Pavelec, Thrashers turn Friday the 13th into a nightmare for Kings

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.

Ondrej Pavalec makes on of his 38 saves (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Ondrej Pavalec makes on of his 38 saves (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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!

Maxim Afinogenov welcomes Erik Ersberg to the game by beating him on a breakaway (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Maxim Afinogenov welcomes Erik Ersberg to the game by beating him on a breakaway (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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”!

86 comments Add your comment

fes

November 14th, 2009
12:47 am

The second frame was the best period of Thrashers hockey that I’ve ever seen. Opie stood on his head all night. Great game boys!

LAC

November 14th, 2009
12:56 am

In eighth place ahead of Tampa !!!!!

Still too many SOG on our goal, but #31 was EXCELLENT Tonight !!!

Nice to see Kane score twice and Max, what a second goal !!!!

Need another two points Sunday !!!

raindawg722

November 14th, 2009
1:03 am

That was the best Thrashers game I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame that it wasn’t on TV. It surely could have converted a few fans.

Sara

November 14th, 2009
1:12 am

That … was … AWESOME!!!!! Had such a blast tonight. Rawhide, enjoyed your company during the second period (JLH actually tried to send me back for the 3rd – something about not messing with the juju – I tried to tell him I *am* the juju).

Also a pleasure meeting both Blue Note and Russian tonight. Gentlemen, it was certainly tons of fun and I hope we can do it all again sometime very soon.

Coupled with the great news from the THM, tonight was a perfect hockey night!

Mr. Heat Miser

November 14th, 2009
1:21 am

Glad the Cold War is over and we got our Russkies. Bring on the Oilers!
Jeez that was a great game to be at!

LAC

November 14th, 2009
1:49 am

Check out On The Fly if you can, Thrashers have most coverage of any game last night, LOTS of NICE comments by both the guys on the show,
maybe we “are” turning the corner, Sunday will be critical…

Tony C.

November 14th, 2009
2:42 am

I was also flabbergasted that they didn’t have this one on TV-with all the mediocre sports choices on TV tonight, watching that explosion of O-ffence surely would’ve piqued interest from the casual fan… have a full on 5-on-5 fight wouldn’t hurt that effort either.

Shame I had to work. Glad to see the OnTheFly guys actually have an entire segment with nothing but positive comments regarding our guys.

Little was a scratch, anybody know why?

Putting On The Foil

November 14th, 2009
3:04 am

NHL Network airing replay at 4 am this morning. Just set up the DVR.

Cornbread

November 14th, 2009
3:07 am

“Little was a scratch, anybody know why?”

Groin.

Great game, even over the interweb.

Tony C.

November 14th, 2009
4:05 am

Sweet! I do get to watch the game.

LA color guys speak very nicely of our team-refreshing change.

Dwayne

November 14th, 2009
6:18 am

Touchdown!!!!! Thrashers!!!!!

Matt

November 14th, 2009
7:21 am

To rephrase my post from earlier blogs..Bogo and Kane are GODS!! 6 out of 7 goals from the forwards in the game. (Think we’ve broken that little slump?) Still don’t like the fact that we play to passively in the 3rd with a lead and get so badly out shot. But, all in all, a very impressive win. Now, Drill the Oilers!!

Daculafan

November 14th, 2009
7:48 am

Hey Buddy!…hell of a game! Hope your drive to Milledgeville wasn’t too painful after staying up. That was the best complete game of the season. There are so many positive things to point out and really not much critical to say about the team.

Thrasher fans…get out and support this team!! They are that good and they feed off your noise…come on and feed the animals folks!!

Believe in Blueland

The Real Thrash

November 14th, 2009
7:48 am

Kane: 11 points, +10, in only 14 minutes per game. Now that’s a great draft pick!

