Bruins survive Russian Front assault – Beat Thrashers in shootout

As they have so many times already this season, the Thrashers found themselves in a two-goal hole at home before mounting a comeback charge. This was the case in a pair of losses to Washington as well as in their home defeats to San Jose and Columbus. A couple of Sunday’s ago they were able to finally climb all the way out to beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in a shootout after netting a pair of third period goals.

Thursday night the same script was followed as Boston took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to a pair of close-in redirection goals that got by Ondrej Pavelec. Then and only then, just as the script is written, the Thrashers began their attempt to hunt down the Bruins.

Just before the halfway point in the second period, the Thrashers cut the deficit in half. At first, it looked like Nik Antropov had earned his seventeenth assist of the year…a secondary helper on Toby Enstrom’s blast from the left point. However, upon further review, it was determined that the puck had…ahem…nicked Antropov’s stick on the way into the net.

Hence, Nik has found his way off of Schnide Island…much the same way Bryan Little scored earlier in the month via a deflection off an Enstrom shot…leaving Marty Reasoner and Jim Slater to duke it out for “Last Off the Island” honors.

Antropov now has a goal and 16 assists and his +9 rating is tied with Pavel Kubina for the highest on the team.

Five minutes later, the captain tied the score while on the power pl…er, um, excuse me…the Coca-Cola Power Play. For Kovy, it was goal number 13 on the season…6th while on the man advantage. Kovalchuk also assisted on the other two Atlanta goals and was a +1. He now has accounted for 21 overall points and is a +4.

Unfortunately, Michael Ryder returned the favor a couple minutes later with a power play goal of his own and the Thrashers found themselves down again heading into the break. It was Ryder’s second goal of the game.

Another strike from the Russian Front as Maxim Afenogenov scores to send game to overtime (AP Photo/John Amis)

Another strike from the Russian Front as Maxim Afenogenov scores to send game to overtime (AP Photo/John Amis)

The third period was all action…29 shots on goal in total…but no goals. At least not before the third member of Atlanta’s Russian Front, Maxim Afinogenov, snapped home a winner from the right circle with but 41.4 seconds left in the third. It was Max’s 8th of the season and fifth in the last four games. He finished the game with two points and a +2 with 4 shots on goal….for the season Afinogenov now has 8 goals 11 assists and is a +3.

The home team outshot Boston 3-1 in the five-minute overtime, but failed to close the deal…Patrice Bergeron then scored the only goal in the shootout and the Bruins skated away with the extra point. Rich Peverley, Slava Kozlov and Kovalchuk each were unable to convert on their shootout chances.

Pavelec stopped 39 of the 42 shots he face on the night…his record moving to 6-5-2 with a 2.89 GAA and .918 SV%.

Beating Bruins Becoming Bedeviling

The last time Atlanta was able to take 2 points from Boston was back on January 29, 2007…a 5-0 thumping at Philips Arena. Hmmm…if memory serves, Alexei Zhitnik…ahem…played a big part in that win by scoring a goal and assisting on another.

Since that time, however, the Thrashers have gone 0-5-2 in the previous seven matches…including a season sweep last year.

Athletic Cup Night in Thrasherville

Next up for the Thrashers is Sidney Crosby and the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins who will pay a visit Saturday night. Somewhere in Chicago, Boris Valabik cringed, doubled over and covered his…ah…his…ummm…covered himself at the mention of the Pens captain’s name.

Still no word on whether or not the Thrashers are going to take my suggestion of making a Penguins game “Athletic Cup Night” at Philips Arena.

Thanksgiving Eve Gathering At TJs

If you’re not planning on traveling this Thanksgiving holiday, I hope you’ll join me and a gathering of other Thrasher-maniacs over at TJs to watch the Thrashers play in Detroit. It’ll be Wednesday night…Thanksgiving eve. As always, it should be a great time.

Good people…good food…good service and, hopefully, a good Thrashers win in Motown.

Oh, and the game is scheduled to be aired on SportsSouth, so those turkeys at Dish Network won’t screw us this time.

