hahahaha.

Oh well. A 7-1 win will mess with any Thrasher fan’s mind.

Michael B. Shapiro

December 19th, 2010
12:02 am

Sorry, agree with Coach on lots of things but not moving Bergfors. Modin was lost most of the game tonight. Clueless. Bergie hustles, scores, back-checks. He has a real future. Modin is old and slow. Feel bad for Burmie that he gets to skate with 2 “new” players (though I like Stapleton’s hustle). Bergie should stay. Coach should re-evaluate WHY he wants to move him and salvage the situation. Go Thrash. Great game tonight. First place. Woohoo!

Blueland Buddha

December 19th, 2010
12:02 am

People that talk about moving also dont have any clue on Gary Bettman. He is very anti-relocation for numerous reasons. And he is also very pro-media. And there is no way in God’s green Earth that he will move a top 10 US media market to a BFE Canadian city. It simply wont happen. The folks in Winnipeg and Quebec have one shot, and it resides in Edmonton.

Ken

December 19th, 2010
12:03 am

Trading Kovy was such a great move for the team. The NJ media call him the “soloist”. He is now a -21 on the year and about a -500 for his career. glad the fans were good to Moose. Dont know why Ramsey is so out on Bergfors but I am gonna trust that he knows what he is doing. This is the best team we have ever had.

stendek

December 19th, 2010
12:05 am

Tell the Falcons the Thrashers scored a TD on Devils then converted extra point! Soooo sweet! :) :) :) :) Thanks Santa! Ho ho ho. STENDEK

stendek

December 19th, 2010
12:12 am

Had the Thrashers signed Russian to same deal Devils did then outcomes like one tonight would have become commonplace in Atlanta or Hamilton or Winnipeg. Catch my drift? Cancer known as Ilya Kovalchuk has infected all Devils from Martin Brodeur on down. May score when fed constantly. How many goals will he watch instead of attempting to defend? I rest my case. Nice post Ken. Watching massacre now. Love it. Hee hee. :) :> STENDEK

Brendan

December 19th, 2010
12:32 am

Chris Vivlamore, it’s great to be in 1st place in the SE division

stendek

December 19th, 2010
12:52 am

I willingly concede the floor to the understandably aggravated fan from New Jersey…

AndrewS HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA 7-1?????!!!! 7-1????? Are you kidding me???!!!! C’mon Jersey, what are the excuses? Atlanta actually beat Las Vegas the spread (5.5 goals). If you ever needed more evidence as to what the problem with Atlanta’s been these past few seasons here it is in one work – Kovalsuck!!!!! For all you fools that wanted him, enjoy the next decade, he destroy’s teams. -3 on the night, he got his one goal on the man-advantage (something he’s fond of no doubt).

He can have fun hanging out with Snookie and the rest of juiced up meatheads on the infamous “Jersey Shore”. All the goomba’s that hang out there. I’d be beyond embarrassed if I lived in New Jersey, you’re in a State of disarray……literally….. The whole country knows about you fools and now you’ve gotta deal with an embarrassment of a hockey team. Eh, I guess it fits. Ya’ll will sooner move city’s than Atlanta will, the Thrashers are on the up and up, and Atlanta is a metropolis dying to support a winning hockey team.

Good work Thrashers! The Devils ECHL farm team from Albany would have posed a better challenge.

I understand your anger friend. I really do! Merry Christmas. STENDEK

stendek

December 19th, 2010
1:03 am

IK referred to as freelancer numerous times. Agree totally. Bum never has been team player. Never will be! Fourth Thrasher goal just went in. Sweet!

Atlanta 34 18 11 5 41 109 97 (+12) 10-6-2 8-5-3 6-2-2
Tampa Bay 32 18 10 4 40 99 108 (-9) 9-2-2 9-8-2 5-3-2
Washington 34 18 12 4 40 101 97 (+4) 12-4-3 6-8-1 2-6-2

Only top ranked Philly Flyers have scored more goals than Thrashers. Plus eight over Caps with +10 over Lightning. Thrashewrs have allowed as many goals as Caps. Thanks Pavs! STENDEK

krust

December 19th, 2010
1:08 am

I think the biggest downer to Kovy is Bolton getting a hat trick.j Kovy digs himself a hole when he want play any D. My guess is that Lou up in New Jersey is thinking of some great idea to get rid of kovy. The best part tonight was Kovy getting benched for the final 10 minutes of the second period, except for the power play.

AtlFlamesFan

December 19th, 2010
1:09 am

AtlFlamesFan

December 19th, 2010
1:10 am

litz

December 19th, 2010
2:34 am

Almost word for word the same exact thing that appeared on TSN …

As noted on Rawhide’s blog …

1) there is nothing new in that article. It’s a total rehash of existing quotes a rhetoric.
2) go read the TSN version ( http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=345914 ) and its comments. Nothing but Quebec whiners and people telling ‘em where to stick it.
3) as DW pointed out, until you can figure out how to move the building with the team, the team is not moving. (a Philips buyout is supposedly something like 80-100 million)

17k in the arena for the Devils shellacking is a good sign. We need to keep that kind of numbers up through the holidays, and sustain it once the new year rolls around.

tim

December 19th, 2010
3:21 am

WE ARE ON THE FRONT PAGE! FINALLY!

