Kozlov gets off Schnide Island as Thrashers drill Oilers

Sunday afternoon, Slava Kozlov packed his bags, bade farewell to Jim Slater, Marty Reasoner and Nik Antropov…then exited Schnide Island. Slava took a pass from Todd White and beat Nikolai Khabibulin at the 11:59 mark of the third period to score what turned out to be the game-winner as the Thrashers bested the visiting Edmonton Oilers 3-2…extending their win streak to a season-high four straight.

Slava Kozlov is welcomed off the island by Ilya Kovalchuk and Maxim Afinogenov (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Slava Kozlov is welcomed off the island by Ilya Kovalchuk and Maxim Afinogenov (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Later, Reasoner almost left Slates and Antropov alone to battle it out for “Last Off Schnide Island” honors, but his blast rang off the post with just under two minutes remaining in the game.

Kozlov finished the day with that goal as well as a secondary assist on Zach Bogosian’s tally that opened the scoring early in the first period. He now has seven helpers on the season and his +1 for the game brings him to a -3 for the season.

Kaptain Kovy got the primary assist on Zach’s power play blast…giving him 8 overall points in the three games after returning from his foot injury. He now has 12 goals and 18 overall points in the 11 games he’s played in.

Mad-Max Afinogenov continued his brilliance of late with yet another goal. This time he took a Rich Peverley breakaway pass from the Thrashers’ blueline and slipped a backhander past Khabibulin to tie the score at 2-2 with just 22 second remaining in the second. At the time, Edmonton was attempting to kill off an Ethan Moreau hooking minor. Afinogenov has four goals in the three games since fellow countryman and linemate Ilya Kovalchuk returned last Thursday.

For the season Max has 7 goals and 10 assists…he’s also a +1. Not bad for a “defensive liability”.

Maxim Afinogenov slips a backhand past Nikolai Khabibulin. For Max it was his fourth goal in three games (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Maxim Afinogenov slips a backhand past Nikolai Khabibulin. For Max it was his fourth goal in three games (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Up to that point, the Oilers netminder had been unbeatable in the second as he’d turned away the first 12 Atlanta shots in that middle frame…many from close in. But Max’s nifty finish on the 13th got the better of him.

The Pevs Dispenser chipped in a pair of assists on the afternoon, bringing his season total to 15. His eight goals on top of that give him a team-high 23 overall points.

Johan Hedberg got the nod for today’s start and his 34 saves on 36 shots improved his season record to 4-1-0 with a .923 SV% and 2.63 GAA.

The Thrashers penalty killing unit continued their fine work on the season, killing off all five power play chances the Oilers were afforded. None more important than the holding the stick call Bogosian took with just 4:50 remaining in the game. Edmonton ended the game with a massive flurry around Hedberg, but the Thrashers’ trusty backup was up for the task and sent the Oilers out of town with the loss.

Atlanta converted on 2 of their three power play opportunities.

The Thrashers’ PK is currently the 5th best in the NHL…84.5% effective. The power play is successful 26.5% of the time, which tops in the league.

Moose turns away Edmonton's Dustin Penner. The 3-2 win improved Moose's record to 4-1-0 on the year (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Moose turns away Edmonton's Dustin Penner. The 3-2 win improved Moose's record to 4-1-0 on the year (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

With the win, Atlanta leapfrogged over idle Tampa Bay to take over second place in the Southeast division. Their 10-6-1 record gives the one more point than the Lightning’s 20. Both teams have played 17 games. Washington has 28 overall points to lead the Southeast, but they’ve played 3 more games.

The Thrashers also moved past the Boston Bruins who, like the Bolts, have 20 points…Boston has played two more than the Thrashers, however. Atlanta will host Boston in their next game this coming Thursday night.

The 21 points now tie Atlanta with Philadelphia and the Islanders for 6th, 7th and 8th best in the conference. The Flyers have only played 16 games while New York has 20 games under their belts.

And finally…with three consecutive wins at home, Atlanta has pulled it’s record playing in Thrasherville to even at 4-4-0.

