Thrashers get much needed win on Hainsey’s heroics

Here is my game story from the Thrashers  3-2 overtime win over the Maple Leafs Sunday for those who would like to comment.

Ron Hainsey set off one wild celebration.

This one had it all – joy of a dramatic victory, enthusiasm of a playoff race re-entered and a collective sigh of relief from a team desperate to taste victory again.

Hainsey scored 2:31 into overtime to give the Thrashers a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Toronto Sunday at Philips Arena. The defenseman was mobbed by teammates for delivering the team’s second win of the month.

“I know I got one in the American League but that was awhile ago,” Hainsey said of scoring a game-winning goal. “It wasn’t in overtime. That’s the first overtime one since I was like 10 [years old].

The Thrashers (26-26-11, 63 points) broke a five-game losing streak and won for the second time since returning from the all-star break. They had just six wins in their previous 27 games and had fallen out of playoff position.

That’s one big sigh of relief.

With the win, the Thrashers moved into a tie with Toronto (27-27-9, 63 points) for the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference. They are two points behind Buffalo for ninth and four points behind Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot.

“We had to win,” said Hainsey, who scored his second goal of the season. “We’ve been losing game against teams we are racing with – Carolina, Buffalo, Toronto. [Toronto] still got one [point, but we picked up two points on the teams ahead of us. That’s what’s important. That puts us four [points] away and, hey, we are in business here. If we are getting any further away than that we are going to have problems. We are back in it.”

The Thrashers are back in the playoff race and it took two third-period goals to do so.

Down 2-0 entering the final period, the Thrashers made it a game with Andrew Ladd’s power-play goal 23 seconds into the third. With Keith Aulie serving a high-sticking penalty, drawn by Eric Boulton at the end of the second period, Ladd scored on a rebound to give the Thrashers life. Blake Wheeler took a swipe at a loose puck in front of Maple Leafs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who came in for an injured James Reimer. Ladd knocked home the rebound for his 23rd goal. He now has six goals in the past six games. At that point he had scored six of the Thrashers past 11 goals.

Tim Stapleton tied the game with his first goal of the season, and fourth of his NHL career, with 4:36 remaining. After he won a faceoff, Evander Kane raced down the left side with the puck, beating his defender. He slid the puck in front to Zach Bogosian and after the defenseman and Anthony Stewart took stabs at it, Stapleton arrived to bury the game-tying goal.

It was a big goal for Stapleton, who was placed on waivers  Saturday.

“It’s a business thing,” the forward said. “At first I was a little disappointed. I don’t really blame them. I played 25 games and I had one assist. Hopefully I can keep going. We’ll see what happens Monday. If I still here I going to keep playing to stay.”

Chris Mason stopped 22-of-24 shots for his first win since Dec. 11. He blanked the Maple Leafs after allowing two first-period goals. Mason got the start with Ondrej Pavelec out with a right wrist injury. Pavelec, wearing a brace on his wrist, did not dress.

As steady as Mason played, he was in jeopardy of losing for the second straight game after relieving Pavelec in  Friday’s shootout loss to Florida.

“Keep playing,” Mason said of coach Craig Ramsay’s locker room speech before the final period. “We had to get [the puck] in behind their defensemen. It makes it tougher for teams when you get it behind. It doesn’t matter how good they guys are, if you keep making them go back and chase it, it tires them out. We put a lot of pressure on them in the third period.”

Ramsay gave no speech following the game.

“I just feel in my [office] chair,” Ramsay said. “I let [assistant coach] Mike Stothers go talk to them. I was tired.”

20 comments Add your comment


February 27th, 2011
9:10 pm

Gary B

February 27th, 2011
9:15 pm

Keep things going Atlanta….don’t let these guys sell you out…


February 27th, 2011
9:17 pm

And with Staal out in Carolina and Ward wearing out after playing so much, let’s hope the Canes lose to help us out a bit….and that we get at least 4 or 5 points this week vs Habs, Sens and Florida.


February 27th, 2011
9:19 pm

Keep the passion ALIVE!!!


February 27th, 2011
9:33 pm

Whew! Finally 2 points!
Kaner, you are awesome. His hustle and grit all night paid off in Stapleton’s goal. And how about Stuart. What a pickup. Solid D, solid bodychecks, including in the center ice zone. And he knows when to pinch.

Hockey Biltong

February 27th, 2011
9:41 pm


February 27th, 2011
9:44 pm

C VIV – with all due respect, do you ever proof read your articles????


February 27th, 2011
9:51 pm

third period was def a good effort for the thrash.. now if we can only keep that up


February 27th, 2011
10:28 pm

Ironic that that Hainsey gets the winner cause he had bricks on his feet all night.
Great finish. Good win. Kane was on top of his game all night.

