Tell me if I’m alone in feeling this way…but last night when the Thrashers fell behind 3-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes in the second period, I kinda got the feeling that the O-fense was gonna find a way to come back and make a game of it. The way I figured things, they had scored a total of fourteen goals in the two previous games…fifteen if you count the gimmick shootout point…so I just felt at ease that they could find their way.
Indeed, they did as the new-look Little-White-Russian line, (same Little, same White, different Russian) kicked it in gear, scoring twice to tie the game in regulation and secure another point in the standings. The top line lit the lamp at the 12:16 mark of the second to pull within a goal…Ilya Kovalchuk worked his way up the right side and fed Bryan Little on the left side. In the third, Little returned the favor by assisting on Kaptain Kovy’s game-tying goal with but 53 seconds remaining on the clock. The play was made possible thanks to Todd White’s good play at the blueline which kept the puck in the attacking zone.
Kari Lehtonen, (37 saves/40 SOG), turned away all the six shots that he faced in overtime to get the game to a shootout. It took eight rounds before the Coyotes were able to lock down the extra point on Daniel Carcillo’s goal. Phoenix won the skills exhibition 2-1, Shane Doan tallied the other goal for the home team while the Slavinator was successful on Atlanta’s second attempt.
Now, I just have to be honest with you here…I thought the Thrashers should have been on the power play for that last half minute or so of regulation and, if need be, into the overtime session. Shortly after Kovy’s game-tying goal, Chris Thorburn was projected face-first into the baords via a cross check from behind courtesy of Ed Jovanovski. The refs chose not to hold the 6-2, 214 lb. defender accountable for the infraction…so a rather upset Thorney had to dish out some immediate retribution on his own, going toe-to-toe with the Coyotes defender.
Atlanta won 37 of the 70 faceoffs in the game, (52.8%), including beating Phoenix in the faceoff circle 17-4 in the first period. On the one-and-only power play chance Atlanta was given, Erik Christensen converted it into a goal to give the Thrashers an early first period lead. The Thrashers killed off three of the Coyotes four man advantages.
Ron Hainsey and Rich Peverley each picked up an assist in the game.
We’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat
The Thrashers now depart the desert of Arizona to head back to the Pacific coast to do a little fishing. Nothing too big, mind you…just sh-sh-sh-SHARKS!
The San Jose Sharks are 39-8-9 overall and 25-2-3 at home this season following Thursday night’s win over the Los Angeles Kings. Yes, you read that correctly…the Sharks have lost a grand total of two games in regulation this season…a 3-2 loss to Cal-GARY on January 15 and a 4-2 decision to the Blackhawks on the 31st of that month as well.
The Sharks score goals at a 3.45 clip which is second only to Detroit’s 3.71. They allow only 2.41 goals per game, which is tied for third in the NHL with Chicago. Their 34.5 S/G is second best, again to the Red Wings, and San Jose allows teams a mere 27.3 S/G, which is tied with the Kings for the lowest in the league. When they Sharks go on the power play, they really smell blood in the water as they are a very impressive 23.9% effective on the man advantage and they kill their opponent’s penalties at a rate of 83.9 %, fourth best in the NHL.
This, my friends, is a very dangerous fishy.
While the Thrashers have already procured five points on this road trip…earning points six and seven are not exactly going to be a holiday trip to the beach. If they don’t bring their A++ game, are in the box too often and/or don’t give 110%, (100% of the time)…then it’s gonna be like taking a swim in the shark-infested waters of San Fransisco Bay while wearing chum underpants.
The game is set to start at 1:00pm California time on Saturday…just after lunch. Hmmm…I wonder if John Anderson could tell the refs, as mom always told us, that we’re not supposed to go into the water right after eating.
Shark Attacks In Decline Worldwide
Speaking of sharks…according to George Burgess, an ichthyologist and director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History, there were only 59 shark attacks recorded worldwide on 2008. This is down from 71 in 2007. Four such attacks were fatal.
Is the reduction in shark bites because the off-shore predators have lost their taste for humans? Hardly, as we were never really on their preferred menu. It probably has more to do with the fact that comercial fishing has reduced the population of sharks off the coast lines. That, and economic conditions have keep vacationers home rather than loading the family up into the SUVs and scurrying down to the beach. For this same reasons, Burgess expects another decline in attacks this year.
The number of attacks in the U.S. last year was only 41, down from 50 the previous year. 32 of those were in the state of Florida, where Valusia County retained it’s title of “Shark Bite Capital” with 22 run-ins between sharks and humans. Most of those were in the waters off New Smyrna Beach.
South Carolina and North Carolina had 3 each, Hawaii had two reported attacks and the state of California only had one.
Only one shark attack in California? Hmmm, I’d venture to guess that there are quite a few NHL teams that might disagree with that figure given San Jose’s home record this season. Let’s hope that there isn’t one more Saturday afternoon.