Thrashers survive shootout in Sunrise

Shortly after Rich Peverley’s game-winning shootout goal gave the Thrashers a 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers…coach John Anderson and the rest of the coaching staff departed to the locker room with big, broad smiles on their faces. Their team had just stolen two points on away ice in a game they very easily could have wound up with none…and the team of coaches looked like they just wanted to get out of Sunrise, Florida quickly, before someone could find a reason to take the points back.

For much of the game, the Panthers did a very good job of keeping Atlanta’s high-powered offense off balanced by playing a chippy, grinding kind of a game. They held the Thrashers scoreless for the first 58:56…which is even that much more impressive considering the amount of time Florida played shorthanded in the second period.

A very scary moment for Thrashers fans came at the 2:39 mark in the second period when Toby Enstrom was driven into the glass by Panther forward Michael Frolik. The boarding call brought with it a five-minute all-you-score power play for the Thrashers and an early exit for Frolik. Atlanta was not able to capitalize however…nor were they able to score on the power play that came just six seconds after the Panthers killed off the major. Same with the eight seconds worth of a 5 on 3 when Bryan McCabe elbowed Ilya Kovalchuk up around his throat. Ditto the subsequent 5 on 4 for 1:52.

Ilya Kovalchuk celebrates tying the score with Toby Enstrom and Maxim Afinogenov who assisted on the goal (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ilya Kovalchuk celebrates tying the score with Toby Enstrom and Maxim Afinogenov. Both assisted on the goal (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

For the night, the Thrashers failed to score on four power play chances and are 0 for 7 in their last three games while on the man advantage. Since the shootout loss to Boston on November 19, the Thrashers have been successful only three times on their last 30 power play opportunities, (10.0%).

Three or four times during regulation, Atlanta went postal…clanking the puck off the iron. But with just 64 seconds left in the game and the Thrashers down 1-0, Kaptain Kovalchuk was able to finally find the net, beating Tomas Vokoun with a blast from the right side after a great pass from Maxim Afinogenov.

I’m not sure…but after Kovy’s score, I think I saw Vokoun looking around to see where Keith Ballard was.

After surviving the five-minute overtime period in which the Panthers took all five shots on goal…the Thrashers found themselves in a shootout in Sunrise with a chance to steal away not one…but two points on this night. After Stephen Weiss was stopped by Johan Hedberg to open the individual skills exhibition, Kovalchuk blasted one past Vokoun again.

And that’s when the post started becoming the Thrashers friend.

In the second round, Nathan Horton heard more than a Who…he heard the puck ring off the left post. Slava Kozlov was then unsuccessful on Atlanta’s second attempt and the Steven Reinprecht kept Florida’s hopes alive with a goal to open the third round. Afinogenov’s attempt then was stopped by Vokoun… leaving the shootout at 1-1 after three rounds.

Rostislav Olesz was up next for Florida and for the second time in four chances, a Panthers player struck iron on his shot…this one ricocheting off the crossbar.

Peverley then dispensed of the Panthers by burying his shot over Vokoun’s right shoulder.

Rich Peverley ended the shootout with a goal, giving Atlanta a 2-1 win in Florida

Rich Peverley ended the shootout with a goal, giving Atlanta a 2-1 win in Florida (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Goalkeeping was a big reason for tonight’s win. Moose started in goal and stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced. One huge save came in overtime when he was able to deny Weiss while on his backside after a rebound deflected off to his right. Hedberg improved his overall record to 7-2-0 with a 2.24 GAA and very impressive .932 SV%.

“Without our goalkeeping we wouldn’t be where we are today”, coach Anderson told Matt McConnell during the post-game show. “It’s certainly different from last year”.

Atlanta has now moved its record to 15-8-3 for 33 points. To give you an indication of how far this team has come since last year…last year’s Thrashers squad was not able to notch their 33rd point until the second half of the season…coming after game number 42 by way of a 4-0 win in New Jersey on January 8 last winter.

Stealing these two points was a fantastic way to get the cross-continental road trip off to a fine start. The Thrashers will now travel north of the border for a Monday night matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs who find themselves at 8-13-7 following the 7-2 beating suffered in Boston Saturday. Later in the week they’ll play in Calgary and Vancouver.

Hopefully, Anderson and his coaching staff will be smiling just as much then as they were on this winning night.