A Bird In Hand Is Worth 250 Grand

What’s that old saying about a bird in hand equaling two in the bush? Well, here is a situation where a bird from the hand of an NFL owner is worth $250,000.

110 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

November 19th, 2009
11:15 pm

FIRST, or GOLD

Wayne stuck in AL

November 19th, 2009
11:33 pm

An ANNOUNCED crowd of 12,112…appaling.

Darren

November 19th, 2009
11:36 pm

Didn’t Peverley (not Enstrom) shoot the puck off Little for his first goal?

Darren

November 19th, 2009
11:37 pm

Hmm. After reading it again, I think I got it now.

Good to see they wrote a slightly different ending this time (tied the game late, earned a point) to what looked like the same old story (mad scramble to tie it at end falls short)

Rawhide

November 19th, 2009
11:45 pm

Darren – Yes…Little’s first goal came by way of a deflection off the skate when Peverley put the puck in toward the goal during the 5-4 win in Montreal. But Antropov’s goal tonight resembled Little’s second goal…it too came by way of a deflection of an Enstrom shot from the left point.

Sorry if my wording was a bit confusing…

Darren

November 19th, 2009
11:55 pm

No worries. I’m still encouraged by the fact they consistently show they can find a way to come back, even when they make mistakes to get behind. You can correct those mistakes as a season goes on, but you can’t always develop or maintain that will to win. The will they’re showing with the skill that is evident furthers my believe Atlanta will not only compete for a playoff spot, but be successful once they’re there.

Brendan

November 20th, 2009
12:13 am

I thought it was a nice deflection by Antropov, as a skilled play. Now, Nik still hasn’t actually SHOT THE PUCK into the net yet. Ron MacLean, of Hockey Night in Canada, used to tease Ryan Smythe, when Smythe was a member of the Oilers, that all his goals were merely tip-ins, and wondered when Ryan would actually get a goal by shooting the puck. Oh, the ever clever Ron MacLean. Don’t ya just love him?

Segue to another Canadian commentator, Darren Dreger. In an “On The Fly” update, Dreger talked about various events around the league, like the troubling start in St. Louis, by the Blues, the coming Olympics, and naming rosters on December 31, barring injuries, and Ilya Kovalchuk contract negotiations. While I fully expected a slam, Dreger said negotiations were ongoing and that six-years and “umteen million” were being discusssd. Dreger also tossed out there that Kovalchuk held all the cards. And that if Atlanta couldn’t resign him, that they’d actually have to consider packaging Kovy for what they could get in a trade. Then Dreger slammed us. “And if they don’t get him re-signed in Atlanta, it might be one of those, “click, turn out the lights” situations in Atlanta. I have to laugh when I hear things like that. Even if Kovalchuk isn’t re-signed, will that automatically mean that anyone who liked hockey will suddenly STOP liking it? Does it mean that faithful Thrasher fans will turn their backs on the team, forsaking the fact that the squad still has Little, Kane, Bogosian, Pavelec, Enstrom, Hainsey, White, Reasoner … and a pipeline of potential talent like Holzapfel, O’Dell, Machacek, Esposito, Kulda, Lewis, Postma, and Leveille? And might keep Lehtonen, too. And what would $11 million do in free agent spending? Which, let’s face it, the Spirit would have to do. Those STH’s who do bolt, stating “Enough’s enough. I endured years of mismanagement, and this is now the ‘Coup de Grace,’” will need to be brought back into the fold by a serious splash out on the free agent market, or via trade, to soften the blow of a Kovalchuk departure. Someone will have to explain what 1% of 5 million people is to Darren Dreger. That’s more than enough to sell out Philips Arena, game after game, with or without Kovalchuk.

NorthStarsDave

November 20th, 2009
6:32 am

The problems last night were with the defense….many, many breakdowns….OP kept the Thrashers in the game….

OP does need shoot-out work….

Overall…the Trashers got a point…and almost two…with out any real defense….

Sara

November 20th, 2009
6:37 am

These two-goal holes at home are frustrating. The guys were flat at the start and I think Boston really out-played the team physically. It’s great that the team can get themselves back into games, but they need to quit making these comebacks necessary.