Hockey Biltong

November 14th, 2009
8:24 am

We watched the Ranger game in the company of neighbors, who in turn watched us scream and jump at every Thrash great play.
Then last night, a home game, which we did not attend[jinx], saw the Most Awesome Thrash game ever!!!!!
The LA feed was a very good neutral feed. They were screaming ’score’! Good comments dished out to Atl players.
OP the Brave endured a very hard shot andgritted thru for his shutout. WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW.

NorthStarsDave

November 14th, 2009
8:28 am

Hey ThrasherBashers….

The time Kovy was injured gave others the chance to have redefined roles…Bogo is showing he can be a scorer…Kane is showing why he was the 4th overall pick…Peverly has continued to improve….Mad Max is providing speed a scoring…Antropov is exactly the center Kovy needs…Kubina and Hainsey are playing great on the blueline….

The team is no longer relies on just Kovy for scoring and leadership….

Now that the team is complete with Kovy, the recent results are outstanding!

And the more consistent goaltending…OP as the starter with Moose pitching in…is proving to be effective…currently ranking in the top 10 in the NHL in save %….gives this team the opportunity to win every night…

This could be the beginning of something extremely good….

Bluenote

November 14th, 2009
8:52 am

Hope there’s some emotional gas left in the tank for Sunday. Up 5-0 last night, the team was skating with the same effort/intensity they’ve had when they were down 0-2….and looking like they were having fun doing it.

Biggest laugh of the night was Slater’s non-bout with Hanzus (who probably outweighs him by 50 lbs). He looked like the dog that caught the bus.

A delight shouting myself hoarse with Sara and Russian. Hope we can bring the team some more good kharma again soon!

Viking

November 14th, 2009
8:52 am

Did not see the game.

Did Kubina get injured? The stats show only 13:15 min ice time.

Dwayne

November 14th, 2009
9:07 am

What a great day, got home from work, checked mail, my Dec 21 tickets to see Thrash and Montreal where there. Then Falco….errrr…Thrashers score a touchdown on the Queens. Center Ice only had the LA feed. Not much those guys in the booth could say. WOW is what the wanted to say. I wonder what the Oilers were thinking as they watched the 2nd period onslaught?

Tom

November 14th, 2009
9:08 am

BlueNote – Watch the fight again if you can. We replayed in slow motion on Tivo and Slater threw 2 wicked uppercuts that rocked Hanzus. He could not get his head up again. I was proud of Jimmy after those punches.

Tom

November 14th, 2009
9:10 am

I would love to see the record of teams that spend an extra day in ATL. The free passes to the Cheetah probably do not help their game much. :)

Tom

November 14th, 2009
9:12 am

OOPS. It was Slater and Richardson that went. http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/88512

five_hole

November 14th, 2009
9:25 am

OK, everyone else is being positive; I suppose it’s up to me to Stendecize the blog.

What rocket scientist is in charge of scheduling the games? Most of the away games are not televised and perhaps half of the home games are. Not to mention 7PM starts and all of these Sunday games? Does the mensa candidate in charge of scheduling think he’s going to outdraw the NFL?

I’m just pissed ’cause I wish I coulda seen the game. Sounds like we really opened a can on the Kings.

Sorry Stendic for making you an adjective.

Hey Putting On The Foil So, how’s the TV and do you like the McCallums? Did I make you a convert?

RS

November 14th, 2009
9:54 am

I think the last 5 minutes of that game were very telling. They were up 7-0 and they were killing themselves to get Pavelec that shut-out. Dropping to block shots and still working like crazy. And the power play at the end when two guys on the ice could have gone for hat tricks but kept passing up on shots to try and get Kozlov off the schneid.

Dwayne

November 14th, 2009
10:22 am

I was impressed with the Thrashers doing everything they could for Opie and Koslov. Hockey players are just a cut above athletes in other team sports. It’s what drew me to the sport. Score a goal, usually quick celebrations, hug your team mates, fist bump the bench guys and go back t work. For the most part, Hockey player are humble, hard working people who do not try to bring attention to themselves. Few exceptions, avery to name one. Its a great sport, and we finally have a team to be excited about.

