Friday the 13th in Thrasherville. But tonight, in this horror movie, the killer behind the goalie mask wasn’t named Jason… it was Opie. And his victim on this evening was the Los Angeles Kings.
Stopping all 38 shots L.A. took on him, Opie dropped his first goose egg ever as an NHL starter as the Thrashers whacked the Kings 7-0 in front of a raucous gathering in Philips Arena. The hockey team from Los Angeles may have been the ones with crowns on their jerseys, but on this night it was Ondrej Pavelec who truly was king.
In front of Pavs, Atlanta’s skaters where having their way with the visitors as what was a 0-0 game halfway through the second period quickly turned into a laugher. Evander Kane finally broke the scoreless deadlock at the 10:22 mark of that middle frame when his wrap-around got through Kings’ starting goalie Jonathan Quick.
Ya know…that Evander kid…I think he’s gonna do OK in this league, don’t cha think?
But shorty after Kane’s goal is when the storming of the Kings’ castle really got underway.
Two minutes after that, Maxim Afinogenov fed Ilya Kovalchuk who was in like a flash towards Quick…and it was 2-0. Max and Kovy have really seemed to be on the same page these past two games and if Max can continue to find the net like tonight…ooooh, that pair is going to be downright scary!
A buck forty-eight later, Zach Bogosian’s shot from the right made it 3-0…and then Quick made a …ahem…quick exit to the bench.
Erik Ersberg was in the Kings net for all of 70 second when he was rudely greeted by Afinogenov screaming through on a feed by Kovy, who was just returning the favor, and before you could say “Long live the King”…the Kings were dead.
Four goals in 5 minutes and 4 seconds!
Atlanta wasn’t done crowning the Kings though…in the third period Kovalchuk’s power play laser blast made it 5-0…Mad Max’s fly-through-the-air goal made it 6-0 and, while killing off a penalty, Kane took a pass from the Pevs Dispenser to kick the extra point for the 7-0 margin.
Let’s see…even strength goals, a power play goal, a shorty and a few good on-ice brawls. This game had everything!
Kovy and Max led the offensive charge, both with 2 goals and 2 assists on 3 SOG. Both also finished the night a +3. Evander Kane had a pair of goals and an assists and finished a +3 with 3 shots… Zach Bogosian had a goal on three shots and was a +4…Marty Reasoner had a pair of assists and was a +2… Rich Peverley, Christoph Schubert, Nik Antropov and Toby Enstrom each had an assist as well.
As a whole, the Thrashers only took 21 shots on the Kings goal…which means that they were scoring once every three shots.
I’ll take that percentage any day, my friends.
But tonight was Opie’s night. He was well positioned and his rebound control was fantastic. He was focused for the entire game and kept L.A. at bay long enough for the Thrashers’ offense to kick into gear.
He didn’t even let a puck to the knee while making one of his 38 saves stop him from his first white-wash…though we all held our collective breaths for a few minutes there while he was down on the ice.
Nope, even though the pain he told the Kings, “You’ll get NOTHING and like it”!