On a related note, I’m really encouraged by the reactions around the NHL to the team even when we lose. I remember one loss to Washington – the first one I think. We lose the game 5-3 to Ovechkin and Co. yet the NHL on the Fly guys spend almost the entire recap raving about the Thrashers. Last night we lose in the SO to Boston, yet on Puck Daddy’s blog, the top line all ended up in the honorable mentions and no one from the team landed in the dishonorables. It’s nice to not get dissed all the time anymore.

And in other NHL news – I guess it’s official – Toronto stinks the most. What a crazy game.

Zoomo

November 20th, 2009
7:37 am

That first period was downright ugly. Sluggish tempo played to the Bruins strength. After that, the team played a decent 2nd and 3rd. That “stand up at the blueline” D that the Bruins play is tough to penetrate and if you turn it over, it’s an instant problem in our zone. Looked like the team had a hard time figuring it out.

Pavelec was very good and had to contend with a number of deflections and traffic clogs in front.

Power play was sloppy at times last night. Max’s value continues to rise.

We now need to get at least 2 points out of these final 2 games of the homestand. That would be 7 out of 10 points and a not to shabbby stand.

Sara

November 20th, 2009
7:59 am

Zoomo – I’d say at least 3 points preferably the full 4. The Penguins have been struggling lately – probably has a lot to do with their decimated blue line and we need to take real advantage of that. The main game though will be Sunday against TB. We need to win that game cleanly in regulation – no gift points. That’s a 4-point swing game against not only a division rival but a team neck and neck with us in the conference rankings.

waffleboy

November 20th, 2009
8:03 am

You have to be impressed with this team’s ability to claw their way back. I feel like we would have lost this game last year, 4-2. But the team stuck with the adjustments made after the first period and it paid off. Solid effort by Opie, he didn’t deserve the loss. But he got absolutely burned by Bergeron.
I still like what I see night in, night out from this team. I think the first period slow starts have become a mental thing, however, and JA’s gonna have to figure something out to break the cycle.

five_hole

November 20th, 2009
8:18 am

That was a sweet move by Bergeron in the shootout. Ondrej (who needs a better nickname, btw) has nothing to be ashamed of.

Mad Max has been on fire the last few games. And Pavel Kubina has been a rock back on defense. We need to extend both of their contracts. Mr. Dudley, are you listening?

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 20th, 2009
8:41 am

I agree on Kubina’s contract extension, though Max has a history of “taking it easy” once the heat is off on his contract. As I have said before, playing with Antropov and Kovy heps alot. Max has space that he has not had in a long time. He’s going to the net too, which has not happened in years. I guess some can blame Lindy Ruff that Max failed to drive the net for the past few seasons.

These refs drive me nuts with the make-up calls. The 2 calls on Pevs were a joke. Another issue for me is the Thrasher’s inability to cover the points on 5 on 5. Too many shots from the point; these have to be cut down. Boston has a number of bigs guys, Lucic, Bitz and Wheeler are monsters.

Has a great time, we need more people at these games.

Paminski

November 20th, 2009
9:01 am

NorthStarsDave – Definitely. OP needs some shoot-out work. He got faked out the same twice in a row. It’s just luck that young Wheeler missed his shot.

Enstrom and Afinogenov had very solid games. Toby almost always plays on an acceptable level, but he was better than usual. Max continues to astound me. It’s a unique pleasure when I get to call my Dad in Western NY and ask “Did you see Max’s highlight goal?”

Peverley was off. I’ll allow it. One bad game out of 18 for him isn’t so bad. He’s not a complacent type of player, so I’m sure he’ll learn from his mistakes. He didn’t give up and did improve a bit in the 3rd. Hainsey seemed slightly off as well, but neither of these guys gave up at any point. Step back, adjust, try it again. I like to see that.

ChippersLoveChild

November 20th, 2009
9:19 am

We looked a little sluggish and sloppy last night, so I’ll be happy with the one point, but at home and rested facing the Bruins with no Savard or Thomas, we should have had two. And please for the love of God, stop letting Kovy be one of the first three shooters in the SO. He has great on breakaways, but becomes a completely different player in the SO. It’s not working and a guy like Max has a much better chance at putting one in… just my opinion though.

