Time for Thrashers to ride the Moose

Last night’s win over Montreal is likely to be remembered for the overtime goal that Ilya Kovalchuk delivered to win the game. But the match may well have never gotten past the 60-minute mark if not for the outstanding save that Johan Hedberg made on Sergei Kostitsyn during a short-handed breakaway during the third period.

Moose got the right pad out far enough to keep Kostitsyn from sliding the puck in nearside and the 3-3 tie was preserved.

Now, Hedberg did not have one his most stellar performances on this night. The Thrashers’ defense held the Canadiens to but 19 shots on goals during three periods plus a buck-eighteen of overtime and three got past him…a couple he would certainly like to have back. But when the big save needed to be made…Moose shut the door.

No goal for YOU! Headberg denied Sergei Kostitsyn on his short-handed breakawy to keep the game tied (AP Photo/John Amis)

No goal for YOU! Hedberg denies Sergei Kostitsyn on his 3rd period short-handed breakaway. The timely save kept the game tied at 3-3 (AP Photo/John Amis)

In his last nine starts, Hedberg has won seven time allowing only 2.10 goals per game and compiling a .928 SV% in those starts. For the season, he’s 8-3-0 with a .929 SV% and 2.22 GAA.

Conversely, after a very fine beginning of the season, Ondrej Pavelec has struggled over the past few weeks…losing three straight starts. Counting the 6-4 win in Carolina, he’s surrendered 16 goals on 122 shots in his four starts since the 2-0 shutout in Detroit, (.869 SV%).

Is Pavs just going through a bit of a rough spell…or is this the Opie so many of us feared we’d see at the beginning of the season? Personally, I think it’s the former rather than the latter…but when you have a defense that is allowing opponents 34.0 shots per game, you have to go with the hot goalie that can keep you in the game.

And right now…that’s Moose. And I say coach Anderson should ride him as long as he can.

Thrashers ’Build a Bear’ Charity Auction

Still looking for that one special present for that certain Thrashers fan in your life? Well, here’s something that might be of interest to you.

This Saturday when the New Jersey Devils come down to Georgia, the Atlanta Thrashers Fan Club will be hosting a silent auction where fans will have a chance to bid on  Thrashers “Build a Bears”. Each one of these bears has been personalized by an Atlanta Thrasher… including a special holiday message from that player.

Just check out the “Moose Bear”!

The items will be on display Saturday outside of the team Gear store in Philips Arena and all proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the Atlanta Thrashers Foundation.

78 comments Add your comment

Smoothie

December 14th, 2009
3:43 pm

Bob, much the same could be said about us w/r/t Kovalchuk. Of the 24 games he’s played in, we are 13-8-3. Also, we are 9-2-1 in the games in which he has scored a goal. Conversely, we are only 4-6-2 in the 12 games he hasn’t scored a goal. And in 2 of those 4 games, he had an important assist.

FormerIslesFan

December 14th, 2009
4:09 pm

Wow, I saw a statistic today that is quite telling if it is accurate. Gabronik leads the league with 22 goals, but no one else on the Ranger$ has more than 6?? http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20102NYRSASAll&sort=goals&viewName=goals

Also, and I say this with the remaining bit of Blue and Orange in my blood, the Ranger$ have been passed by the Islanders in the standings!

Now is the time for the Thrashers to go in for the kill.

Nutznorm

December 14th, 2009
4:15 pm

I am really torn on Moose. To me he is spectacular at times, and also the guy who gets beat on more clean, not screened shots from 20 feet out than any NHL goalie I have ever seen. The best possible scenario for this team is Kari / Pavs as a 1-2 punch. Will Kari finally be the Kari he was supposed to be? Who knows, but if he is healthy you have to play him if for no other reason than get his trade value up. The Flyers are desperate for a goalie and Kari would look great pulling a groin for them, but we need more than a bag of old pucks for a top former draft pick and I dont think the line is going to be long with teams lining up for an older Moose..

Matt

December 14th, 2009
4:48 pm

Rawhide, saw you sitting over in Section 120(?) in the first period, was going to stop by and say “Hi”, but did not see you there after the 1st. Maybe next time!

As for the game on Saturday, that may have been the most putrid display of a power play I have ever seen. It was getting to the point where I was thinking they should’ve just declined the penalty. That being said, who in the heck flipped the on switch on the team? Dreadful first period, fall behind by two goals and THEN start to play like a house on fire? It’s just mind boggling how this team comes out flat game after game.

As for Moose, I have to say I thought his play was only OK. Sure, the breakaway stop was great, but that 2nd goal was one I thought he should have had. The first goal I blame the D for letting Metro walk right up to the goal and the 3rd was the fault of the D’s inabilty to clear the zone and he had no chance on that one-timer.