KovyRules

November 14th, 2009
10:28 am

RS is really on to something – that this is a TEAM! They were killing themselves to defend Opie’s shutout and to break Kozy’s jinx. Then, to top it off, Max and Kovy don’t skate out for their third and second star selections, after impressive four point nights, so Opie could have all the attention. Very impressive and self-sacrificial, and a glimpse at how these guys will bleed for each other. And the Greek Gods didn’t back down when LA tried the age old “start a fight to stop the other team’s momentum”.

Now those who stress over shot on goal statistics remember this game and chill out? Does anyone believe LA outplayed us 2:1 like they outshot us? No way! Shots on goal CAN be a meaningful statistic, and it can be meaningless. Tonight it was meaningless (not to diminish Opie’s performance – I was the ultimate Opie skeptic even after the regular season started, but no more!).

Last thought – why don’t we play 10 Friday night games? The crowd is noticably more vocal and revved up. I know I was!

Riceowls

November 14th, 2009
10:59 am

8th with games in hand against 4, 6 and 7.

Goals for: 2nd
Power play 2nd
Penalty Kill 8th

The future’s so bright, we oughta weart shades.

Moose

November 14th, 2009
11:00 am

For those of you that get the NHL Network you can watch that beautiful beatdown again today at 2 pm.

World Be Free

November 14th, 2009
11:00 am

Yes I am saying this-

Jim Slater probably played his best game as a Thrasher last night. Great fight (for Jimmy), he was all over the ice, using his speed to create havoc in the Kings’ zone. Now if he could only score!

It’s funny what time in the press box does to some players. Good for Jimmy that he used the time to his advantage.

Funny how nobody is calling for Don’s head anymore.

Toby

November 14th, 2009
11:03 am

Sara…Where are you hearing this news from Wad?

Nikita

November 14th, 2009
11:12 am

I watched the game on Centre Ice last night, being as I am in enemy territory. What a 2nd and 3rd period!

LAC

November 14th, 2009
11:32 am

WBF, I want waddell GONE even if we were to win The Stanley Cup !

He is AWFUL !!!!!

Toby

November 14th, 2009
11:41 am

I don’t believe its a coincidence we have the best depth in our history 6 months after hiring Dudley.

Dwayne

November 14th, 2009
11:54 am

Agree with Toby.

KovyRules

November 14th, 2009
12:28 pm

Dudley is huge. I think John Anderson has an eye for talent, too. Let DW be the deal-maker and let those two focus on the roster and our depth will just keep piling up.

KovyRules

November 14th, 2009
12:31 pm

I want to hear from allstar blogger Chrisoph Schubert today! Started a world-class brew-ha-ha there in the second – gute arbeit!!

Nate

November 14th, 2009
12:44 pm

Dude! Am I glad I decided to go to the game last night! That was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

And speaking of stats…who would’ve thought that the Kaner would be leading the team in plus/minus at +10 16 games into the season. Nice job rook.

Hotrod

November 14th, 2009
12:55 pm

If we could only bottle that performance.

The youth is stepping up.
Kane , are you kidding me? Here I thought you needed another year.
You are the new man-child (formally held by Bogo).

This could be the year if both our goalies stay healthy.

Lets go boys, one shift at a time.

HookyBob

November 14th, 2009
1:04 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s game. Will wear the exact same clothes Sunday and follow same pre-game activities as close as I can.

LA looked like a good team to me,…excluding their goalies. Must admit they were hung out to dry a few times though.

They even tried to fighting to change the momentum,…and got their butts kicked. Fighting only helps if you win,…just ask Bolts.

That is the best rope-a-dope I have seen since the “rumble in the jungle.” I worry that it wasn’t intentional though.

Great game guys. Let’s do it again Sunday.

Thrashfan01

November 14th, 2009
1:18 pm

We may be seeing a group going from a roster to a team. This could have sat back and watched Kovy since his reurn but has simply incorporated and capitalized on Kovy being on the ice. With Kovy playing there is more open space for others and this group is starting to take advantage.

