Thrashers fall in shootout — again

Here is my story, with quotes, from Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers for those who would like to comment.

Ron Hainsey had some comforting words for Ondrej Pavelec.

They offered little consolation for the goaltender.

The Thrashers blew a third-period lead and lost in the shootout for the second straight game. The latest was a 3-2 defeat to the New York Rangers Saturday night at Philips Arena.

The Rangers got a shootout goal from Mats Zuccarello for the game-winner. It was the only time the Rangers led all night. Bryan Little, Nik Antropov and Niclas Bergfors failed to score on their attempts.

“He’s one of the best competitors I’ve met,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said of Pavelec. “I just love his attitude. He was mad tonight and deservedly so.”

Pavelec stopped 29-of-31 shots. The Thrashers have played three straight games that were decided by a shootout. They won in Florida and lost to Tampa Bay.

“Somebody gets an extra point and we didn’t again,” Pavelec said.

The Thrashers (23-18-9, 55 points) lost for the sixth time in the past seven games. They have just four wins in the last 15 games (4-7-4). They held onto eighth place in the Eastern Conference with the point and Carolina’s loss to Pittsburgh. They fell another point behind the seventh-place Rangers (28-19-3, 59 points).

“Getting one point is better than getting nothing at all but that’s a game where we should have had both of them,” Little said. “We didn’t help out Pavs much.”

The Rangers erased two one-goal deficits. The last one – with 5:19 remaining in regulation – was the killer.

The Rangers’ Brian Boyle tied the game at 2-2 with an individual effort. He chipped the puck past Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom and then beat Dustin Byfuglien to the puck. His shot bounced off Pavelec’s shoulder and into the net.

“We have all kinds of guys back at 2-1,” Ramsay said. “We had everyone back. But we are so safe that we didn’t attack the play early. Then we had both defensemen go to the same guy in the middle of the ice and we get in a foot race and we lost.

“It’s frustrating to have a lead in the third period and cough it up again and have to go to the shootout. … It’s just aggravating to have veteran people on the ice and we end up getting scored on.”

The Thrashers, leading 2-1, survived a 5-on-3 penalty kill early in the third period. Little was called for a questionable holding call at the 15:09 mark. Just 36 seconds later Brent Sopel was called for delay of game when his clearing attempt went into the crowd.

The Thrashers opened the scoring with Antropov’s first-period goal. The big forward, planted in front of the Rangers’ net, tipped a shot from Enstrom past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist 6:47 into the game.

For Antropov it was his fourth point (one goal, three assists) in the past four games. Enstrom has 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in the past 17 games. Tim Stapleton also assisted on the goal for his first point of the season.

The Rangers tied the game at 1-1 with Wojtek Wolski’s goal 2:43 into the second period.

The Thrashers regained the lead late in the second period. Anthony Stewart scored his 12th goal of the season — and second in two games — with 1:59 remaining in the middle period. Little skated the puck into the offensive zone and took a shot on goal. The puck hit Stewart, who was tangled with the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh in front of the net. The forward gathered himself quickly and swept the loose puck into the Rangers’ net.

“We need to win,” Ramsay said. “There is no doubt. We need to fight for points. Every point is vital. So we got a point. But they have to understand the timing of this. Playing well is a good thing. Winning is better. We have to be willing to pay the price in the third period to win. That is the frustrating part. …

“We have to understand the desperation level that it takes late in games to finish people off, to win. We had some great efforts out there but we can’t let them slip like that.”

The second period featured the first fight of the season for Thrashers captain Andrew Ladd. After he checked the Rangers’ Marc Staal into the boards, Dan Girardi took exception. Ladd landed several punches and sent a bleeding Girardi to the locker room for attention.

43 comments Add your comment

Ice Melteth

January 22nd, 2011
10:56 pm

Chris, are we seeing the end of the Thrashers? Ownership in chaos and dissaray; the team not knowing if they will be sold and shipped out to God-knows-where. First it was the Flames…now?
Why, tell me, why can Raleigh and Nashville attract attendence and players of NHL calibre when Atlanta has twice the population that those two cities have combined?
In your opinion, what is wrong? They are in a tailspin that has all but eliminated them from the playoffs and certainly they cannot win the Atlantic Division. Is it lethargy creeping in?
{First, I guess, but who really cares?)

Matt

January 22nd, 2011
10:57 pm

This is just a broken record. Man… I am really beginning to HATE shootouts.