NHL Ready

February 27th, 2011
10:32 pm

Is there a trade or no trade to boost this team to the next level?? Anyone know anything? Time is almost up.


February 27th, 2011
10:43 pm

It’s nice to win. It’s always kinda nice to win. But this makes us 7-15-6 in our last 28 games. That’s a .357 clip. Let’s face it, this weekend has to be the beginning of a 6-1-3 run. We just can’t expect teams around us to falter to prop up a playoff race.

I believe it’s “fun and nice” to look at the weekend as a 1-0-1 affair. But were these clubs the Flyers and Canucks? No, they were the Panthers and Maple Leafs, two non-playoff teams, and two of the franchises that have NEVER made the playoffs since the Lockout. Before you say, “every game carries with it the possibility of two points,” how many games against the Islanders, Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Sabres, Oilers, Flames, and Devils (before they got hot) did we SQUANDER this season? Those are the ones that hurt. Just think what 6-8 more points, at this point, would be doing for us.

Anything’s possible. And they say … it’s not over ’til it’s mathematically over. It’s not mathematically over. Shoot, 101-points are still “possible.” 19 more wins to go, right? Let’s see what the next 5 games bring. If it’s eight (8) points, we’re really back in this thing. But right now, points for anyone are hard to get. There’s no such thing as a ’soft’ game. For Atlanta, the song remains the same. Gotta win. Gotta win, now.


February 27th, 2011
11:08 pm

Thanks to Nik Antropov for exposing Armstrong for the vijayjay that he is. I think Ramsay relegated Nik to the bench for that “bad” penalty (charging my butt, boarding maybe) but I really think that play sparked us to keep plugging away and battle harder than before cuz it was “us against the world” mentality after that. They really kept pouring it on despite TOR’s stubborn trap. Ramsay needs to realize that its okay to play with some emotion once in awhile. It can help you overcome other obvious shortcomings, of which we have many.


February 28th, 2011
12:00 am

GREAT GAME. Heart, Grit, Determination, Goaltending, but most of all a win and 2 points. Repeat often, as it is necessary.

B. Thenet

February 28th, 2011
12:07 am

Much needed W. A bit too sloppy in the 1st, but a magnificent 3rd closed the gap.


February 28th, 2011
12:42 am

That was a terrible 1st period. Kane did not play well at all in that 1st period. That one play where he enters the zone and just back passes it to NOBODY made me yell and cuss at the TV. No Thrasher was anywhere near him, and that turnover cost the Thrashers a goal. Also very weak defense by Hainsey to just let Kessel skate in on Mason unmolested. That kind of weak defense will not win you games in the NHL. Kane also had a turnover in the neutral zone trying to do a cross ice pass through like two Leafs that got picked off. I’m glad the team rebounded in the 2nd and 3rd period, but they looked like a lost jumbled up mess that whole 1st period. Mason has had two games now where he played very well. I think he was rusty for that Edmonton game coming off his injury. It looks like we’ll have to ride Mason for a while until Pavelec gets his wrist healed.

Also I give Armstrong an oscar for doing such a fine acting job on that bogus charging penalty. Antropov gave Armstrong a courteous bump check and Army acts like someone slammed his head against the glass. The officating was not very good. Kane for goalie interference? Are you kidding me? Rimer was halfway outside his crease and he leaned into Kane and tripped him up. There was an obvious interference penalty that was not called against the Leafs I think it was in overtime.


February 28th, 2011
1:06 am

I was there, thanks to a friend providing a pair of most excellent Section 121 seats … the 1st started ungodly strong, and our jaws were hanging open. There honestly should have been at least 1, maybe 2, goals in that first 4.5 minutes.

Then the wheels fell off, and … well, let’s just say words were uttered that aren’t meant for small ears.

Honestly, we all thought “here we go again”, and got ready for another powerflush.

2nd period … there was a lot of hard play back and forth.

3rd period, the Leafs simply failed to show up, totally different Atlanta team out there.

It was great to FINALLY see some inspired play on our side, and it paid off bigtime.

Would have been nice to have 2 in regulation, but I think most of us right now will take 2 any way we get them.


February 28th, 2011
1:49 am

Mason played one helluva-game. As did Stapleton.
The two guys from Boston have been outstanding additions.
Both play w/ grit, and hustle.
We hit more iron today…..damn!

Montreal Tues……
We cannot quit…. playoffs or no… this team is being forged in the fires of adversity right now.
We will see results…. adversity builds character, and will separate “the men from the boys”.
Any man who wilts from this is not capable of surviving the 16 win stretch required to “Hoist the Cup!”.


Zombie Steve

February 28th, 2011
9:22 am

Glad to see the puck finally bounce our way for once


February 28th, 2011
10:03 am

What happened with the big Thrashers rally?? 25 people? Ouch.

[...] Stapleton has four goals and an assist. A game story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution is here. Video of Sunday’s goal is [...]