60 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

December 5th, 2009
11:41 pm

FIRST, or GOLD

Brendan

December 5th, 2009
11:45 pm

Hedberg has done a masterful job in his “back-up” role. He made at least three (3) stellar saves, to keep Atlanta in this game. It very well was nearly a 1-0 shutout. So, thanks to Peverley’s shootout winner, Atlanta completes a three-point swing. Florida was 64 ticks from owning a 4-point swing on us, landing both points while denying 2-points to Atlanta. Instead, Atlanta took the 2-points and denied Florida a point, for a 3-1 split.

Carolina won over Vancouver, 5-3. Tampa rolled the Isles, 4-0. And the Capitals smoked the Flyers, in Peter Laviolette’s coaching debut for Philadelphia. That’s not how he wanted to get things turned-around.

Okay, tear off points #63 and #62, for there are only 61 more points to go until Atlanta clinches a playoff berth.

Nate

December 5th, 2009
11:50 pm

Time to shake up the power play. Move Kovy down low. Use Kubina and Bogosian up top. Throw Kane on the second pp unit in place of White. It’s grown stagnant and it was never more evident than on the five minute major. Too much passing and not enough finishing. And they almost gave up a shorty to begin that man advantage. Very fortunate to come away with two points tonight.

Brendan

December 6th, 2009
12:26 am

The Thrashers have now taken 19 of the possible 24-points on the road this season. That’s not a misprint. The road record of the Atlanta Thrashers is 9-2-1. The Thrashers are now 6-2-2 in their last ten games.

LAC

December 6th, 2009
1:22 am

You called it Bill, tough to watch until the final couple of minutes, we SHOULD have had at least three goals before, and they could have pocketed two… Great Game from Hedberg, that Weiss save was AWSOME !

So we stay with everyone, gain on Fl, NYI, Ottawa as well as Buffalo,
and how about Philadelphia, blitzed by Washington, without #8, 8-2,
they are now 6 behind us, GOOD !

Toronto may not be easy, wonder if Ex will be in the lineup ? He has not played very much this season…

Calagry looks to be our most difficult game, will have to be on our toes for that one for sure, but 2 BIG Pts !

Hockey Biltong

December 6th, 2009
2:18 am

Let’s keep it up!!! What a difference 2 years makes….

five_hole

December 6th, 2009
8:14 am

All hail the Moose! Like W, he kept our goal safe (well, except for that one time). He absolutely stood on his head last night.

I heard what D Elliot said last night, about Boulton didn’t fight Frolik, because it would have been against the “Hockey Code”. I thought the Code meant when some doufus from the other team drives your defenseman headfirst into the board, you drop the gloves no matter who that guy is. Glad he got the 5 minutes, but I wanted his a$$ whooped, too.

With all the firepower we have, how can we play for what, 10 minutes consecutively, on the PP without a single goal?!? We spend most of the time passing around the perimeter, looking for that perfect shot. Can someone please crash the net? Mix things up?

Having just gone through all the criticisms, we are still finding ways to win, and that’s the bottom line. Although winning like this is a lot scarier than I’d like.

Ron Burgandy

December 6th, 2009
9:12 am

A Moose sighting in Florida. Locals amazed, story at eleven.

World Be Free

December 6th, 2009
9:57 am

Little is still missing the net. He either changed the lie on his stick, the curve at the tip, or he’s shooting from too far back. He always missing the net to the left, up high. Bryan still has a quick release, he’s just not hitting the target.

Did anyone see Carcillo sucker punch Bradley in last night’s Caps-Philly game? Carcillo is a bum! He should be suspended for weeks. Typical Flyer, can dish out a hit but can’t take one. Emery could not stop a beach ball last night.

Boston fans really gave it to Phil Kessell last night, real bad. Not sure that all realize that Kessell never asked to be traded, he asked to be compensated, just like Marc Savard. Boston got the better of that deal by far; Bruins fans should stow it.

Paminski

December 6th, 2009
9:59 am

Once again, he’s Peverywhere. Is there a situation this guy can’t excel? Well, maybe….I’m no statistician, but it seems like the last few games, Pevs has taken more than his fair share of penalties. I don’t like to see him making a habit of that. To be fair, a number of those penalties have been questionable calls. Is his style of play responsible for this? Are the officials just paying closer attention to him now that he is a leading scorer? Any other thoughts on this?

Rawhide

December 6th, 2009
10:08 am

To be fair, a number of those penalties have been questionable calls

Paminski – I thought the “hooking” penalty that Peverley took at the beginning of the third was one of the most bogus calls I’d seen in a while.