Marcus Valdes

January 22nd, 2011
11:13 pm

Marcus Valdes

January 22nd, 2011
11:14 pm

Hey the last three games, we have won 4 of a possible 6 points. We are going to break out of this and they will be talking about us in a good way again–soon……

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NHL-blogs.com and TB Lightning Feed, Chris Vivlamore. Chris Vivlamore said: Thrashers fall in shootout — again http://bit.ly/dSF2kY [...]

Joe Friday

January 23rd, 2011
12:04 am

Ramsay = great coach. Game situation = screw da pooch. Putting Antropov in there and the obvious lack of shoot out prowess is unforgiveable . . .

East Point Bob

January 23rd, 2011
12:08 am

This is nuts… Where is Slava when we need him >

Steven Waugh

January 23rd, 2011
12:16 am

Hey I was the chicken wrap during the first intermission. Did anyone like my dodging and jumping over thrash during the race?

BMF

January 23rd, 2011
1:49 am

Was at Philips tonight, good game but damn I’m as frustrated as I’m sure everyone else is. Should have taken 2 pts tonight, but 1 is better than 0. Lots of good hitting tonight, and Ladd’s fight with Girardi was great, he knocked some teeth out, and that makes me happy. LOVED that Ladd dropped gloves, he’s our captain it was time for him to do something like that. Antropov leveled a guy with a great open ice hit, wish he would be more physical all the time, he’s a big dude and he needs to impose himself more. We’re missing Kane big time. Refs hosed us in OT (again) with some terrible non-calls on what should have been penalties in the OT that would have given us a 4 on 3. But whatever, I’m used to the Thrashers never getting the calls or the benefit of the doubt, par for the course lately. With all that said, tonight wasn’t a disaster, this team is still in good shape. We just need to reel off some wins. This team is dying for a taste of success again.
Enstrom was again probably the most solid player on the ice tonight, he is a rock. Cormier is getting better, watch out for him down the stretch and next year. I like him, and Nigel Dawes too. Burmistrov hasn’t been cutting it lately, don’t know if he’s just hit a rookie wall or whatnot. This team just seems like it’s one little step shy of hitting on all cylinders again, hard to articulate but that’s the sense I get. I’m hoping Dudley is working the phones for some help, we can use it.

Cornbread

January 23rd, 2011
2:06 am

Nigel Dawes needed to be the number two man in the shoot-out tonight. He is the Thrashers specialist and I am surprised Ramsay did not use him. I have no problem of the guys Ramsay sent out – maybe they are hot in practice or the game? – but the proven guy needs to be in there.

Good game tonight. A couple of tough-breaks beat them. Thrashers need to get a few of those to go for them right about now. Let’s hope it happens in the next two games.

Cornbread

January 23rd, 2011
2:19 am

BMF you are correct about this team being very close. I think the only thing missing right now are a couple of key goals at the right times.

Even in the TOR, PHI, and DAL losses I saw a lot of things I liked. The team is doing those things more consistently now. They just need to get over that hump. I think that is what Dudley is evaluating now. Can this team do that in the next two huge games or are there big or minor changes that need to occur after the All-Star game?

BMF

January 23rd, 2011
2:31 am

Cornbread, we just need to put the puck in the net a little more, that’s it. Simple. We’re close, just not clicking like we were earlier in the year. Not even sure if a trade for another goal-score will do it, I think we have the guns we need on hand, we just need to bury more pucks in the net. Our penalty kill was good tonight, especially that 5 on 3 we had to kill and we did. Plenty of positives about tonight, just wished we took 2 pts instead of 1. We’re still in good shape. Just took another swig of the cool-aid.

Pork N beans

January 23rd, 2011
4:39 am

Gotta stop coughing up a lead in the 3rd period, then the shootout is obsolete. I can’t fault this team for not being good in the shootouts, I don’t want to wheel Kozlov out there even though he was spectacular when not having to “play” hockey. Have I mentioned I hate the shootout anyway? You don’t see football games being decided by kicking field goals. Ladd easily won his fight, busted the Rag players nose.

Frenchy

January 23rd, 2011
6:40 am

As stated before by Marcus, 4 out of 6 points is not bad….We’re going in the right direction…. We just need one guy (hmm hmm Buff) to get-up and go score the big goals for us like he did earlier this season…

We’re still here, no time to give-up now. Go Thrashers!

UGASlobberknocker

January 23rd, 2011
7:01 am

We cant expect Buff to be our scoring leader. Ownership needs to step up and get us a scorer.