87 comments Add your comment

JLH

November 15th, 2009
5:34 pm

Left over comment from last Blog, 10 minutes ago.

Is is? Calm down Brendan! I know we’re kind of approaching foreign territory (major optimism/Kovy signing/a coach the players love/a good locker room/goalie competition), but let’s keep it in perspective…… on the other hand…..What the hell …… WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Max, Pevs, Bogosian, Kane ….. a team with enough depth to put Reasoner on the 4th line. 17 games in and we’ve only been embarassed once. I hope this team is as confident as it should be. They will/should only play stronger as their confidence grows.

Nate

November 15th, 2009
5:36 pm

Nate

November 15th, 2009
5:40 pm

Eh, I should’ve known I’d be too late after reading the article. I’ll settle for the silver.

Solid game today. Up until the last flurry by the Oilers shots were even at 30 and Thrash had out shot them 12-6 in the third.

This has been mentioned before, but the reason the team has been more successful this year is the special teams. As Rawhide points out, 5th in the league on the PK now. Are you kidding me??? That’s outstanding to say the least. And don’t forget the best PP in the league as well. That’ll win you some hockey games folks. Hard to believe, but I hope they keep it up!

Brendan

November 15th, 2009
5:44 pm

We’re in 7th place in the Conference. Go ahead, look. http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?type=con#&navid=nav-stn-conf

Woo-hoo!!

Great day for Kozlov, Peverley, our PP Unit, our PK unit! I think we went 5-5 on the PK. White, Enstrom, and Kozlov were all +1. Bogosian continues to rock. Maybe the highlight of the afternoon was Max Afinogenov’s PPG right before the end of the 2nd stanza.

Hainsey logged the most minutes, at 24:42, but was a -2 on the afternoon. Still, those minutes reflect confidence by Coach John Anderson, coming off a minor injury.

KovyRules

November 15th, 2009
6:20 pm

Kozy turned up the knob in the third period of the Blues game and has been alive ever since. Not sure why he waited 15 games to start his season, but he’s here now. Welcome off the Schnide! Reasoners is next, then Kovy will bounce one of Antro’s knee into the net to leave Slats alone.

JLH

November 15th, 2009
6:39 pm

Brendan – I’ve really noticed a consistent high energy from Hainsey since he’s been paired with Zach. It feels like we are starting to get the player we thought we signed 1 1/2 years ago. I think he deserved better than a -2 today.

LAC

November 15th, 2009
6:48 pm

It was pointed out two former Thrahser captains were in town, so was
a former Atlanta Flames captain, Pat Quinn, who had MANY NICE things to say about his time in town in the 70’s !

Nailbiter for sure, but a WIN and we needed that since we do not play for three days…. Congrats to Slava, I spelled it RIGHT this time,
nice goal and Max does it again, looking like solid pickup at this point !!!!!

Zoomo

November 15th, 2009
7:12 pm

>>I think he deserved better than a -2 today.

Yeah, I thought Hainsey had a nice game. He worked hard. THe team deserved better in the second. They really outplayed the Oilers in that period, but gave up the 2 goals. Thankfully Max’s tally salvaged the period and go the momentum back.

Hopefully that goal gets Kozzie’s head on straight. During that wild scrum during the 2nd perios when we were peppering the Oilers, Kozlov had the puck for what seemed like an eternity, then finially had a great look and ended up turning his back to the net,never shooting, and loosing the puck. Cleary he was overthinking it.

Moose with another solid job.

A nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Darkhorse

November 15th, 2009
7:21 pm

After playing three games in four nights, all W’s, this squad deserves some acolades from its fans and the media. Looked like a sparse crowd on tv. I guess a beautiful day outside and NFL put the hurt’n on the attendance. I suspected we might see a flatfooted letdown of sorts with tired legs and a fresh opponent coming in. It seemed though the Oilers were a little rusty from the long layover and we did just enough to keep the game close and in control until the third. Another highlight reel goal by Max. It’s becoming expected lately. Did anyone notice the hit on Kane against the boards? Turned out to amount to nothing in terms of injury, but that’s two games in a row he turned his back to the opponent on the glass and had his face hit in an akward position. He needs to be a little more aware before he gets waffle housed….scattered, smothered, and covered.

