David Perron…St. Louis Blues…with a power play goal.
No, that’s not a final solution to a Clue game. What it is, however, is the answer to the question, “who was the last player to score a goal on the Thrashers at Philips Arena during the third period”?
In fact, that goal is the only one scored against the Thrashers at home in the third period during the Month of November so far… and only twice in October was a visiting team able to beat a Thrashers goalie between minutes 40 and 60. In all, Atlanta has outscored their opponents 20-3 at home during period number three this season.
The Thrashers going 2-1-2 earning 6 of a possible 10 points on their recent 5-game homestand is...?
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Under normal circumstances, that type of prowess during the third period…when the game is in the balance…would indicate a lot of success for a team. Unfortunately, there is this little issue regarding the two periods that the NHL rulebook simply insists must be played prior.
In the first period, Atlanta has been outscored 9-5 in the comfy confines of Philips Arena…in the first 40 minutes, that number becomes 25-16. However, one quarter of those 16 goals came in one game alone, when they outscored the L.A. Kings 4-0 in the second period of Friday the 13th’s 7-nuthin’ beatdown.
So as you can see, in most cases…by the time Atlanta gets around to the final frame, there is quite a bit of catchin’ up to do.
This past weekend was much the same ‘ol same ‘ol…get down by two or three goals, make a great effort at the end, but fall just short. Saturday it was a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins…Sunday it was a 4-3 overtime loss to the Bolts. In both cases, the Thrashers fell behind in the first-40 and waited until the last-20 to score their goals.
Making the most recent game just that much more frustrating to endure is that in net for the Bolts was long-time Thrasher nemesis Antero Niittymaki, who improved is overall record to 15-0-0 against Atlanta…the previous fourteen coming while playing for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Now, I’m not 100% sure…and Trixie has flown to Las Vegas for vacation this holiday week, so she’s not around to look this up for me…but I don’t recall ever even getting as much as the consolation point for simply getting the game into overtime against Niittymaki. Atlanta at least got that Sunday, even though they didn’t completely get the monkey…or “Niitty-monkey” …off their backs.
But earning that solitary point didn’t come absent yet another thrilling late-game rally by the home towners. Down 2-0 after two…and 3-1 with almost three-quarters of the final period gone, the Thrashers once again made their run. Slava Kozlov scored to cut the margin to one after taking a Nik Antropov face off win and beating Nittymaki with 4:23 remaining.
Hey…I got to say “Kozlov scored” and “Nik Antropov face off win” all in the same sentence!
One minute and fifty-two seconds later, Evander Kane knocked home number seven on the season and Atlanta was level with Tampa Bay with 2:31 remaining…and once again, the joint was jumping!
In the past couple of games, Maxim Afinogenov was the player providing last-minute heroics for the Thrasher. Thursday night it was a blast from the right circle to tie the game against Boston and send the game to OT. Saturday night he was the goal-scorer that pulled Atlanta to within one against the Pens. On both occasions Max’s dramatics happened with under a minute left in regulation.
But the man who has played the role of Mr. Clutch recently was denied such a chance this time as Steve Downie, who averages 12:27 TOI, was able to coheres Afinogenov into a scrap with 53 seconds remaining and the two spent the rest of regulation…and the first 1:07 of overtime in the sin-bin. Thus, keeping max off the ice for that last shift of the third period.
Steve Downie off the ice in exchange for Maxim Afinogenov off the ice when the game is at such a crucial juncture. Hmmmmm…I’d say that’s a pretty good swap for the Lightning, eh?
Steve Stamkos then ended the possibility chance hopedream of taking two points from Niittymaki for the first time with 1:04 left in the 5-minute extra time period…leaving the Thrashers and their fans to wonder just what it might take to finally take down this goalie that torments us so.
Well, I mean…outside of getting Prof. Plum to do so, in the library, with a wrench.