Mike

December 19th, 2010
3:22 am

I’m so happy we won tonight! It was a great win and the arena was FULL!

I LOVE IT!!!

Pinball34

December 19th, 2010
4:51 am

Great night at Philips! Can we put the idiotic Thrash “news” in the rear view mirror? That was Mickey Mouse, ASG…

hotrod

December 19th, 2010
7:06 am

Boultons hat trick is easily in my top 3 best moments in Thrasher Franchise history. I think I heard he had one goal coming into this game. That line has just been fantastic. Peverly throwing haymakers!
What a game. I am going to enjoy this for a second and then its back to hard work. Now we can push the bar up a rung and battle a little harder each shift.Keep playing hard young guns. That Burmi is everywhere all at once.

thrash head

December 19th, 2010
8:00 am

FINALLY the Thrashers kicked a– with a full house. We needed that so bad. I can promise you the casual fan that attended will tell about 50 people they know “hockey rocks”. “You just gotta go see it for yourself”. In my opinion NOTHING compares to the excitement of live hockey – packed house – high scoring win. GO BIRDS – Thrashers and Falcons. Atlanta is long overdue for some championships.

Rob

December 19th, 2010
8:18 am

Looks like its time to open up the 400 level!

mike

December 19th, 2010
9:01 am

great win. major point after 2 years of searching nobody want to invest to keep thrashers in atlanta. what this mean? no money to resign star players like buff., endst., pav. to big contracts. what it’s mean? people leaving thrashers, again bad team and finally relocation. could happen in two years. even sold out building not going to replace real money from investors or new buyers needed to make franchise stay here. so far rich folks including blank not interesting and this is no good.

Lee

December 19th, 2010
9:02 am

Enter your comments here

Lee

December 19th, 2010
9:04 am

Last night’s game was great. I don’t think I’ve heard a crowd that loud in a long time. Great effort by Boulton, deserved every bit of it. Best of all…..1st PLACE!!!!

suwaneefalcon

December 19th, 2010
9:05 am

Great win and nice to be in 1st place. Hopefully we can stay there for a long time. The true measure of the fan base and excitement will come with the games during the week. We have to start bringing in better crowds during the week. Winning should do just that.
GO THRASHERS & FALCONS!

Huh?

December 19th, 2010
9:06 am

“(a Philips buyout is supposedly something like 80-100 million)”

$80M is certainly a deal breaker if you’re buying a house in Gwinnett. If you’re buying a pro sports team, it’s a bump on the road.

AtlFlamesFan

December 19th, 2010
9:23 am

There is nothing to prevent ASG and Philips Electronics from renegotiating the contract.

Huh?

December 19th, 2010
9:39 am

From Nate: “17.000 + fans. Suck it Bill Daly and Canadian haters!!!”

Yeah… and: Boulton hat trick; suck it Wayne Gretzky!!!

Kaner #9

December 19th, 2010
9:46 am

Tampa and Carolina are coming on…what a tough division. This is going to get fun.

Huh?

December 19th, 2010
9:48 am

Reading the comments from some delusional fans, I feel like going ahead and buying those for a quick money-making investment:

http://cgi.ebay.com/2-Blues-Thrashers-12-21-Lower-Center-103-/250733882051?pt=US_Tickets_all_in_one&hash=item3a60e76ac3

Buy low, sell high, baby!

@ Huh? - Get a Clue

December 19th, 2010
10:46 am

Hug?, you have obviously never run a business or gone to school. If the Thrashers are worth between $120-$130M, then $80M represents a roughly 65% PREMIUM over the market value. The odds of someone paying a 65% premium for $125M team are slim at best. Maybe you should get NHL Center Ice and stay off our blog. GO THRASHERS!!!! The great thing about hockey in Atlanta is we have warm and sunny weather too! Go shovel some snow.

From:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/streetwise/whats-an-nhl-franchise-worth/article1580108/

Forbes’ oft-quoted survey on the value of sports franchises pegged the price tag on the Hurricanes, Stanley Cup winners four years ago, at $177-million (U.S.) in a January survey, up an impressive 5 per cent over the last year.

Huh?

December 19th, 2010
10:56 am

$200M for a NHL franchise is not a bad deal.

As I said, the $80M is a bump in the road not a show stopper.

Huh?

December 19th, 2010
11:00 am

I have as much snow as you do. 30022.

Just less delusional. Go Thrashers!

Thrashers rule

December 19th, 2010
11:18 am

Wayne- That’s probably all the toronto media can talk about. The Maple leaf’s 40 year old stanley cup drought, original 6 bullcrap, Their media is just jealous that the thrashers have had better seasons lately than the maple leafs. Maple leafs are the definition of mediocrity, doing nothing more than told to do.
LETS GO THRASHERS PLAY SOME INSPIRED HOCKEY!!!!

Thrashers rule

December 19th, 2010
11:21 am

All these Canadian teams talk about how they’re superior to southern hockey teams but the lightning, canes, caps, thrashers, and panthers have more stanley cups than those teams this decade!

Thrashers, caps, canes, bolts, panthers > canadiens, maple leafs, senators, canucks, oilers

Reality

December 19th, 2010
11:27 am

At least they do have media. Not just Viv and a bunch of team employees masquerading as media.