Pavelec shuts out the Capitals with 36 saves

Here is my game story, with quotes, on the Thrashers’ 1-0 win over the Capitals on Wednesday night for those who would like to comment.

How weird does this sound?

The Capitals were just what the ailing Thrashers needed.

The Thrashers snapped a three-game losing streak — and collected only their fifth win in the past 17 games — with a 1-0 victory on Wednesday night at Philips Arena. The Thrashers ended their season series with the Capitals holding a 4-1-1 record, outscoring them 20-13.

The Thrashers (24-19-9, 57 points) kept a one-point lead on the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race heading into the All-Star break. The Capitals (27-15-9, 63 points) lost for their second straight, but their first in regulation in six.

Ondrej Pavelec was excellent in goal while earning his fifth career shutout and third of the season. He stopped all 36 shots he faced.

“It’s totally his win tonight,” said forward Nik Antropov, who scored the only goal. “He was standing on his head tonight.”

Pavelec made several big saves in front of the net. He robbed Capitals’ star Alexander Ovechkin with a big glove save with 20 seconds left in the first period. He also preserved the win with a glove save in the final minute when the Capitals used an extra skater.

Pavelec has allowed the Capitals just one goal in the past three games, stopping 110-of-111 shots.

“It was time to step up,” Pavelec said. “The last couple of games we didn’t play well and I didn’t feel well in the net the last couple of games. It was a big win for us.

“… If you look at their lineup, they have great players. I think it’s just luck. It’s not about me. It’s about the team. Every time Ovie and those guys step on the ice we know where they are. We were close to them and we skated with them.”

The Thrashers’ lone goal came in the second period. It was Antropov’s ninth goal of the season. The forward took a pass from Fredrik Modin and wristed a shot past Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov with 8:39 left. Modin set up the goal by chasing down a puck in the offensive zone and swiping it from Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz. The goal was Antropov’s second in the past three games. He also has five points in the past six games.

“I kind of read the play,” Antropov said. “I thought it was [Modin] or [Eric Boulton] on the boards chipping it out. I raced for the puck. Freddy did a great forecheck and I stayed high and Freddy found me. I looked back and there was nobody around me. Schultz was checking Freddy so I got quite a bit of time.”

Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay shortened his bench in the win, basically using three lines for much of the game. Patrice Cormier played three shifts and none after seven minutes of the first period. Tim Stapleton played one shift and Boulton played two over the final two periods.

“It’s such an important game and there was nothing to save anything for,” Ramsay said. “I certainly don’t like to do that. … We needed to win. I believe we can win with four lines. Sometimes you just get a feeling.”

The victory was the Thrashers’ first in regulation since a 3-2 win over Florida on Jan. 5. Ramsay has pleaded with his team to find a way to win close games and to keep their composure.

On Wednesday night they did just that.

“Even though they ran some really good cycles on us, we stopped in our own zone and then reacted quickly to their point shots,” Ramsay said. “We were able to block a bunch of them, especially our defense. They had to wrist it by our forwards and then it’s much easier to make a block. That was a big issue for us tonight. I also thought in our own zone we won quite a number of really key faceoffs.”

Both teams were missing top players. Evander Kane, who has five of his 13 goals this season against the Capitals, was out with a mid-body injury. The Capitals were without Alexander Semin, who had six points (four goals, two assists) in the five previous games against the Thrashers.

27 comments Add your comment

Odgers

January 26th, 2011
10:51 pm

thrash head

January 26th, 2011
11:21 pm

BMF

January 26th, 2011
11:23 pm

A regulation win! Damn I forget what it feels like! 2 for us, none for them. Excellent win going into the all-star break. Hopefully Kane will be ready once we resume action. We need him, badly.

ASG, help us out. We’re dying. Make a move! We won tonight with what we had on hand, but we need help. Tonight’s win was more about stopping the bleeding, but we’re stil bleeding…

thrash head

January 26th, 2011
11:23 pm

14,500. Not too bad for a week night game. Plus a good win for the home crowd.

Brendan

January 27th, 2011
12:22 am

BMF, rest assured, the ownership’s ‘comitment level’ will be on full display after the All-Star break.

East Point Bob

January 27th, 2011
12:23 am

Brenden… I hope so !!!!

Furious George

January 27th, 2011
12:25 am

Great win, Pavs was simply awesome!! Looks like Antropov is finally starting to feel more back to normal, great to see him producing. Also from what I saw Bogo played a solid game tonight, good for him – he needs it confidence wise. Hopefully we can ride this momentum into the break and beyond and hold off the Canes. The February schedule looks pretty favorable so our boys must capitalize, no excuses. Go Thrashers!

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Tired

January 27th, 2011
2:11 am

Tired of every time the thrashers play people focus on attendance as if ny islanders, preds coyote

Etc sell out every night

The formula for atl is win if you don’t win we don’t show

Franz Kafka

January 27th, 2011
4:04 am

Pavelec was brilliant. Antropov is heating up, there are signs of life heading into the break, it’s nice to see players have an open pulse injecting strange life into each other. I hope Byfuglien doesn’t blow a tire playing endlessly to compensate for the Enstrom loss, the 4th line played very sparingly, but don’t despair, not even over the fact that you don’t despair.