Very happy to see Kozlov earn a solid 1st goal, and game winner to boot! What’s the latest on Kubina’s status? Just a few days of rest needed I hope…

Rawhide

November 15th, 2009
7:29 pm

DarkhorseAccording to C-Viv, Kubina was scratched due to “lower body soreness”. He left Friday night’s game after being hit by a shot. Anderson calls him “day to day”.

Glad we don’t play again until Thursday.

Zoomo

November 15th, 2009
7:32 pm

Kubina did skate in warm ups.

Tom

November 15th, 2009
7:41 pm

Great news on the Thrashers victory. Was at our local rink watching my son’s team win the Bantam level championship so missing the game was not a problem, but we were all following the game on my phone.

Congratulations to Slava getting off the island. And Bogo being the top scoring defenseman in the league.

I hope Waddell is reminding Kovy’s agent that we are doing exactly what he asked.

World Be Free

November 15th, 2009
7:49 pm

Does this mean I have to say something nice about Max?

First Slater on Friday, now Max?
NO turnovers for Max today. I guess he must be reading this blog.

Popovic and Salmela do not get enough credit for their play. These guys show up the rink every night and play within their respective games.

Hockey Biltong

November 15th, 2009
7:51 pm

Enjoyed the game from Twains in Decatur…Nice folks there.. Nice to see the team play like …. a team.
I hope the four days off is enough rest…

Squeaky Fromage, The Hockey Debutante

November 15th, 2009
7:53 pm

We were without tickets today, but decided to spint over to Twains during the 1st intermission to meet up with some other potential Thrasher fans, as we’d read that this was an intown spot to meet up with other fans. No hockey fans there – everyone was glued to the Falcon’s game. So any intowners out there? Where’s a spot (preferably with a good beer list and decent pub food) for us ITP’ers to go when ticketless? This would have been a good game to see with a crowd…
At least Direct TV (The 5th Axis of Evil) actually carried the game this time…

rightshot

November 15th, 2009
8:01 pm

Really enjoyed the game. I think Slater had a good game. He played like he knows he better take advantage of any ice time he gets. I still think Kovy was a little slow out there today again. Maybe his foot is sore. Hopefully, with the rest, he will be back to 100%

Looking forward to Thurs and I will be watching center ice and rooting against all the other SE teams.
Go Thrashers!!!!!

LAC

November 15th, 2009
8:07 pm

Checking tsn site and those JEALIOUS canada fans are calling for us to move again, Hey “canada” so called “hockey fans”, GET OVER IT, any country or network that would allow a drunken slob don cherry to be on tv, well you people have serious issues to deal with… so deal with them !

Shame the team had, what 3,500-4,000 in attendence, looked BAD !

World Be Free

November 15th, 2009
8:23 pm

LAC-it was a very disappointing showing from the fans today. Tough to compete with football. Best to leave the day games out until after football season.

As for the TSN idiots-blah, blah, blah, blah

LAC

November 15th, 2009
8:25 pm

Sorry to be right back, but these “On The Fly” guys are having a complete fit about how good the Thrashers are, a “complete” team said Craig Button and Larry Murphy, never a fan of us, has NICE comments about the “complete team effort” “Great team spped” WOW !!!!

Where is dave reid ? Have not seen him for awhile, wonder what nice things he would say and they had LOTS of Thrasher coverage again like friday night… Sorry all the empty seats show up though !

NYC

November 15th, 2009
8:30 pm

Squeaky Fromage – I think us ITP’ers should check out Diesel in Va. Highlands. I’ve driven by there before and seen a Thrashers banner hanging up as to invite everyone to watch the games there. They have a great patio with a huge flatscreen. I’m going to make some inquiries there and see what’s up, if there into showing the road games and what not.
Glad there wasn’t a letdown today! The Risk-Reward factor with Max is certainly favoring the Reward these days!