Rawhide

December 14th, 2009
4:55 pm

Matt – Sorry I missed you. I did indeed spend the first period in 120. However, I was summonsed up to the Bluland Chronicle perch located just above there…first row of section 317…and spent the rest of the game with Mortimer Peacock, Big Shooter, Razor Catch Prey, Smoothie and the lovely Krisabelle, (a.k.a. Kris-TEN).

Hopefully next time we can meet up.

Matt

December 14th, 2009
4:58 pm

Oh, and I’ll be sticking straight pins into my stRANGER voodoll tonight in hopes of getting Gaborik’s groin to implode again! (You know, for some strange reason that sounds familiar)

Not Blind

December 14th, 2009
5:18 pm

On the Kovy Kontract: I don’t think either party really wants to do a big $$$ long term deal. So why not sign for 1 or 2 years and see what happens ? The way he has been coasting lately makes me think back to the Miroslav Satan debacle. I would hate to see the ownership sigh him for a long term and then the fans have to watch an overpaid undermotivated player sucking up ice time. Go with a short deal and both parties will have to try their hardest to prove themself to the other.

World Be Free

December 14th, 2009
6:20 pm

Thank you Glovesave-you are the goalie meister. Kari is the most talented of the 3 goalies though he is currently not available. Obviously, the issue with Kari is his health, both physical and mental. I still think he needs a personal trainer 12 mos/year to keep him in shape. And he wouldn’t be the first goalie with a wonkey back.

Nate-I was thinking the same Saturday night. I remember when KARI SHUT OUT MTL last year, the Thrashers held the Habs to 25 shots. Montreal’s offense is a work in progress.

Brendan-it does seem almost comical how some people’s moods change with every win or loss. Like little kids looking for attention.

Arguing about goaltenders is like doing the same with quaterbacks. Both positions are the most important for their respective teams. Glad I am not Anderson having to solve the goaltender question.

World Be Free

December 14th, 2009
6:23 pm

Not Blind-I think a few of us have asked the same question about a short term deal for a few weeks or mos. Whatever it takes to get a deal done is fine with me.

Not Blind

December 14th, 2009
6:38 pm

My wife says the player I am thinking of was Alexei Yashin :) Maybe it was both of them.

Dwayne

December 14th, 2009
6:38 pm

NUTZNORM…Good one. The Flyers are desperate for a goalie and Kari would look great pulling a groin for them

KovyRules

December 14th, 2009
6:43 pm

TSN looks at last summers free agents (http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=302356), with some well deserved recognition for Max and Antro. Consider Max’s contract ranks about 70th out of the 90 signed in terms of annual cost, yet he’s top ten in TSNs performance rank. Antropov comes in at 14th.

Kudos for DW, and kudos for you fellow bloggers who were talking up Taylor Pyatt and Manny Malhotra all summer – they are looking like decent signings. DW should stay tuned here for more tips from us bloggers…

And as far as Kovy’s contract – I’m torn between the Red Wings long-term loyalty approach and the keep ‘em motivated, shorter term contract approach. It has been scary to see Kovy floating and uninspired as he has over the past month. Perhaps a Rangers game is what he needs to rekindle the competitive fire.

Hockey Biltong

December 14th, 2009
6:45 pm

uuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp!

Brendan

December 14th, 2009
7:49 pm

Tremendous 1st period by Hedberg. He’s the story, so far, tonight at MSG. Atlanta tends to play well at the GAH-DEN. Atlanta leads, 1-0, on a PPG by Kozlov. Hallelujah!

Brendan

December 14th, 2009
9:13 pm

Nice shorty by Colby Armstrong! Too bad the Blueshirts tied it up so quickly. It’s 2-2, with 12:00 left in regulation. It’s important to make sure that “pity” point doesn’t sneak away. It’s been a relatively good road game.

Brendan

December 14th, 2009
9:28 pm

At this point, I’m fine with however long Kovy’s next contract is. One year, two years … 10 years. So long as he signs with Atlanta. In his shoes, I’d wait until July 3rd to sign ANYWHERE. I’d want to see what happens in free agency. Kovalchuk holds all the cards over ALL the GM’s, not just Waddell. Kovalchuk is such a coveted free agent, that he could literally say, “sign this other player, too, or I won’t come to your club.” That goes for all 30 teams.

I’m choosing not to panic about Kovalchuk until January 24, 2010, at the earliest. Will Belkin be bought out by then? And a new investor found, by then? That might be part of the holdup. Kovy’s been waiting 4 years for the ownership turmoil to be ultimately resolved. And it still hasn’t happened. How long is he supposed to wait? And that’s a fair issue to raise if Kovalchuk winds up ELSEWHERE next season. Everything begins with ownership.

Thrashers have a 5-on-3 Power Play!!! And it’s late in the third period! 5:24 left!!