Oh…and “Pevereywhere”…as I’ve told you at TJ’s, that’s a beauty word you’ve come up with!

He’s here…he’s there…he’s PEVERYWHERE!

I officially request permission to use that word and line in the future.

TrueHockeyFan

December 6th, 2009
10:10 am

Will someone please tell TOBT that he is allowed to put the biscut towards the basket. this guy just never shoots. He is like the point guard that the other team never has to guard because they know he is no lthreat. Please already TOBY shhot the PUCK.

Nate

December 6th, 2009
10:12 am

Paminski – Agreed. The last few penalty calls on Pevs have been marginal at best. The hooking call last night was atrocious. Someone needs to tell the ref that a player has to actually tug at a player’s waist or arm with his stick to hook him. The first period last night was one of the few times I actually questioned the legitimacy of a hockey game. It seriously looked like the refs were tilting the ice in the Panthers favor. Weiss was getting away with everything and then the Thrashers would get called for nothing at all.

World Be Free

December 6th, 2009
10:45 am

The best thing about Peverly is the position he plays-center. Pevs is an all-around center too, nothing lacking about his game.

There is such a real shortage of good centers in the NHL right now.
Aside from goaltender, center is the toughest position to play in the game.

Penalties-the refs have sooo much leeway in calling penalties these days. I know they want to open the game up and free the skill players, but i have to say half the penalties I see are marginal. You would think the NHL was recruiting from the SEC ref pool.

Midfield

December 6th, 2009
11:05 am

It’s not that they called penalties on Atlanta that much, it’s that Florida played pretty dirty and they got away with tons of hookings and trippings in their zone, not to mention questionable no-call on Hedberg’s tripping that nearly cost us a shorty. I agree that PP is stagnant. It’s way too static. They need to start moving both the puck and the bodies. Especially on smaller rinks like the one in Miami.

Zoomo

December 6th, 2009
11:38 am

That stick save by Moose near the eand has got to be the save of the year! Amazing…and maybe a bit o’ luck.

This team will not give up, and that’s a great trait. There is still much upside to this team. I can see them winning 6 or 7 in a row when they finally get all the parts in gear.

Midfield

December 6th, 2009
11:44 am

Does anybody know why Kovy was poking his stick in faces at the Florida bench? That was a funny close-up.

Rawhide

December 6th, 2009
1:33 pm

Does anybody know why Kovy was poking his stick in faces at the Florida bench? That was a funny close-up.

Midfield – It was because someone on the Panthers’ bench…Dmitry Kulikov I think…was poking at or grabbing Kovy’s jersey. It was prior to a faceoff and Kovy was poistioned near the wall in front of their bench.

Basically it was just assclown stuff…trying to get Ilya ticked off and off his game.

fes

December 6th, 2009
2:00 pm

the announcers said that assclown had played in two games prior to last night and had collected 29 pims. sounds like he was just playing his role. we’re fortunate that kovy didn’t get suckered into it.

Miami Screaming Eagle

December 6th, 2009
2:06 pm

Ok Kovy, what else do you need to see to determine if this is the kinda team you want to stay wtih for the next 5-7 years?

Are we going to wait until March, get a low 1st round pick, a role player and prospect for one of the best players in the league or risk losing him for nothing in July?

The clock is ticking-sign him or trade him. This courtship dance is one of the silliest things I have ever seen.

sisu

December 6th, 2009
2:30 pm

Good way to steal the two points but there is a new problem/issue coming up for next season. What does the team do with Moose? His contract is up and the general thought was that he should become a goalie coach here. Does the team sign him or do they keep Kari as a back up or do they have a goalie who can handle the load moose is carrying?

Rusty

December 6th, 2009
2:46 pm

I wonder whatever happend to Kari…ah, who cares. Go Thrashers

Wayne stuck in AL

December 6th, 2009
3:16 pm

Did anyone catch the WAS @ PHI highlights on SportsCenter? Washington had a NINE minute power play (and scored 3 times)!

World Be Free

December 6th, 2009
3:31 pm

The spineless wiesel Carcillo got a 4 game suspension. Double the suspension ceause he’s a Flyer.

The league should have made a real example out of him.

sisu

December 6th, 2009
5:52 pm

Rusty, Kari had his second surgery recently and woke up feeling like a new man. He had a problem corrected that had been bothering him since child hood. He is on his way back soon,just a matter of when he rejoins the team. My guess after new years….

