What do I begin with? Ilya Kovalchuk’s 300th career goal?…Evander Kane’s first ever NHL goal?…Pavelec’s performance?…Heck, what about the penalty kill?
Let’s start with the captain, shall we?
In his 547th career start, Kovy notched his 300th goal by way of the power play. It was a classic Ilya goal as he took the puck just inside of the blueline and wormed his way through the St. Louis defense… then beat Chris Mason. The goal put the Thrashers up 2-1 at the time. He almost made it two power play goals, but his blast in the second period clanked the iron.
However, he did later get number 301 with an empty-netter at the end…his fourth goal and fifth point of the young season.
Then in the second, it was Evander Kane’s turn to make some history. On a play that was another beauty to watch, Kane took a pass from Rich Peverley as he powered his way up the middle and snapped off a winner from between the circles. That one put Atlanta up 3-1…a lead they took into the second intermission.
Kane and Peverley are starting to be quite the duo early on in the season. It was Pevs that scored the goal Saturday in which Evander notched his first ever career assist. Just returning the favor, I guess.
The Thrashers then made sure that Kovy and Kane’s memorable evening finished on a winning note as they defeated the Blues 4-2.
And what about the play of Ondrej Pavelec? He shook off an early goal… one in which Keith Tkachuk simply beat him with a shot from the left circle…and played outstanding the rest of the way. He would not surrender another until 2:44 left in the third. For the night, Opie stopped 29 of 31 shots faced.
Not to be overlooked here is the fantastic job the Thrasher’s penalty killing unit did Thursday night…wait, did I just use the words “fantastic” and “Thrasher’s penalty kill” in the same sentence?
Oh, I need to sit down…that made me dizzy.
Late in the first, with Atlanta nursing a 2-1 lead, Kovy took a hooking penalty. His teammates killed it off to preserve the one-goal advantage. Then to begin the second, Zach Bogosian committed a cross checking infraction just 63 seconds into the period. That, too, was killed off in fine fashion…however just a mere three ticks of the clock after Zach returned to the play, Marty Reasoner hooked his way into the sin-bin.
But once again…by working hard and agressively pursuing the puck…the Thrashers were successful in killing off yeat another Blues man-advantage.
For the season so far, the Thrashers have killed off 6 of the 7 penalties faced. They are 2 for 5 on their own power plays.
Other Quick Shots And Thoughts
The Thrashers have been quite economical with their shots during the first two games. They were able to net six on 28 shots last weekend…then they scored twice on their initial three shots against St. Louis. That would be eight goals on the first 31 SOG of the season. Kane’s tally came on Atlanta’s 11th shot of the game.
So far they have scored 1o goals on a total of 49 SOG…better than one for every five shots taken.
One worrisome issue though is the shots for/against stat as Atlanta was outshot 31-21 Thursday night. In two games, the Thrashers have taken 49 SOG and have allowed 70 to get through on Opie. Yikes!
Of course, where it counts, they have outscored their opponents by a total of 10-5.
The Thrashers have scored in all six periods so far. Two in each of the three periods against the Bolts, two in the first tonight and one each in periods two and three.
Atlanta has played 120 minutes of hockey so far this season and have only trailed for 2:48 seconds. That certainly helps.
The Thrashers have won their first two games of the season for the first time since 2003. That year they beat Columbus 2-1 to start the season then took a 4-3 decision from Washington. They went on to tie the next two games against the Islanders and Rangers…something I’m quite sure won’t happen this time around. The Thrashers started that 2003-04 campaign with 4 wins, zero losses, 2 ties and an overtime loss. That’s 11 points in the first 7 games.
And Finally…Hey, I Know Those Two
That very good-looking couple you see toward the end of the Thrashers marketing commercial played throughout the airing of the game is none other than our very own FormerIsleFan and his lovely bride Lilibeter.
Congrats you two…you’re stars!!