Smoooooooooooooooooooo, oooooooooooo, thinator!

November 15th, 2009
8:31 pm

Yeah, I been drinkin’….so what? Check out my blog, maties! Arrrrgggh!

http://thrashingbirds.blogspot.com/

Thanks Bill you snazzy beast blogger!

Bob

November 15th, 2009
8:33 pm

If the club keeps up this play, which they should, the fans will start to show up after first college football ends, and then definitely once we get into late Jan.

I’ve got Peverly down as our MVP so far this year.

Midfield

November 15th, 2009
8:37 pm

Kovy was wobbly. At some point he had his skate off on the bench – it wasn’t clear if the problem was the foot or the skate. Kozzy will have to play better now. He was obviously forcing plays up to this scoring, a bad tripping penalty earlier in the game being a good example. And Hainsey needs to man-up – still way to soft for the guy his size.

Brendan

November 15th, 2009
8:45 pm

JLH, you’re right. Hainsey deserved better.

WBF, yes! You HAVE TO say something “nice” about Max. On second thought, this isn’t Russia. Ya don’t gotta do anything. :grin:

Schubert, Salmela, and Popovic were all “even” today on their plus-minus, for our blueliners, holding down the fort until Kubina returns. Toby Enstrom was a +1.

English Teacher

November 15th, 2009
8:51 pm

Kovy’s problem was with the skate. Popped a rivet on the ice and had to be fixed.

Smoooooooooooooooooooothinator!

November 15th, 2009
8:55 pm

Kovy looked a bit slow to me as well. I don’t think he was 100% today so I’m happy we got the win without his contributions and now we get three days off. Rest up el Capitano!

But then again, I’m drunk so what do I know?

B. Thenet

November 15th, 2009
8:56 pm

Full marks to the coaching staff for one of the most dramatic special teams turnarounds in our franchises history.

The PK has been without question the story of the season so far(next to HIs Holiness Peverley I)

Hopefully we start to see more walk up traffic for this team, they deserve it.

Sara

November 15th, 2009
9:09 pm

Well at least we know Smoothie’s feeling good. :)

Watched from home on the Edmonton feed. They were very complimentary of the team throughout the broadcast. They brought up the low attendance but it was the strangest thing. Instead of picking on it, like Canadians seem wont to do, the announcers said they had asked around about it and brought up that this is the bible belt, which means a lot of families are at church and spending time with extended family. First time I’ve ever heard that one before.

Fact is, it was pretty close on the heels of church, it was a gorgeous day, the Falcons were playing at the same time … lots of reasons to not go to a hockey game at 2PM. And it will take time for the news to get out that Thrashers are a different team this year. They went through that bumpy stretch at home as well.

As Bob says, once the team gets past football season that will really help weekend attendance. Winning will help even more.

Nate

November 15th, 2009
9:37 pm

Well I’ll be there next Sunday so no excuses from me. Anyone else gonna join in? It’ll be my fourth game attended this season. Not bad for a non-STH if I do say so myself.

Smoooooooothinator!

November 15th, 2009
9:52 pm

Hainsey is playing o.k. but he needs to start doing extra fore-arm curls to strengthen his wrister…and I don’t mean the ones Kari’s notorious for in Atlanta’s Buckhead bars.

Kovy was definitely ginger today, but he wasn’t a liability and his line played well for the most part. Antropov had a golden oppty to score but again looked for the extra pass back to Kovy before finally shooting…by then it was too late cuz Khabby was way too good for any kind of hesitation.

Kane is a wizard on the Penalty Kill and it is amazing how quick his stick is to pucks loose along the half-wall. Between the transformation of Thorburn, who’s MMA training was extremely beneficial in the off-season, and Kane’s natural quickness and inate sense of where the puck will go, we are quite the terror against which to play with an extra man.

Fannsi Anssi – played like a man possessed and with a chip on his shoulder today…I like the “sandpaper” edge he brings as long as he plays within himself like someone mentioned above. He has a knack for handling in traffic, but he just needs to remember to pick his spots…not that he made many poor decisions today.

