Fresh off an embarrassing 6-3 loss on Long Island the night before, the Thrashers once again dug themselves a two-goal hole playing at home. But this time, they finally found a way to climb all of the way out…bouncing back for a 3-2 shootout win against the St. Louis Blues.
Speaking of “bouncing”… the Thrashers were helped out this game with their own version of the thing as Ron Hainsey’s flip in towards the net from just in front of the Blues bench and it bounced in over Ty Conklin’s left shoulder. Hainsey’s thing tied the score at 2-2 with just 3:31 remaining in the third… it was his second goal of the season.
“You always hope that those bounces even out, and we were one shot in the Washington game,” Marty Reasoner said after the game. “So we got even today. It’s nice to catch that one break and put us in the right direction for these next home games.”
I’m quite sure that somewhere on the Thrashers bench Ondrej Pavelec was trying to subdue a sly little grin as he knows all too well how the St. Louis goalkeeper must have felt. Just last month Washington’s Jeff Schultz beat Opie on a similar play…though his was from about twice as far…as the puck found that very same bump in the ice just in front of that very same goal and the puck bounced it’s way in over Pavelec’s stick.
Three and a half minutes prior to Hainsey’s goal, Toby Enstrom found the net to get Atlanta on the board. Colby Armstrong took a back-flip from Reasoner behind the goal line and he found Enstrom streaking through the left circle and Toby’s one-timer beat Conklin…who had a very good game in the St. Louis goal, stopping 38 of the 40 Thrashers’ shots on his net.
Conkil robbed Slava Kozlov just before Hainsey’s tying goal…moving to his left to get his leg pad in the way of Kozzy blast from the right circle. Just after Hainsey’s goal, he stufed Maxim Afinogenov on a break away that could have won it in regulation.
Reasoner, who received a secondary assist on Toby’s goal, was also credited with an assist on Hainsey’s thing, giving him two points on the evening and earning the first star for the game.
Johan Hedberg got the start tonight and turned away 30 of St. Louis’ 32 shots…including all 13 he faced in the third and all four taken on him in the overtime. The Blues were unsuccessful on both their shootout attempts as well.
After the scoreless OT, Rich Peverley dispensed his shootout attempt into the net, as did the Slavamatic…just as Bluenote predicted he would do just before the beginning of the third period. I’ll be leaving in the morning with him to Las Vegas in the morning!
Seriously though, it was real treat meeting him and his lovely wife during the games as well as the couple they were with.
Atlanta outshot the Blues 40-32 and, for the very first time this season, they won a game when they outshot their opponents. The Thrashers failed on all six power play chances afforded them and killed three of the four Blues’ man advatages.
Coach John Anderson was pleased with his players tonight, saying “We weren’t floundering in our zone as much because we played the body a lot more and helped out when the time was right…forwards were collapsing in front the net, all the little things that add up. I just thought our concerted effort was much better tonight.”
The win gives Atlanta a 7-6-1 record and 15 points after 14 games played. It also makes the Thrashers undefeated while the Divine Mrs. R is in attendance…1-0-0. Also, a young lady by the name of Jessica, who came as the guest of my two tax-exemptions, was able to see the home team win in her first ever hockey game attended. She also came away from the game in possession of a game puck that was flipped over the glass during the third period.
She got the luck bounce of the puck Sunday…so to did the Thrashers.
They’ll both take it.
And Then There Were Four
Since the posting of the blog in which we predicted who might be the last Thrasher off of Schnide Island last week, two have found their way off by scoring their first goal of the season. Toby Enstrom netted his first Thursday against Columbus…Christoph Schubert did the same Saturday on Long Island.
This means that all defenders now have at least one goal and four forwards are left sitting on the Isle of Schnide…Marty Reasoner, Nik Antropov, Jim Slater and Slava Kozlov.
And no…scoring in the shootout does not get him off the Island.
For the record, my vote was for Jim Slater… who got 51% of the votes cast in the poll.