A week ago the Atlanta Thrashers were coming off a very successful road trip in which they went 3-1-1, earning 7 of a possible 10 points. Waiting for them… the Washington Capitals whose 10 points led the division, just one better than the Thrashers’ nine.
One week, three games, 13 goals against and one Ilya Kovalchuk broken foot bone later, Atlanta is still stuck at nine…the Caps now have 18. Oh, and the Thrashers also have the Lightning’s backsides to look at as Tampa Bays win over Ottawa puts them at 11 points.
That, my friends, is the definition of an un-good week.
Thursday night eerily resembled the previous two games in that the Thrashers fell behind early…then began to play well in a failed attempt to come from behind. Alex Ovechkin’s pair of goals in the first period put his Caps up 2-0…a lead that became 3-0 at the 4:10 mark of the second.
Two of those goals came on the power play…Ovechkin opening up the scoring with a blast from the left while Jim Slater sat for hooking. Brendan Morrison’s second period goal came while the rookie Evander Kane was spending time in the sin bin for the same infraction.
On that first goal, Marty Reasoner was pulled toward the middle when Mike Green had the puck. That little bit of space was all Alex needed and the puck was on…then off…his stick in a blink of an eye.
The Thrashers had a golden opportunity to tie the score at one around the middle of the first period when Slates…making his first start since opening night… broke through the Washington defense to go in one-on-one with Semyon Varlamov, but he was taken down from behind for a penalty shot.
Varlamov, however, was up to the task.
A short time later, Maxim Afinogenov put the puck in toward the net from the blueline but his shot was block. Nicklas Backstrom found Ovechkin breaking through the neutral zone…Afinogenov at the same time found himself on the ice.
Seconds later, Alex the Gr8 schooled Ondrej Pavelec to put Washington up by two.
After the Thrashers found themselves down by three goals in the second period…hey, haven’t we seen this movie before?…they once again mounted this night’s comeback bid. Atlanta began to get more chances later in that period and eventually outshot the visitors 13-8 in the middle frame. Unfortunately, Varlamov held strong and the Caps took their 3-0 advantage into the locker room after 40 minutes.
Zach Bogosian finally erased the goose egg from Atlanta’s side of the scoreboard with a power play goal 83 seconds into the final period. Then Slava Kozlov fed Todd White through center ice and Whitey pulled his team within one with 2:23 left.
Coming from behind…down by one…143 second left…set for another edge-of-the-seat finish…
again, haven’t we seen this movie before?
Yes…yes we have. And the end of this evening’s feature would not differ from the previous two times.
Mike Knuble crinkled the twine on an empty-netter before Bogosian could add a little window dressing, scoring his second of the night, fourth of the season, as the final horn brought to an end the Thrashers third straight one-goal home loss.
Four straight counting the 2-1 shootout loss in Montreal last week.
Atlanta wound up out-shooting the Caps 20-11 during the third and 41-32 overall.
Opie stopped 28 of the 31 shots he faced and now possesses a .912 SV% and 2.82 GAA as his record falling to 3-3-1.
Evander Kane and Slava Kozlov each had 6 shots on goal for the Thrashers and Bogosian took 5.
Oh…and for what it’s worth…Atlanta outscored Washington and San Jose 6-0 in the third period during the three-game home stand. Normally, a stat like that will equate to at least one win.
They now go on the road again…this time for only a pair of games in Ottawa and Montreal…before returning home again in one week. Let’s hope it’s a better week than this past one.
Looking To Watch The game With Fellow Thrashervillians?
The Thrashers Fan Club will be holding a viewing party at Twains in Decatur Saturday afternoon while the Thrashers are playing in Ottawa. It’s a 2:00 start…so you’ll able to be home in time to deal with the costume-clad tykes who will be perusing the neighborhood extorting candy and treats.
For next Saturday’s game on Lonnnn-Gisland, our good friends at TJ’s have invited us out again to watch Atlanta take on the New York Islanders. As usual, there will be prizes to raffle off, 15% off your food and drinks and a good time shall be had by all.
Oh and hey, if we’re lucky, we might even be able to catch a glimpse of Buzilla as he’ll be in attendance up in New York.
OK, Zilla…I wanna see a “Rawhide’s Rowdies Rock at TJ’s” sign up against the glass!
I watched game seven of last June’s Stanley Cup Finals over a plate of hot wings with Jeff Schultz…can you guess which one?