Kane is +10, Peverley is well above a point a game, Bogosian leads defensemen in goals scored, Antropov is doing his Adam Oates imitation and Max is starting to look like a answer instead of a question. Army is playing greasy, Kubina looks like DW stole from Burke and Pavs has been exceptional.

All this and does anyone really think we have seen the best of Slava and White yet?

Smoothie

November 14th, 2009
1:23 pm

Hooky Bob – funny u should say that as I was gonna upload a picture of Cassius Clay on my blog to illustrate our strategy from last nite. Add in Thorby’s and Slater’s execution of the sweet science and u have the perfect rope-a-dope. I think it was fully intentional knowing we would take a while to get our legs going and u had to figure LA would weaken as the game went on!

Sara

November 14th, 2009
1:32 pm

Toby – there was a Town Hall Meeting last night before the game with Waddell. Pretty good one too. Here’s the jist of what I remember (Stroz was a few rows in front of me so he can chime in perhaps if I’ve missed something or with his opinions).

- Don obviously started with the elephant in the room – Kovy’s contract. It started out the usual blah blah blah, we’ve been talking with his representation, talks are going well, seem to have picked up. Then he dropped the following bombs … according to Don, Kovy used his time off with the injury to really analyze the team and the direction in which he thinks it is headed. Waddell then said that Kovy called his agent and told him to start discussing hard numbers. Waddell took one question then in relation to Kovy, where a gentleman asked if Don knew what kind of contract length Kovy was looking for. The answer was “long-term.”

The implications of those last comments are extraordinary – in that Waddell strongly implied/all but said that Kovy has essentially made his decision and he’s staying.

- Waddell then talked about the other injured players, beginning with Kari (and I’ll follow this post up with something a friend told me on him in a minute). He recapped the surgery situation and said Kari is feeling much better. Boris’s situation was also recapped and Don said he is now skating.

Audience Q&A -

- someone asked about trading a goalie. Don said he couldn’t get so much as a Diet Coke for an injured goalie right now. Kari is going to have to play when he comes back for him to regain any trade value. He also mentioned again that they nearly traded a goalie at the draft and he wasn’t going to name names but he was really glad now they didn’t because we would really be in a spot now (which means the goalie had to have been Pavelec).

- Lots of discussion about marketing and attendance. On attendance first – paid attendance is up slightly (Don said about as much as the front row of the THM) which is the key stat for them since it represents cash flow. Obviously, actual attendance is much lower. One thing I found interesting – the team uses the ticket scanners at the door to track actual attendance and he said if a STH doesn’t show up for 3 games in a row, they call them and find out why.

As for marketing – one woman talked about promoting individual players more since she is tired of only hearing “Matt Ryan this” and “Matt Ryan that” around the water cooler at work. Don mentioned the charity work and other events they do. One young man suggested offering rock-bottom tickets for particularly weekday games. He said he knew that was a sore subject for STH but that empty seats were an even bigger sore subject. Don asked for a show of hands of people who would be ok with the team occassionally doing really low-ball offers with the caveat that STH would have first dibs on those seats. Most all the hands went up.

- Someone asked about Thrasher participation for Team USA – Hainsey will likely make the team, Bogosian is a long-shot due to his age.

That’s all I’m remembering right off that seems pertinent. Oh wait – actually there was a real funny question right off. Someone wanted to know at what point Don was going to start feeling guilty for Peverley’s contract. Don laughed and said it was kinda interesting. Peverley’s agent had apparently been pushing in the pre-season to do an extension and Don was his usual “don’t like to do this during the season” (unless of course your name is Hossa or Kovy). The agent persisted (good for him) and so Don said, send me something over and we’ll take a look. Well, we all now what got sent over. Don said he saw the agent’s proposal and was like “yeah I think we can work with this.”