Atlanta Spirit

January 23rd, 2011
7:03 am

Re; UGASlobberknocker’s comment

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

yeah , that might happen..when Steve Belkin throws in some cash.

Kovy's Agent

January 23rd, 2011
7:42 am

I guess UGASlobberknocker hasn’t seen the news lately regarding “ownership”. As for the multi-headed hydra that is the Atlanta Spirit, I believe they are collectively huddled under a desk somewhere in Philips Arena in a fetal position, crying out for mommy to make it all go away.

And Al Trautwig, bite me! Speaking between periods about the absolute lack of atmosphere in the Bulb. You should have sellouts every day at the Garden just by people lost and wandering in and wondering what’s going on in that obsolete arena.

Finally, somebody wake me when we finally take a lead into the 3rd and hold it. I don’t mean give up the tying goal and somehow win in OT or the shoot out, I mean hold the lead and win in regulation.

Rob

January 23rd, 2011
7:48 am

+1 to the go get another scorer. The thrashers are $17mil under the cap and Jerome Iginla is sitting out there needing to be moved. The team needs someone in the top 30 in goals to make a good playoff run.

thrash head

January 23rd, 2011
8:36 am

Encouraged by 17,000 + crowd.

The Real Thrash

January 23rd, 2011
8:47 am

Why is Opie’s record so bad in shootouts?

Jimbo

January 23rd, 2011
8:49 am

Nice crowd, but we are a pathetic, timid team in the 3rd period at home. AFRAID TO LOSE! But, we know that if we hit the shootout, we’re DOA. Andro in the shootout is a joke. He has no moves. Where was Dawes, Burmistrov? Our playoff hopes are fading, fading. No hope this afternoon in Tampa. Just mail it in- 11 in a row. They OWN US.

BluelandBuddha

January 23rd, 2011
8:51 am

Chris- in lieu of Friday’s story and the team’s current struggles, can we ask point blank to Dudley/Waddell/Levenson if the team has the willingness to take on payroll in order to make a play-off push? I’d curious if the answer would be an unequivocal “yes” or a muddled “well, we’ll have to see what options are available and what makes sense” hedge. The latter would indicate to me that they don’t.

Pork N beans

January 23rd, 2011
8:56 am

Buddha, would you really believe anything that is said as far as an answer goes coming from Thrasher management, especially the Spirit group including their puppet, DW? I trust Duds, but I know his hands are tied, DW is his boss and he is the Spirit groups robot..how else could he still have a job.

Jake

January 23rd, 2011
9:13 am

I was there last night, too. Thrashers played hard, but a lapse by Buff and Enstrom in third period allowed the tying goal. No excuses. It was a sloppy, bottom-dweller kind of play. Buff has talent, but he’s erratic. He’ll never even approach Lidstrom status until he brings it every night, every shift, every moment he’s on the ice.

The Thrashers played hard, but they just don’t have much talent. And they always, always, always get outshot — 31-22 last night. If the other team shoots more, it’s gonna score more.

Defense trumps offense because it’s about effort, positioning, scheme and will. Every one of the NFL’s final four has an intimidating, game-changing defense. The Thrashers have to play that kind of defense to compensate for their lack of talent. If they don’t, they’re going to sink like a stone right out of the playoffs…especially over the next two months when the good teams ratchet up the intensity.

hockeynut

January 23rd, 2011
9:28 am

A very disapointing loss so what’s next for the Trashers a lobsided rest of the season with some lackluster effert on behalf of some of the players is just unacceptebale………..

Gategirl

January 23rd, 2011
9:32 am

We need to look to Ladd Peverly to pick up the scoring

Thrashers addict

January 23rd, 2011
9:59 am

Good crowd last night. I am a big Buff fan but he has not had the fire he had earlier in the season. Is he tired or not wanting to be a Thrasher any longer? The effort is not there. It will be interesting to see how he plays in the all star game. If the same fire is there in that game, it will disgust me!

Not Blind

January 23rd, 2011
10:28 am

Here are some observations:

If you are relying on the likes of Ladd, Perverly, Antropov, etc to LEAD your team you are doomed. No real grit of the kind it takes to go deep in the playoffs. These guys can be contributors but they are really 2nd or 3rd line fill ins. We need a couple of forwards like Lucic. Big bangers that consistently go to the high traffic pain filled areas.

Next, Ramsay’s break out. Lately the Thrashers have been getting trapped in their own end far too often. The second I see one of them start to circle back in their own end I get this feeling of impending disaster. Get the puck to the neutral zone. When you get the puck GO GO GO. Don’t just stand there and wait to be attacked.