Darkhorse

November 20th, 2009
9:28 am

Damn those awful red jeseys and damn Thusday home games…0-3-1. Let the superstitions begin! The team looked really sluggish for the first half of the game.

In the shootout, I kinda thought Anderson might use Max as the first shooter instead of Pevs. He tied the game, played with a sense of urgency, and has scored some really nice “shootout/breakaway” type goals over the past few games. Not sure what his shootout scoring % is, but he had just beat Rask and I’m sure that was still fresh in the goalies mind.

Get The Puck Out

November 20th, 2009
9:31 am

As we’ve shown, we can score, but we can’t stop the other team from scoring. Too many shots in middle and to many Bruins in the middle inside our blueline. Gonna have to work on that. Did anyone see that fight during the Caps- Flyers game the other night? The Caps player was a bloody mess and he ended up scoring the winning goal. Hard hittin game.

Midfield

November 20th, 2009
9:40 am

I don’t know if Anderson and his crew spends enough time scouting their opponents. It had taken the team half the game to figure out what to do with the Caps forwards skating way up the ice a few games back; and yesterday it took them half the game to beat the Bees’ trap between the blue-lines. And Peverly needs to be more patient: one stupid penalty per game is multi-plenty.

Dwayne

November 20th, 2009
9:41 am

A)The bad start to home games are in direct correlation with the sparse, quiet crowds. I know that is just a blanket statement, but it is how a feel.
B)My opinion is changing a little on Opie, but in all honesty, Kari or Moose probably get that 2nd point.
C)Yall have a good day.

Odd Man Rush

November 20th, 2009
9:42 am

We seem to struggle at times against the neutral zone trap. The Bruins executed it well in the first. Things finally loosened up a bit in the 2nd when we started dumping the puck. Hopefully, we will recognize the trap and make the adjustments much sooner going forward. I suspect other teams will try to slow us down in the neutral zone as well. Dump and chase games are not as entertaining to watch, but it is hard to score if you are always outside of the blue line.

Glovesave29

November 20th, 2009
9:52 am

Darkhorse – completely agree. I was thinking the same thing last night. Retire those butt ugly red jerseys. They are bad luck AND perhaps the ugliest jersey in the league.

OP played well in regulation – but Bergeron sees the same issue with Pavalec I have been harping on him all along. He leans too far forward so and every movement he makes is overstated and it takes him out of the play. Patrice made a sweet move, no doubt, but look how Ondrej reacted – and he ended up waaaaaay over to one side and on his belly. We’ve heard a lot of comparisons lately to his style with that of Hasek. Now you see why I have argued against those all along. Hasek, leaning back on his skates probably would have bitten on the fake too, but then he does one of those spins on his back to flop over and stop it. Why? He was technically sound in his fundamentals, and his balance and weight transfer kept him from lunging out at the puck and left him able to make a correction to at least make a try at the shot. I am BY NO MEANS taking anything away from Bergeron, was a sweet move. He scores a vast majority of the time with that move. But the next shooter tried the same move and OP bit on it there too. Pavalec kept us in the game in the regular time. Played a hell of a game, but technical shortcomings like that will hurt us in the long run as players dissect his game. Much like a pitcheer going through the line up for the second time in the game, the batters learn and make the necessary adjustments.

We’ve taken 9 out of the last 10 possible points. Fight to the last whistle. This team, barring injuries and a media circus about what Kovy will do, will be just fine.

j nes

November 20th, 2009
10:07 am

Darkhorse, you read my mind about using Max in the shootout.

sisu

November 20th, 2009
10:13 am

The point was a gift which is fine, the first period was forgettable once again. Opie just about fell over on the first two shots of the shootout, he over committed both times…

One point is better than zero. I think the schedule this season is the craziest one I have ever seen. 3 games in 4 days then 4 days off, then another 3 game in 4 days…

Will L

November 20th, 2009
10:27 am

Doesn’t Max have 8 goals and 11 assists for 19 points? You wrote that he only has 8 goals and 11 points.
I agree with everyone saying to use Max in the shootout too. He’s so hot right now and he has a lot of his goals on breakaways.
I’m gald the boys were at least able to comeback and salvage a point last night. This is the type of game that the last couple years we would have not been able to do that. Now they just need to get over the top and start turning those into 2 points. Or just start playing in the first period instead of showing up later than the crowd at Philips.

