Nik Antropov will likely miss Thursday’s game against Boston and Evander Kane could progress to a game-time decision, according to Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay. Both forwards are battling recent injuries.
Antropov missed the past two games after suffering an unspecified injury crashing into the net in a game at Toronto Dec. 20. He played the following game, but missed last week’s game at Boston and did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh for Tuesday’s game. Antropov took part in the first 18 minutes of the team’s practice Wednesday.
Kane was hurt in Pittsburgh after being checked by the Penguins’ Aaron Asham early in the third period. He left the game, in which he scored his 12th goal, and did not return. Kane, who suffered a “mid-body” injury according to Ramsay, made it through just six minutes of Wednesday’s practice.
“He could bounce back,” Ramsay said.
Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager sat out Wednesday’s practice. Ramsay said each player was sore and would be able to play Thursday.
Rematch at hand
Just a week removed from a fight-filled 4-1 loss to Boston, the Thrashers host the rematch with the Bruins.
The previous game will be remembered for the 10-skater brawl that took place with 4:06 left, ignited by Freddy Meyer’s check on Milan Lucic. The incident resulted in 15 penalties to eight players totaling 96 minutes.
The Thrashers expect a physical game but say they can’t focus on retaliating, especially on Lucic who threw a late punch at Meyer that drew a match penalty.
“We can’t let our emotions get the best of us,” defenseman Zach Bogosian said. “It’s a big game. It’s a must-win game. I’m sure it will be a physical game but you can’t do anything to jeopardize your team in a big game like this. You also want to make sure you play hard and compete for your teammates.”
Cormier fares well in debut
Patrice Cormier fared well in his NHL debut Tuesday against Pittsburgh. The highly-regarded prospect played 12:14 in 19 shifts as he centered a line with Fredrik Modin and Eager.
Cormier had one shot, one blocked shot and one hit. He won six of 14 faceoffs.
“Personally, I was just happy to get the first game out of the way and keep working to get better game in and game out,” Cormier said.
Ramsay said he liked the presence Cormier showed in his debut.
“I thought he was pretty good,” Ramsay said. “It’s hard when you jump in and your first NHL game is against Pittsburgh. He was out against [Sidney] Crosby sometimes. He was out against [Evgeni] Malkin. He’s got good size. He’s a kid that’s going to have some presence. Adjusting to the pace doesn’t happen when you get a call-up. It takes adjustment. I thought he was strong on the puck. He was initially good on his faceoffs. He came out in decent shape. I like his presence out there. He likes to compete.”
Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal for the Thrashers against Boston on Thursday. Chris Mason will get the call in New Jersey on Friday, the second of back-to-back games.