Popovic was sick and has been playing phenomenal hockey for the last 3 or 4 games. His confidence is soaring and he really seems to have taken a stranglehold of the # 6 D-man spot. He’s very physical for a “small” guy but hardly ever over-commits or gets out of position just to deliver a mind-scrambling hit like our old pal XLB. He’s a deceptively good skater and knows when to move the puck out of harm’s way before the forechecker has a chance to make a play. UNDERATED FOR SURE!!

KovyRules

November 15th, 2009
10:12 pm

Right, Sara, and showing some games on TV locally would help big time! SportsSouth had women’s college volleyball today instead of Thrashers. No TV coverage of the LA bombardment on Friday night. Learn from the Braves – broadcast your games like crazy and it will bring some attention.

Smoooooooothinator!

November 15th, 2009
11:33 pm

Aww shucks Bill, I has a blush!!

I’ll try to make you proud Tilzy!

ben

November 16th, 2009
12:42 am

why don’they do all the games?

i think kovy’s staying

Hockey Biltong

November 16th, 2009
12:59 am

Diesel sounds like the place -NYC. However we’ll be at the game on Thursday…

Dwayne

November 16th, 2009
6:03 am

I watched the Falcons…during the 2 intermissions of my beloved THRASHERS!!!!!!! Stendec must be fuming over the Falcons loss. Get the Thrashers turned around, the Hawks are in first and now the Falcons are fading a little.

Sara

November 16th, 2009
7:43 am

Ben – you’d have to ask SportSouth why they don’t broadcast all the games. There is no question the organization is frustrated by the lack of TV coverage – Don made a sarcastic comment about the lack of TV during the THM Friday night. Fact is though, I’ve seen reports that the TV ratings for the Thrashers are rather dismal. I imagine that’s partially due to the market, partially due to a lack of on-ice success. Yesterday it was women’s volleyball but often it’s college football airing on SS instead of the Thrashers and that’s the reality in the South. It’s just like attendance – if the team is playing well, more people will be interested in both attending and watching from home. Once football season is over, same thing.

The plus is the coverage will be really strong during the back half of the season when playoff races are on. The biggest negative to me is not televising away games.

And the ultimate FAIL belongs to the NHL itself for not finding a way to coordinate better amongst all carriers – there should never ever ever be a game that is not being broadcast by someone. They need to grow a pair when it comes to Vs and also CBC in Canada – neither network should ever get the exclusivity rights that they do – pick one game that you are going to broadcast on a given night and let someone else step in to broadcast the others. That’s how we ended up with zero coverage for the Ottawa game IIRC – HNIC has exclusive rights to all games involving Canadian teams on Saturdays and whichever ones they don’t broadcast themselves are dark for everyone else. I shell out $160 for Center Ice for two primary reasons – the first being I want access to every Thrasher game and second I want to be able to follow the Wings. Being able to watch hockey whenever I’m in the mood is a plus too. But to shell out that money and still not be able to see 82 Thrashers games peeves me off.

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 16th, 2009
7:43 am

Brendan, you are correct, this isn’t Russia. But Max probably played his best game as a Thrasher. No turnovers, a good all around game and a great goal to tie the contest last in the 2nd period. Safe to say that goal was huge.

Jimmy’s playing well too, the fourth line provided the energy during periods of the game that lacked energy.

How bout Evander Kane. John Anderson has so much confidence in the kid, he puts him on the ice during the last minute of the game while Edmonton had their goalie out for a 6th attacker. That’s how you develop a young player, show confidence in him during crucial moments.

Congrats for Slava for the big goal. He played great.

Jimbo

November 16th, 2009
7:55 am

Rawhide- Love “Schnide Island”. My prediction is that Skates who has absolutely “no hands” will be the last off the island. The only way that he gets in is if an opposing player inadvertently kicks in one of his shots. Can’t believe that more fans aren’t realizing that these guys have picked up where they left off at the end of last season and are playing an exciting type of hockey- a little loose at times but fast paced, up tempo.