Question still remains, do you feel that Moose has gas left in the tank for another year or is he done? A another two year deal, should it be done???

Tom

December 6th, 2009
5:59 pm

Sisu.

Keep Moose, trade Kari for future picks, sign Sharpe from Chicago. Sign Kovalchuk.

Kari's Dad

December 6th, 2009
7:33 pm

Let Moose go after this year, let my boy battle Opie for the number 1 spot. He has to prove his arch nemisis Stendec wrong.

Midfield

December 6th, 2009
9:54 pm

One thing Pavelec must learn from Hedberg is how to handle the puck.

LAC

December 6th, 2009
10:08 pm

Detroit 3 NYR 1 Thank-you !!!

hip czech

December 7th, 2009
9:11 am

I’ll retract what I said about Hedberg not being a good puck handler, Saturday night was quite a display (though almost a disaster on the one PP). He moved the puck intelligently and was very aggressive. Agree that Pavelec needs to steal a page from the Moose book.

Would be real nice, almost imperative to get the 2 pts tonight. If they can win tonight and then get at least one point out of the CGY/VAN games that would be a decent road trip. Will be interesting to see if XLB is in the lineup – here’s hoping he is.

Dwayne

December 7th, 2009
9:49 am

Hip…I hope he is not in the line up, if he is, he will probably have his best game of the year, like Vick did.

World Be Free

December 7th, 2009
10:07 am

The Thrashers better be ready for Toronto tonight. The Leafs played poorly Saturday. Ron Wilson will have them charged up tonight to make amends, especially Kessel, who took alotta garbage from the Bruin faithful. Toronto has been playing better of late.

I’d count Ex being in the lineup tonight. Wilson likes motivated players. Ex will be motivated to do well against the team that traded him. I think…..

Russian

December 7th, 2009
11:14 am

I hope Ex will not injure anybody from Thrashers. Bolts should be ready to figth.

J.B.

December 7th, 2009
11:16 am

wow. that would be hella-weird. can y’all imagine seeing Ex go at it with Boults or Thorburn?

Dwayne

December 7th, 2009
11:26 am

ex wont fight either of them, he might try to pick a fight with one of the blew crew, if they were to go.
Maple Syrups have the worst PK units. Maybe we can get right tonight with a couple goals.

Nate

December 7th, 2009
11:47 am

“One thing Pavelec must learn from Hedberg is how to handle the puck.”

Not from Moose. Don’t get me wrong. I love Moose, but he overhandles the puck. He’s iced the puck more than once this year and he turns it over at least once a game leaving the defensmen vulnerable to a scoring chance. Pavs needs to ask Brodeur the next time the Thrashers play the Devils.

J.B.

December 7th, 2009
12:02 pm

the thing opie needs to learn from the moose is how to succeed in the shootout.

World Be Free

December 7th, 2009
12:03 pm

Ex would have to take the visor off to fight Thorny or Bolts. Besides, that’s Colton Orr’s job.

Midfield

December 7th, 2009
12:44 pm

Nate, if your point is that nobody’s perfect, I don’t disagree. That includes Mr. Brodeur. May I remind you how Kane scored on him in New Jersey. He tipped in a pass from Peverly who intercepted Brodeur’s attempted clearance along the board. I don’t think we want our golies to replicate that play too much.

Nate

December 7th, 2009
12:57 pm

“Nate, if your point is that nobody’s perfect, I don’t disagree. That includes Mr. Brodeur. May I remind you how Kane scored on him in New Jersey. He tipped in a pass from Peverly who intercepted Brodeur’s attempted clearance along the board. I don’t think we want our golies to replicate that play too much.”

So would you say Brodeur overhandles as well? I’ll be honest. I don’t watch as many Devils games as I do Thrashers games because it’s about as much fun as watching paint dry. But the games I’ve watched Brodeur handles the puck much better than Hedberg. And I think you’ll agree that the general consensus around the league is that Brodeur is the best puck handler around. That doesn’t make it so necessarily, but I think it’s true. Who would you argue is the best goalie puck handler in the league for Pavelec to model himself after?

Midfield

December 7th, 2009
1:05 pm

I’d like for Pavelec to play like Dryden, Tretyak, Savchuk, Hasek, and Roy put together.

Old Time Hockey

December 7th, 2009
1:26 pm

“Kari had his second surgery recently and woke up feeling like a new man. He had a problem corrected that had been bothering him since child hood. He is on his way back soon,just a matter of when he rejoins the team.”

