Just gotta be honest with ya, the Thrashers can thank their lucky stars they got out of Montreal with a point…those stars, of course, being Ondrej Pavelec and Colby Armstrong on this night.
For most of the game they just seemed out of sync, not the same type of energy and drive they possessed in the previous five. This is especially true on the power play where they were able to produce one whole shot on goal during 6 power play tries…thank you Evander Kane.
But, sometimes a team has to find a way to be successful when they are not at their best and the Thrashers worked their way through it to bring home a point via a 2-1 shootout loss to Montreal. That point brings the total to 7 earned on this early season 5-game road trip.
Seven points out of ten…I will take that any day.
Pavelec played very well in goal again for Atlanta, stopping 27 of the 28 shots faced in regulation…yes, you read that correctly, the Thrashers held a team to under 30 SOG during 60 minutes of action for the first time all season. However, Opie saved his best for the five minute overtime period in which he kicked out all seven that he faced. Many in dramatic fashion.
Of the 35 total shots Pavelec faced, 15 came while the Thrashers were killing off penalties.
Atlanta was not able to get off a single shot of their own during overtime…the last 2:35 of which having to be played a man down after Slava Kozlov introduced Scott Gomez into the boards rather harshly. Gomez sat for two minutes in the box for taking exception to the penalty. Slava, on the other hand, took a seat in the locker room earlier than planned as his actions earned a game misconduct.
Make no doubt, Pavs was the reason the Thrashers were afforded a chance to still steal away the extra point in the shootout as he came up big in Atlanta’s goal. Unfortunately, after stopping Mike Cammalleri on Montreal’s initial shootout attempt, he was unsuccessful against Gomez and Brian Gionta. Ilya Kovalchuk and Rich Peverley failed on their chances for Atlanta.
Is Pavelec playing Kari right out of town?
Total Voters: 133
Pavelec is now 3-1-1 with a .929 SV% and 2.37 GAA. As one of the announcers on the TSN feed put it, “Kari Lehtonen better get a ticket [on a plane]…because he’s heading out of town if Pavelec keeps up this play”…They then began to speculate as to what the Thrashers could still get in return for Kari.
Yes, it’s starting to come to that already.
The Canadiens took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Gionta was left all by his lonesome over on the left side. He circled around and made good on his shot at the 17:44 mark. Defenseman Christoph Schubert was none-too-pleased with the defensive help by his teammates on the play and let the forwards on the ice…Armstrong, Kane and Peverley…know it.
That third line made up for it, though, at the 6:06 of the third period as Army took a Peverley pass from the left boards and snapped off a winner past Jaroslav Halak to tie the score.
The goal was not the first bit of damage that Armstrong inflicted upon Montreal this night. During the second period he put a ferocious check on Marc-Andre Bergeron that left his knees wobbly and teeth rattling. Honestly, Bergeron did well to get back on his skates right after the hit.
Not to be overlooked is the fine play on the penalty kill once again. For the season, Atlanta now boasts the fourth-best PK in the NHL, killing off opponent’s man-advantages 88.0% of the time…I got dizzy just typing that. But the best man on that PK unit tonight was the one standing between the pipes.
While it was nice to come away with a point when the team played under par, I would have loved to have seen the Thrashers snag the extra point that was available to them once Opie got them into the shootout.
Still, as I stated above, seven points outa ten on this roadie is more than acceptable.