Next is offsides. I didn’t see as many last night but the Thrashers have unforced offsides far too often. Every offside call negates a potential scoring opportunity.

Lastly, I have discovered the secret to scoring goals. After watching televised hockey since the late 80’s it finally dawned on me in the last few weeks. Here it is !!! THE GUYS THAT SCORE A LOT OF GOALS RARELY PUT THE PUCK INTO THE GOALIE’S LOGO. If you give them just a fraction of a second they can find a hole. And I’m not talking about break aways or shoot outs. I’m talking about nearly every shot they take. Even if they don’t score they are still usually putting the puck somewhere other than the logo. This ain’t self defense where center of mass is good :) .

Of course with the Thrashers they miss the whole darn cage just as often as they hit the logo. Compare Thorburn’s great scoring chance with Boyle’s. Is Boyle a superstar ? No. But he does understand about missing the goalie.

Not Blind

January 23rd, 2011
10:34 am

Thrashers addict. I too am disappointed in the effort from the top guys. Unfortunately I think there is no committment to each other as teammates and where could anybody find any motivation to this organization and it’s ownership. There is also the ‘legacy’ thing. The Atlanta Thrashers don’t have a legacy the way NJ does or Philly or Chicago…. Even Carolina and TB have those cup banners hanging from the rafters.

Iron League 13

January 23rd, 2011
10:49 am

Ice Melteth,

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PRODUCT!!! No way, NO FREAKIN WAY, does Nashville or Carolina have either the poplulation nor the amount of northern transplants as Atlanta, I’d say per capita Tampa or Miami might, but regardless. In other words, NOT IN A MILLION YEARS WILL I EVER SAY THAT NASHVILLE OR CAROLINA ARE BETTER MARKETS, NO FREAKIN’ WAY!!! No one can honstly say they just get it and we don’t, that’d be bull-bleep.

We’ve never had a problem with carrying minor league teams have we? But I guarantee you if the Knights (only left town, for Philips Arena replacing the Omni) or Glads weren’t any good metro Atlantans wouldn’t support them either. I can name dozens of hockey markets that are like that in many professional hockey leagues, Atlanta’s no exception. Anyways…

Plain and simple this town has a HEALTHY distrust coupled with reasonable expectations for the ASG and always has, but this town’s been burnt by them since DAY ONE. Caring owners skating relatively consistent competitive rosters would have seen a profitable team in a short amount of time and we’d have an average attendance of 15,000 or so just like Nashville or Carolina. That’s a fact, Jack.

Not Blind

January 23rd, 2011
11:01 am

Iron league, I don’t think you realize how hard it is to actually make money with an NHL team. Far too many of them lose money. Even the Caps have been losing money. I think the key to success is actually something like the ASG has; an NBA team, and NHL team AND the multi purpose arena. THEN you should be able to make money IF your organization isn’t run by idiots.

S, Stamkos

January 23rd, 2011
11:02 am

Hi Thrasher fans, since your team doesn’t even ruffle my jersey when we play each other, I will be scoring more goals this afternoon. I enjoy a non-physical game in which I am free to score, thankfully your bigger, stronger team doesn’t enjoy contact either, it quite often feels like a practice game where I am wearing the ‘no contact jersey’. Wish me luck today and keep an eye on your big guys, Buf and Antro won’t even breathe on me and the rest of your “rugged” team won’t even rough us up considering the four foot tall Steve Downie is our enforcer, he is the size of Thor’s nose. -S.S

Curly

January 23rd, 2011
11:35 am

Except for the score, it was a pretty good game last night. I thought the guys played hard, but the lapse in the third period gave the Rangers a point. The Thrashers only recorded 3 SOG in the third and OT but had many more shots than that, that went wide of the net. They need to shoot on goal more and try for the rebounds (work on their shot accuracy). That’s how the majority of goals are scored.

I think Ramsay cost the Thrashers the bonus point by his inability to develop a shoot-out strategy. He seems to use the shoot-out to reward players that have played well instead of using the players that give the team a chance to win. I think it is common knowledge that the top shoot-out “specialists” on the Thrashers are Dawes, Stapleton, Peverly and Little. Rotating the top three out four for the shoot-out will get these players in a routine and will provide them with a role that they can be prepared for.

Not Blind

January 23rd, 2011
11:40 am

SS, before the season ‘I had a dream’. In my dream every time an opposing player handled the puck KABOOM !!! WELCOME TO ATLANTA. The way the Dallas Stars treated the Thrashers before, during and after their recent game in Dallas.