Hopefully “like a new man” means someone else’s core muscles and “a problem since childhood” probably refers to his poor physical conditioning.

Since our GM is on a roll maybe he can unload Kari and get something of value in return. As soon as he is deemed healthy…UNLOAD!

d

December 7th, 2009
1:45 pm

stendec

December 7th, 2009
2:05 pm

Hi Bill. Please bear with me. This is very important to me. Thanks.

I humbly request that censors permit this post despite its length. Thank you.

This is difficult to type. I am speaking as a fan who has been a Falcon supporter since the birth of the team in the 1960s. All that ended over the weekend. I suffered in silence as Keith Brooking gloated during a Cowboy victory in Texas. It hurt but at least the Falcons competed. That was not the case Sunday at the Georgia Dome. Excuses be damned. There are no excuses for that giveup job. Some folks will say it is just a game. In this instance I disagree. This was a citywide disgrace. Falcon defenders should have been out of their minds when Mike Sick took the field. What was the response? Falcons stepped aside as he walked uncontested into end zone. Unacceptable. Falcon secondary looked the other way on his short touchdown pass. Unacceptable. Over the decades I have only despised and wished doom on several Falcons. Three quarterbacks come to mind. One of which was in the Georgia Dome recently. I can honestly say I truly hate every player/coach on present Falcon roster with the exception of Tony Gonzalez who works his butt off every play. Sorry you wound up with these quitters Tony. Just take the money and grit mouth guard tightly. A spot awaits you in Hall of Fame. I see injury prone Matt Ryan as a one season wonder with no instestional fortitude (guts). Allowing a toe bruise to keep him on sidelines. Matthew Stafford competes for his team with much more serious afflictions. Maybe the overrated Falcon QB and Thrasher waste Kari Lehtonen should tank their present seasons as a team. Both appear worthless. All I hear from apologists is wait till next year wait till next year. Listen people. I am over half a century old with a weak heart. That was fine when I was in my 20s but not now. Time is of essence for me and others like myself who have suffered with these losers since day one. Defeats are part of sports. Quitting is not. The Falcons quit against Philadelphia. That was painfully obvious to everyone with eyes to see. In the one game for which I would not sugar coat or forgive another defeat. Falcon wins used to bring me great joy. No longer. The Falcons quit on me. I have quit on them. Many will scoff and say good riddance. No problem. As a sportswriter for many decades I have an extremely thick skin. Many will call me a fair weather fan. That is not true. The decision I made was difficult due to my former adoration of team. I now wish nothing but doom and failure on this uncaring franchise. Southern teams like the Saints and Dolphins now have my support. They are now my official state teams. The Falcons are dead to me. Just as they are officially dead to the rest of NFL. Continued success Tony Gonzalez. God bless you. ++STENDEC++ BTW – Thrashers keeping KL under contract is nothing to what Falcons staged Sunday

Bob

December 7th, 2009
2:12 pm

Cuckoo. Cuckoo.

Ex won’t fight, but I’d like to see him play tonight. Buds have been playing better lately and we need all the help we can get, this is a big two pts for the boys to get tonight.

World Be Free

December 7th, 2009
2:15 pm

Oh no-I am agreeing with Stendec again. Falcons did quit yesterday, totally.

What was worse was seeing all those Falcons’ fans holding Vick jerseys with pride. Looks like some Atlantans have a twisted definition of what a hero should be. You should make the most of the opportunity you have and Vick through his away. Those little kids with the Vick jerseys are the gangsters of tomorrow. That’s alot worse than quitting in a football game, whether you are getting paid or not.

Besides, I gave up on pro football long ago, even my Bills who I never missed for years. All my time goes to college football.

World Be Free

December 7th, 2009
2:15 pm

threw not through

Nate

December 7th, 2009
3:11 pm

Midfield – Maybe we can put together an instructional video of those guys for Pavs to watch (and maybe Moose can sit in also). Throw in some sketch comedy (a la Shenanigans instructional video) and he just might watch.

TableHockey

December 7th, 2009
3:51 pm

Ben over at the Blueland blog is saying that Exelby will dress tonight. That could make for some interesting things.

I hope an amped up Thrasher’s team takes the ice tonight. This is a game we ought to win and hopefully we will win BIG.

NYC

December 7th, 2009
3:58 pm

WBF – with the new revenue sharing ruling being declined in the NFL, the league won’t be too far behind you in giving up on Buffalo as well. In the words of Larry King, “Toronto – hello!”