There are sometimes your team comes away with the consolation point for losing in overtime and you feel fortunate to get it. Then there are nights like Monday when the point gained is more of a disappointment than anything else.
Leads of 1-0 and 3-2 late were not protected…the opposition was on its heels most night…but in the end it wasn’t put away and I watched as the Habs skated away with that all-important second point in the standings, feeling much like I did in the 11th grade after trying attempting failingonce again to get Debbie Hesslafielder to go out on a date with me.
Rejected, frustrated, turned away and denied…again.
In a complete reversal from last Saturday night’s 5-4 loss to New Jersey, the Thrashers came out Monday night and controlled most of the game versus the Montreal Canadiens, outshooting them 50-23 for the game…18-3 in the first period alone.
I don’t know what is more impressive here…the fact that the Thrashers were able to get off 50 SOG or that they held the opposition to so few. Hmmmm….I guess all it took was C-Viv calling them out in this piece, eh?
Regardless, it’s just an absolute bummer to see the team play as well as they did for so much of the night but not be able to come out of it with the two points for a win.
Getting the nod between the pipes for Montreal, Jaroslav Halak was able to stop 47 of the 50 Thrashers shots as he improved his record to 8-5-0 and improving his saves percentage to .916.
Ilya Kovalchuk played as good as I’ve seen for several weeks now…he had a lot of jump in his game, scoring once on 5 shots.
Nik Antropov score twice in the third period’s opening 104 seconds. The second one was while on a Thrashers power play created when Jaroslav Spacek was forced to hook Zach Bogosian as he sliced and diced his way in towards Montreal’s goal.
They were Nik’s 8th and 9th goals of the season and he has now scored in four straight games and six of the last seven. Good to see this big guy starting to deposit the biscuit in the basket with regularity.
Maxim Afinogenov was like a man possessed out on the ice Monday night…twice he made strong moves into the net from the right side. He was credited with an assist on Kovalchuk’s goal and had 3 shots, finishing a +1.
Zach Bogosian took a very untimely hooking penalty with just 2:09 remaining in the third and Atlanta up 3-2. Marc-Andre Bergeron made the mistake a very costly one just 24 seconds into Montreal’s man advantage.
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Bergeron then ended the game in overtime by taking a pass from Andrei Markov during a 2 on 1 break and beating Johan Hedberg on the only shot the Canadiens took in OT. The goal was reviewed in Toronto as the net came off it’s moorings during the play, but it was rightfully held up.
“I tried to get my leg over there but I couldn’t reach. He ran into me and got pushed into the post,” Hedberg said. “I felt like it was a good goal.”
The Thrashers coach summed up the game by saying, “We did exactly what we wanted to do the whole game. It was just one of those games…the hockey gods weren’t with us”.
The point earned gives the Thrashers 40 on the season after 35 games…10 behind Washington and just one in front of Florida in the Southeast Division following the Panthers 4-1 win over the Flyers. Atlanta has 3 games in hand with Florida, however.
They are still in 6th place in the Eastern Conference standings…tied with Ottawa who has played 36 games. Boston is in 5th place and the Thrashers will pay the Bruins a visit Wednesday night to kick off the great 7-game holiday Trip-A-Paloosa. After games in Tampa Bay and New Jersey, Atlanta will return to Beantown next week before finishing the road trip out in Buffalo, Long Island and Pittsburgh after New Years.
The Bruins, Bolts, Devils, Buffalo, Islanders and Penguins…not a true “softie” in that bunch, so the Thrashers will indeed have their work cut out for them.
Saturday Night Viewing Party at TJs
TJs will again be the location of the next Thrashers Viewing Party…this Saturday night, the day after Christmas…when the team makes it’s way down to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning.
A live DJ will be there to rock the place like Philips Arena and prizes will be raffled off including tickets to upcoming games in January.
If you plan on attending, please join me in bringing canned good items to donate to help re-stock the shelves for those in need in the area. Those who bring 5 or more canned items will receive a special raffle ticket for a special autographed prize.
Looking forward to seeing everyone there!