Duh, what was I thinking? This is Atlanta. Why would you chance a painful bruise for the ASG ?

BluelandBuddha

January 23rd, 2011
12:13 pm

I just created a Facebook page for disgruntled fans to petition the way the ASG is running our franchise. The hope here is to prove that the passion for Thrashers hockey is there, but the frustration is beginning to outweigh it. Let’s send a message to the league and to potential investors that the current situation needs to be fixed! My goal is to get 50K likes which would triple the official Thrashers Facebook page. Lofty goal- I get it. But I believe we have the numbers.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Concerned-Atlanta-Thrashers-Fans/157006297684589

Jenzen

January 23rd, 2011
12:36 pm

Chris, I went to your blog, “Thrasher’s Beat Blog With Chris Vivlamore” to read and, perhaps, add some comment to what was there.
Guess what? It was an Atlanta Falcons blog with D. Orlando Ledbetter. Good ol AJC, right up there with the great newspapers of our times. Suppose they will correct it or does it really matter?

NHL Ready

January 23rd, 2011
1:46 pm

To all who say a good game last night! We lost a lead and lost in a Shoot-out again we lost the game. Good game I do not think so we need to win. If you don’t mind the score go to a figure skating event and watch skating. I want to see a Hockey game and a winning Team.

Iron League 13

January 23rd, 2011
3:52 pm

Not Blind, I know ALL businesses aren’t so simple, but I also know that consistant 2/3 capacity attendance is basically essential. Again, I’ll give you my post-Lemiuex/pre-Crosby analogy and if tha’s not good enough for you then look at the Isles of the 80’s and look at em now. Butts in seats is pretty much THE DEAL when it comes to professional sports especially when the players mostly paid a million and up each season.

Next, I absolutely DO NOT believe the Octotards when they say they’ve been losing so much money each year. They bought a package deal and that’s how they got THE NBA FRANCHISE they wanted, they are BASKETBALL FANS, NOT HOCKEY FANS. You wouldn’t hear a word about losing money had they built an entertaining playoff bound team 5 years ago, cuz there’d be 15,000+ spectators at the home games. Sorry, but yeah it mostly is that simple, unless they bought a bad package. Here’s a good question for you, what business does anyone have trying to get into a business they know nothing about, let alone care nothing about?

Iron League 13

January 23rd, 2011
3:53 pm

consistent 2/3 or better capacity is essential rather (sorry)

Iron League 13

January 23rd, 2011
4:02 pm

Not Blind, I also REFUSE to believe that businessmen would buy into professional sports if it was so hard to turn a profit. My instinctive response about what you said about the Caps losing money maybe they spent too much money while building (which is common for anyone growing a business) or spending too much regardless. I’f I cared so much about the Caps I’d look to verify that, but again I don’t buy into sports franchise owners being a rarer, dumber, bigger risk taking breed of successful entrepreneur.

Not Blind

January 23rd, 2011
7:25 pm

The Caps owner is in for the long haul. Just in the recent past he got to buy the Washington NBA franchise which also comes with the operating rights to the arena. Now he gets to make money instead of losing money. As you do, I also believe that the ASG is blowing smoke and playing a shell game with the money. The Thrashers and the Hawks have to ‘pay’ something for the use of the arena. I would think that the ASG gets to set this payment and can manipulate the numbers anyway they want to.

As for people buying into or starting a biz in an area they have no expertise in- it happens all the time. I have been self employed since the late 80’s and a commercial property landlord so I have had lots of opportunity to observe this phenomenom.

Iron League 13

January 23rd, 2011
9:16 pm

Shell game is exactaly right. I personally think they spent all their money (saved it too) for the Hawks and intended on selling this franchise right out of the gates, but that’s just me. They thought they could be flippers without having something of real value to sell and like most of us didn’t see 2007 going the way it did. Now they’re in a post 2007 world and still a rickety team at best and in Atlanta and surprise surprise, no buyers.

I dunno really about having to own a trifecta (tehe) in order to turn a profit, not saying you’re wrong, but that sounds crappy. Not being a smart Alec, but I don’t understand how a team in say, Tampa or San Jose aren’t in the same boat.

I do know MANY people jump in head first without knowing how to swim when it comes to business. Maybe it’s naive of me to hold megamillionaires and billionaires to higher standards, well…admittedly, yeah it is.

Zombie Steve

January 23rd, 2011
9:35 pm

Bring in Iginla!! His style is perfect for this team.