And…that’s it. It is finished. It’s official. The Atlanta Thrashers have been officially and mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this season. Thanks to the 6-3 loss in Montreal, Atlanta can now finish no higher than 82 points in the standings, which would be one less than the Habs have now, and they hold the eighth playoff position at this time.
As the Thrashers skated off the ice I could have sworn that I heard the slow, soft, melodic sound of taps being played somewhere in the distance.
Much like last Friday’s 6-3 loss to Detroit, this was a close game deep into the second period…Joey Crabb tied the score at one during the first period. Kovy tied it again early in the second after Glen Metropolit…remember him?… had put the Canadians up 2-1 just 32 seconds after the first intermission. So for a while, it looked like Atlanta was going to have a chance to slip another one into the win column.
Zach Bogosian takes a hooking call at 8:20 of the second…seventeen seconds later Alexei Kovalev scores.
Kari Lehtonen plays a puck over the glass at 10:42…Atlanta kills it.
34 seconds after killing it off, Bryan Little takes an interference call at 13:16. He then takes issue with the ref’s call, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct call as well…double minor…30 seconds later Alex Tanguay scores his second of the game…1:38 later, Alexei Kovalev also scores his second of the match. Badda-Boom, badda-bing… just like that, a one-goal deficit swells to three.
Three power play goals in 6:47…game over!
Alex Tanguay finished with 2 goals and 3 assist and Alexei Kovalev had 2 goals and 1 assist. Yup, Montreal “Alex-ed” us to death Tuesday night.
Bryan Little performed a really neat trick late in the second period by drawing a two-minute roughing call. He did this by allowing Andrei Markov to shove him across Carey Price who was covering a puck…then, while trying to get up off of the Habs goalie, Little roughed up Mike Komisarek’s stick with the back of his shoulder blades.
Kari had a less-than-memorable outing. For the record, he allowed six goals on 22 shots…but really it was worse than that. When Saku Koivu netted Montreal’s sixth goal of the game only 23 seconds into the third, it was on only the Canadians’ 15th SOG. The Habs got their four second period goals on only 10 shots.
After playing so well and being hard to beat for several games, Lehtonen simply hasn’t risen to the challenge in his past two starts having given up 12 goals on 60 shots combined, (.800 SV%).
The Thrashers can continue to be of help to Montreal this week as the New York Rangers are in town Thursday night. The Blue Shirts are currently battling with, amog others, Montreal for playoff position. After beating Min-EE-Sooo-TAH 2-1 Tuesday night, the Rangers are tied with Pittsburgh with 86 points, just three ahead of the Canadiens.