LAC

November 16th, 2009
8:10 am

Right Sara, I do not understand why no more games… I, for one, could give a crap about hawks and any college sports… But that’s my call,
know many others just love that womens volleyball junk, I’d rather watch reruns of The Weather Channel showing sunny skies, than junk like that !

hip czech

November 16th, 2009
8:11 am

Really feared a let down with the EDM game…just one more attribute this team is showing – being able to win those games in years past where the lack of depth would have meant a 4-1 loss.

And now hopefully this is the start of getting contributions from Kozlov. If scoring can come consistently from 3 lines, plus the D things are looking up.

Sunday attendance is affected by all those things, NFL, church, and nice weather. It probably can’t be helped, but scheduling Sunday afternoon games before late Dec/Jan is not a real bright idea.

Glovesave29

November 16th, 2009
8:16 am

I was there, and I thought the announced attendance was pretty close to accurate…we were all guessing about 12K amongst ourselves. I thought we brought the A game in the 1st and 3rd, but the Oil really dominated the second. If not for Moose and some smart plays by the D, it could have been worse. Overall, we were the much better team. Edmonton has to know that getting out of the 1st only one down was pure luck on their part.

Riceowls8891

November 16th, 2009
8:20 am

It was a great game to watch, but I have one question: I wonder how our Russian players (including the Captain) liked the Herb Brooks bit in the third period? Struck me as slightly tone deaf.

Eileen

November 16th, 2009
8:47 am

The game yesterday was really fun to watch. Although we need more fans in the seats, I am sure it won’t be long before more attend. Friday night’s crowd numbers were encouraging. I am not a big Hainsey fan, but I have to say, he really played well yesterday. Sitting up close, I saw a lot of little things he did well. Slava seemed very happy during his first star interview to have the monkey of his first regulation goal off his back.

JLH

November 16th, 2009
8:49 am

Riceowls – they’ve shown it once before and I have wondered the same thing.

Glovesave29

November 16th, 2009
8:55 am

It’s some kid up in Nashville…he’s been on YouTube for months.

Get The Puck Out

November 16th, 2009
9:05 am

Another thing that irks me is ALL the local sports on tv NEVER say a word about hockey and when they do it’s a thirty second spot to let you know that HEY- Atlanta does have a hockey team. If they would let people know that hockey is a sport in Atlanta, and a pretty good team to boot it would show the media does support the Thrashers. I’ll show my support and i hope others will too.

JLH

November 16th, 2009
9:37 am

Another great game from Max. I’ve made this comment before about Max, but as the season, and Max’s game, progress I have to ask it again. Who commits more turnovers, Max or Kovy. I love Kovy, but I say it is clearly Kovy.
EOB – I hear you about Max, but I don’t see it this year the way you describe it. And I would love to see turnover #s for Kovy. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that his turnover/mins played is one of the highest on the team. I never see anyone rant about this. Granted, Kovy handles the puck more than anyone on the team, and that’s the way we like it (uh huh, uh huh), but he is often simply too loose with the puck, and rarely seems to gets criticized for it! Perhaps my definition of a turnover is different than official stats, but any time a player gives up the puck to the other team, other than by a shot or dump in, I consider it a turnover.

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 16th, 2009
9:38 am

Local TV-I totally agree.
Also, I believe management has to address the issue with local media.
Even the local “sports” stations have a tough time walking hockey.

Smoothie

November 16th, 2009
9:39 am

I bet our Russian players are amused by the Herb Brooks spoof. How can u not enjoy that little kid’s rousing exhortation to “screw ‘em??” The Perestroika line just wants to play hockey and get to the playoffs. Our admiration is just the icing on the proverbial cake.

Stan Drulia

November 16th, 2009
9:54 am

The Midway in East Atlanta is a great place to watch the games… there may not be too many fans on a given night, but the ones that are there are knowledgable and know the game. Good times. Something like 10 flat screens in the bar and Thrashers are always on.