I don’t like that Don wasn’t willing to get into it when both Peverley and his agent so obviously did want to talk. I can semi-sorta see his reasoning – more evaluation time on the team’s part and he might have thought also that they would come with a higher offer and there might be some sticky negotiations and he wanted to avoid that when Rich needs to be focused on the ice. It worked out but it could have gone not so well had Waddell put him off as he first started to.

I’ll wrap this up so it doesn’t get lost in blog purgatory then follow up with a new post re: Kari.

Sara

November 14th, 2009
1:47 pm

A good friend of mine is Finnish and told me last night about an interview with Kari he read from a media source back in Finland. (PS since this friend has posted here in the past I invite him to chime in if he feels so inclined.)

Essentially, Kari said he woke up from the surgery feeling like a new man and better than he ever has. Apparently this issue with the bone shards pressing against his back nerves has been around since Kari was very young. He feels his range of movement is much improved (which as my friend pointed out is insane given the acrobatics we’ve seen out of Kari in the past). Kari also said he was well aware of what was being said about him and it only fuels his fire to compete when he gets back on the ice.

Here’s my take – I think Kari is one of the most naturally talented goaltenders in the NHL, no question. I *do* question his maturity, particularly based on some rumors I’ve heard about his off-ice behaviours. He obviously has trouble staying healthy. However, if by some chance we have finally seen the last of Kari’s underlying health issues, he’s going to be a major asset for us this year and in the future. I would love nothing more than to see Kari and Ondrej battle it out for #1 position in the hopes that the competition would push them both to new heights in their on-ice performance. As much as I love Moose and value everything he brings to this organization, if we could move forward with both Pavs and Lehts as a goaltending tandem, we could become a truly dominating team in this League. Right now, we can easily afford to keep both goalies. Even playing lights-out when he comes back, Kari likely is not going to have the leverage to get a mega-bucks deal and Ondrej is still too young for that (and off-hand I can’t remember how much longer he has on his rookie contract – maybe another season?).

I would be very hesitant if I were Waddell to move either one of those guys anytime in the near future unless the return is something spectacular.

Alan R.

November 14th, 2009
2:16 pm

If that info about Kari is true, Sara, then I kind of expect both Kari and Pavelec to be our two goalies going forward. We won’t have a “backup” per say, but a tandem of 1a and 1b.

As far as the Kovalchuk thing is concerned, I believe most of us knew he was evaluating the team from the press box. It’s great to hear though that he called his agent and told him to start talking hard numbers, “long term.” With that in mind, I hope a deal is made in the next couple weeks.

Viking

November 14th, 2009
3:06 pm

Watching the replay of last nights game on the NHL Channel. I have still not figured out why Kubina only had 13 min ice time.

Anybody?

Viking

November 14th, 2009
3:21 pm

Looking at the official ice time stat sheet, I see Kubina’s last shift ended 18:18 in the 2nd period. I managed to take the dog out in the backyard then.

What happened to Pavel? News about this has drowned in all the good stuff that occurred.

Alan R.

November 14th, 2009
3:21 pm

There is no news about Kubina. You’ll have to email or post on Chris’ blog and maybe he can find something out, if something did indeed occur.

LAC

November 14th, 2009
4:08 pm

I bet this comment by #17 will NOT endear him to folks in Buffalo…
Funny though, it’s correct !

“Yeah, I think so,” he said. “Every day he’s smiling. That’s the most important thing because in Buffalo you can’t smile. If you smile, you sit on the bench.”

KovyRules

November 14th, 2009
4:31 pm

Gotta say a huge THANKS to Sara for her great info and scoops! Looks like this is the last year of Opie’s contract, so we’ll have two RFA goalies and one UFA at the end of this year. But with Opie’s brilliant play, everything looks so much better in that position.

On the THM, I give DW a lot of credit for his canor and ASG a lot of credt for making these guys available. That kind of thing doesn’t hao\ppen in every NHL city.

KovyRules

November 14th, 2009
4:32 pm

my keyboard sux!