Will L

November 20th, 2009
10:33 am

Also what is the harm in sending Moose out there for the shootout. Pavs does not look comfortable out there in the shootout. The bruins made him look silly twice with the exact same move, even if the second guy lost it off his stick before he could finish. Moose would have poke checked that crap.

Will L

November 20th, 2009
10:35 am

In fairness to Pavs though, he has been SOLID during regulation and overtime before and after that brain fart against washington.

Zoomo

November 20th, 2009
10:38 am

yes…Max has 11 assists, 19 points.

I liked Anderson’s comments in the paper this morning about the team not yet firing on all cylinders. I’d like to think there’s more upside to come. I think the 7-0 game was a sign of what this team is capable of on a good night.

five_hole

November 20th, 2009
10:56 am

With regards to the shootout, I was surprised that Slava wasn’t the 1st shooter. He’s as reliable a shooter as we have (even though he failed last night). Max would have been a good second shooter.

Will L I don’t want to second guess sending Moose out for the shootout. Pavelic had been standing on his head the entire game to that point. Why would you suddenly pull him for the Moose?

This is a team that consistently starts out slow but builds momentum. It can be frustrating, but it is exciting too.

World Be Free

November 20th, 2009
11:02 am

Too many shots against. We are playing against the law of averages.

Max is like Michael Jackson, Wayne Newton and Donny Osmond, in a certain sense.

Like the other 3, we have watched Max grow up before our eyes.

JLH

November 20th, 2009
11:02 am

Paminiski – Totally agree with you about Pevs & Hainsey, and yes, it should have been Max instead of Kovy. But, I was sitting down on the end watching Rask for 2 periods and I am not sure anyone could have scored on him in the shootout. He was the opposite of Pavelec – composed and tall in the net. He completely took away Kozy’s options.

Sara

November 20th, 2009
11:06 am

Hartley pulled that trick once of putting in a goalie cold off the bench for the shootout – it backfired horribly. Besides Pavelec can’t learn if he never does it.

BTW, Ben just tweeted that Army will be mic’ed for the Pens game – that’s going to be most interesting. :)

Vitamin Z

November 20th, 2009
11:17 am

Good to get a point out of this game. Two things that I don’t get though. One, why do we constantly put Kovy on the shootouts? He has a horrible track record! I just don’t get it. Two, why did SSHD did not show the HD feed where Boston did? There is already an HD feed, does it still cost more for SS to stream it?

FlamesFan

November 20th, 2009
11:33 am

Kovy seems to do better on breakaways than on shootouts/penalty shots. I think he should take the ps the way he does a breakaway; skating full speed on the goalie. Leave the slow motion ps’s to Slava.

Rawhide

November 20th, 2009
11:47 am

JUst a point of note here…Nik Antropov’s player profile lists his place of birth as Ust-Kamenogorsk, USSR in 1980. That is in Kazakhstan. I guess I’m just employing an old “cold war” type of thinking here.

Tony C.

November 20th, 2009
11:51 am

Again game starts @ 7pm, again sparse crowds in the 1st-bigger crowd by the 2nd.

Not saying it’s a direct correlation, but uh…well yall keep an eye on it next weeknight game.

Tony C.

November 20th, 2009
11:54 am

Also, I don’t know if it’s allowed or not, but I bet you if #17 could have some contact right before he gathers the puck on a SO his percentages would rise exponentially.

Just a thought

Waffleboy

November 20th, 2009
12:00 pm

Maybe Kovy should skate right at the ref before he makes his move. I mean, skate as fast as he can until the ref flinches. Something to get his blood flowing. He’s so amazing on the breakaways, we’ve all seen the look in his eye when it’s just him and the goalie, but that fire isn’t there on a shootout.