Busted Grape

January 27th, 2011
4:30 am

Our prayers might be answered, Tsn seems to think we are shopping Antropov, Hainsey and Modin, all of which I would gladly waive bye to. I know that Hainsey has a limited no trade clause and has played great of late, but he probably has some value, likewise for Antro who looks to be recovereing well from his injuries..even though he is still slow as mud. Modin..yikes..maybe we’ll get a few pucks for him. Anyways just repeating the news, hope there is some truth to these rumors and we get roster player(s) in return..no more draft picks and Stapelton’s.

jhf

January 27th, 2011
7:48 am

thrashers have stepped it up trying to delay that move to hamilton

Philips Arena

January 27th, 2011
8:01 am

I will not be moving to Hamilton.

brad

January 27th, 2011
8:56 am

since it’s the all star break I looked at the standings for the entire league. There are only 5 teams in the whole league with a losing record. How is this even possible? Doesn’t somebody win and lose every game that is played? This scoring system is in need of some serious over-hauling

Fan from Carolina

January 27th, 2011
9:15 am

Where would this team be without Pavelec. WOW!!

Slava Kozlov's wonky eye

January 27th, 2011
9:37 am

I agree Brad. Hockey is the only sport with a shootout scenario that rewards a losing team with a “point”. I vote to go back to the old way..if there are 9 OT’s to settle a game, so be it.

Smoothie

January 27th, 2011
10:13 am

I’d like to echo the sentiments of one Franz Kafka, you are a very astute European.

Nice to see Bogosian respond so well as that was easily the best defensive game I’ve seen him play in quite some time. Positionally he seemed much better and he was more decisive with the puck. Perhaps the time observing really helped him see where he needs to go with the puck for the high percentage play even with very little time when under duress. Let’s hope he turns the corner as his play will be key down the stretch if this team is going to tighten up enough to stay in the playoff thick of things. And yes, Pavelec was simply brilliant again.

why not?

January 27th, 2011
10:16 am

I just want to thank the ownership group for putting this team together. 2nd lowest payroll in the league. Most teams are concerned with salary caps not us. It was last year they had to give raises to reach league minimum to even field a team. Awesome job guys.

why not?

January 27th, 2011
10:23 am

I wonder if the players would rather play in Hamilton or Atlanta. Hamilton is never mentioned as a major city on weather news updates.

JS

January 27th, 2011
10:55 am

I’m tired of hearing about our attendance woes. Did anyone see the Islanders crowd last night? They couldn’t have had 8,000 people there from what was shown on the telecast. Move them to Winnipeg!!!

Joe Winder

January 27th, 2011
11:16 am

JS — I agree. The Islanders’ attendance was 4,976 according to their web site…

Zombie Steve

January 27th, 2011
11:25 am

They need to move the Penguins to Cuba….with the rest of the Communists

Terptwin

January 27th, 2011
11:42 am

Gang, the New York metropolitan area was hit by 14-19″ of snow. In fact, 19″ of snow was measured in Central Park. That said, I’m impressed that close to 5K fans made it to Uniondale to watch the Islanders game.

lordstan57

January 27th, 2011
4:59 pm

I won’t advocate the moving of ANYBODY’ S team. I refuse to participate in the juvenile throwing of Poo at ANY City… American OR Canadian!!!

Also, bear in mind…. paying more for something does not automatically mean higher quality.
Sounds all too damn familiar…. want to improve something?
THROW MONEY AT IT!!!!!!!!

Great job by all last nite!
Atta-boy Pavs!

RESPECT MUST BE EARNED!!!!!!!

hockeynut

January 27th, 2011
5:31 pm

Without Pav were would this team be but they finally put together a great effort to win and it is not just this win there will be more. We need more offense from all the players not just a few….I’ think most of them are overpaid for there lousy and inconsistant plays at any level, take it for what its worth because after teh Allstar game the Trasher will be close to the cellar cant you smell the roses yet you sorry owners and fans here in this African city…..

BLUELAND

January 27th, 2011
9:03 pm

BLUELAND needs to become it’s own city. Similar to Vatican City.

Nikolai Gogol

January 28th, 2011
5:24 am

Perhaps basic grammar should be required to gripe? Otherwise, how are you going to get anyone, at least someone, to listen to you?

Those grammatical atrocities aside, any interest in D- Matt Walker? He’d be an upgrade over Meyer and is obviously a veteran, hard nosed player – Injury prone however, and with a decent salary which we can afford especially if we are looking to move a big contract. Another name I’ve heard was Jim Vandermeer, same player who makes less – I assume, and also injury prone. The rumors of Moulson coming here were shot down, the Isles re-signed him. I don’t want Arnott, he’s another Modin, past his prime…which means we’ll have serious interest in acquiring him.