Anytime you win a one-goal game you can look back upon it and find that the “little things” done during the course of the game turned out to make the difference. In the case of Atlanta’s 4-3 against Colorado Tuesday night, indeed the little things…or “short” things… came up big.
Short…as in short-handed goals.
The Thrashers were able to net a pair of shorties to get out in front of the Avalanche and then they held on late for the win. With the victory, the Boys of Blueland have a 4-2-1 record in the last seven games. For the month of February, they are 5-4-1. The win against Colorado was the first such home success since a 4-2 victory against Montreal on Januray 20.
Tobias Enstrom notched the game’s first goal as Thrashers were killing off a Ron Hainsey slashing penalty. In the second, Rich Peverley took a pass from Enstrom, moved left to right ‘tween the circles to beat Colorado net-minder Peter Budaj for Atlanta’s fourth goal of the night. This all happened while Todd White was sitting in the sin-bin on a hooking call.
Speaking of The Peever…since snatching him up off of the waver wire just over a month ago, he has scored 5 goals, assisted on another 13, is a +4 and…most importantly…the Thrasher are 8-9-1 with him in the lineup, as opposed to 14-24-5 prior to his aquisition.
In between the two shorties, the Thrashers built a 3-0 lead in the first…only to see the lead cut to one on a pair of Milan Hejduk goals. The first coming with only 1:28 remaining in the first and the other one at the 11:01 mark of the second. Honestly, that second period goal is one Kari Lehtonen should have had. He look almost surprised that Hejduk actually snapped it off from the right circle and his right leg was late closing the gap.
On the night, though, Kari did stop 30 of the 33 shots he faced…including a possible game-tier with only a few ticks on the clock.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal on five shots…his six-game scoring streak had been snapped in San Jose. Kaptain Kovy now has 10 goals and 14 points in the last 8 games.
Marty Reasoner netted Atlanta’s third of the game…he also finished a +2. Reasoner has finished with a “plus” or “even’ rating in the past fifteen games and 18 of the last 19. For the year he is a +7. I know this guy is a UFA at season’s end and more than likely will be moved next week at the trade deadline…but this is one guy I’d love to see around here longer. He was brought in to be a #3 centerman and he has performed admirably as such, even playing well on the #2 line when asked to do so. So far, he’s got 10 goals, 21 points and only 26 PIM. Remember, he took Bobby Holik roster spot from last year’s lineup. Last year in Atlanta, Holik had 15 goals and 34 points to go with 90 PIM as a-14 in 82 games played.
East Coast Lottery
With the loss Tuesday, the Avalanche are now 28-32-1 and their 57 points land them in last place in not only the Northwest Division but the Western Conference as well. However, Colorado is still but 8 points removed of a playoff position out west.
Those same 57 would place them in 11th place in the Eastern Conference as Toronto, (56 points)…Ottawa, (55 points)…Tampa Bay, (52 points)…Atlanta, (50 points),,,and the New York Islanders, (42 points)…all are Eastern Conference teams with fewer points at this time.
If that holds up, that would mean all 5 lottery pick teams would be from the east.
Hooked On A Feelin’
Jackie Blue told me before the game that she “had a good feeling” about the Thrashers chances against the Avs. Well, indeed…whatever it was that you were feeling, Jackie B…I hope it gets ahold of you more often. It was a pleasure to have met your husband as well. See ya’ll Saturday!