Brendan

December 14th, 2009
9:34 pm

Hedberg stopped Higgins on a 2-on-0 breakaway. Moose just saved our bacon!! And this, right on the heels of failure to score on 5-on-3 powerplay. What a game, for a neutral fan to watch. Without a dog in this fight, this is a lot of fun to watch.

Brendan

December 14th, 2009
9:36 pm

Headed to overtime, 2-2. A PPG and short-handed goal for Atlanta, coupled with great goaltending from Moose.

Brendan

December 14th, 2009
9:46 pm

Here’s your boxscore. http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2009020483. 48 shots by the Rangers???

Brendan

December 14th, 2009
9:49 pm

Thrashers win!!!! Shootout goals by Kovalchuk and Slava Kozlov. Credit MOOSE for the win, folks.

five_hole

December 14th, 2009
10:02 pm

47 saves by the MOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Just an incredible game for him.

The only flaw I saw in the game tonight was how the Rangers consistantly got behind our defense. Someone ’splain to me how we allow a breakaway while we’re on the PK?

Afinigenov is a magician with the puck. He just continues to generate offense.

I don’t know which was more impressive in the 1st period. The save Moose made diving backwards with the stick, or Valabik ending up on top of Sean Avery (same play)? I think maybe the Valabik play, ’cause I expect the Moose to come up with big saves.

World Be Free

December 14th, 2009
10:07 pm

Guess Bill was right about riding the Moose-nice call.
Kovy’s contract-I won’t talk about it for at least 1 week.

FYI-Garnet Exeby was the 3rd star in tonight’s Leafs-sens game. How about those Leafs?! I was dancing on their supposed grave a few weeks ago. Now they are winning with little talent and alotta guts. I like teams that play hard and the Leafs give it all they have every night. Kudos Ron Wilson.

Darkhorse

December 14th, 2009
11:05 pm

WBF-Who would have thought the Leafs go on a tear and Ex had two assists tonight?

I also thought Pavs would get the call tonight, glad I was wrong. It easily could have been 3-1 Rangers after the first, if not for Hedberg standing on his Hed. Can we just establish the forecheck and put a man in front of the net on a consistant basis? They put Antro in front of the net on the PP and what happens, a nice screen leading to the Kozlov goal.

But hey, gutty, greasy, and gritty road win. Hedberg desrved the W.

Midfield

December 14th, 2009
11:31 pm

Good call on Moose, Rawhide! Bull’s eye. Not so much for Armstrong bashers, eh? What’s with the three back-to-back break-aways for New York? I’m not impressed with Bogosian as of late. The kid is spaced out or something. Kubina looks like he’s playing hurt, I’m afraid. On another good note, Kovy scored back-to-back on his SO attempts.

LAC

December 14th, 2009
11:33 pm

I wish the NHL would have a place for DH of hockey, keep Slava forever !! Is there ANYONE in the NHL who has been better than Slava ?
Maybe, But bet it would be tough to top him, and #17’s goal was Unreal, old Sam Rosen was speechless after that one…. on MSG.

But the defense tonight was TERRIBLE, Hedburg saved us and got it to the shootout. Gotta quit giving up so many SOG fellows.

We move ahead of Ottawa into 6th position.

FL won BIG 7-1 on the Island, so expect another tough game with them Wednesday night, But Nice win @ MSG !

Smoothie

December 14th, 2009
11:51 pm

Guess you could say the Rangers were “Moose-merized” by Hedberg’s stellar, game-stealing heroics under the bright lights of Gotham’s MSG. Way to go Moooooooose! I think his style and ability to read the play is the right fit for this team that seems to do a much better job, on the whole, clearing pucks and moving bodies from in front of the open spaces in the crease.

Once again, ride that hot Moose till the filthy stench of Christmas cheer fades into oblivion…and perhaps beyond into the future!! Fifth place is ours and a chance to overtake Boston for 4th with a game-in-hand on the Broons.

Rawhide

December 14th, 2009
11:59 pm

Smoothie – “Moose-merized”…classic!! :lol:

OK…new blogity-blog time.

World Be Free

December 15th, 2009
8:00 am

Darkhourse-you know, nobody would be happier to see the LEafs fall on their face but me. Bit i have to give them props for playing hard. Nice to see an American coach (Wilson) make it in Toronto. The idiot Lefa fans have focused so much on the fact that he’s American than on his coaching abilities. Nice to NOT have to hear from the Leaf whiners.

LAC-folks have talked about how Max has thrived since leaving Buffalo, But I say the player that has benefited the most if Slava. He’s out from the under the Buffalo pressure of being “the guy” obtained in the Hasak trade with Detroit. He’s a good guy; this is nice to see.

He’s the next UFA management has to sign after Kovy and Army.