ICE-HOLE

November 20th, 2009
12:01 pm

Bruins survive the Russian Front?…What’s next?…The Arden Forest??

World Be Free

November 20th, 2009
12:13 pm

Sara – I believe Colby was also mic’ed for the Pittsburgh-Buffalo outdoor game a few years back. Rask is a pretty good backup for Boston.

World Be Free

November 20th, 2009
12:28 pm

You have to feel bad for Garnet Exelby. Ex, is now getting singled out in Toronto as of the problems with the Leafs. Toronto, which has more problems that can be counted by your average Canadian journalist, is looking for scapegoats.

Who would have figured that any player would rather play in Atlanta and not Toronto? I believe Ex would want nothing more than to be back in the ATL playing for fans that appreciate his efforts vs playing in “hockey hell”.

How is Toronto going to attract tier 1 or 2 free agents, when the the nwcomers get tossed under the bus at the quarter mark?

Spud Webb

November 20th, 2009
12:30 pm

Will L, you kidding me? put an ice cold goalie in for a shootout?? No. I’ll take my chances with Opie. Glovesave makes some excellent points, including it was a heck of a move by Patrice.
Second thought on that, you know what that does to a players frame of mind? Uh, kid, you’re out, great game but we’re putting Moose in for the shootout??? Again, no, he’s a kid and he will get better. You cannot break a player down like that. Bottom line is, SCORE IN THE SHOOTOUT, we didn’t.
Not sure about the crowd effecting the play. We seem to come out and play really well on the road!!!! Not sure why we aren’t here?? They keep winning and people will start to come.

Mr. Heat Miser

November 20th, 2009
12:32 pm

The red sweaters gotta go. Bad karma.

R. Stroz

November 20th, 2009
1:01 pm

Heat Miser – Can you get Gretchelby to make a poster for the Pittsburgh game? Something along these lines:

Cindy Crotchby staring in this Year’s Christmas Special: the Nutcracker

Dwayne

November 20th, 2009
1:14 pm

Maybe JA tells Boulton to pick a fight in the first few minutes. We have the 2nd best penalty kill, chances are in our favor to kill it off. Maybe that will get the fans off their arses.

Kovy's Kousin

November 20th, 2009
1:46 pm

I have never been impressed with Kovy on the shootout and would like to see Max take his spot. Kovy never been a big left-right-left deeker, which I feel is more successful then the corner wrister he always trys. Kovy and Little did seem to be skating at 100%, although I thought Kubina looked like he way laboring at times. I wish we would have played on Tuesday and kept up the momentum, I had a feeling we would come out flat with the time off, and we did. I thought the defense was pretty good last night and was suprised by Boston’s shot total. It did not seem like thay had a lot of really good looks (even on one’s that went in). Looking forward to whipping up on Crotchby & Friends Saturday night.

Hockey Biltong

November 20th, 2009
2:16 pm

Shoot Out Order
Pevs, Max,Kozy
White, Little, Kovy

Don’t be talkin smack about my RED Jersey. It’s Wayyyy better than the blue one.And If I could I’d bring back the original jersey.I’d BAN the blue one!!!

And I do believe a weekday 7:30 start would benefit the fans and team alike.So many people streamed in after the puck dropped, one can only imagine the ease at which navigating Atl. streets would become with that 30 mins diff.

Spud Webb

November 20th, 2009
2:42 pm

Black, I’d love to see us sport black jerseys.

fes

November 20th, 2009
2:46 pm

Does anyone know what our record was last season in the 3rd jerseys? Personally, I don’t think they would look as bad if there was no number on the front. With it, it’s horrendous and closely resembles a football jersey with numbers every-freaking-where. I vote nay on black jerseys.

World Be Free

November 20th, 2009
2:58 pm

I think Biltong must have dropped some serious coin on a 3rd jersey. just don’t bring back that original away jersey! That one looked like a castoff costume from the original Star Trek series, something the Tholians would have worn.