The Thrashers losing streak officially ended Thursday night when they defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in a shootout that took five rounds. Slava Kozlov and Bryan Little converted on their shootout chances and when Johan Hedberg forced Michael Del Zotto to miss on his attempt… ding-dong, the streak was dead!
And there was much rejoicing around Thrasherville!
Scoring the Thrashers only goal during 65 minutes of play was none other than Jimmy Slater, who is responsible for all three of the goals scored by Atlanta in the past two games. He was last off Schnide Island…not counting Boris Valabik who has missed most of the season due to an ankle injury…but he seems to making up for the slow start.
Slates now has 4 goals in his 22 games played.
Defensively, this was one of the best games from the Thrashers blueline in a very long time. Zach Bogosian and Ron Hainsey especially had strong games as they helped hold the Rangers to but 26 shots in regulation. Anssi Salmela is starting to play with a lot more confidence and his scrappy, edgy play on this night was very nice indeed.
The blueline and Hedberg held a team to fewer than 3 goals for the first time in twelve games. The last time was when Hedberg bested the Rangers in New York 3-2…also in a shootout…back on December 14. They allowed fewer than two goals for the first time since Moose and the Thrashers beat the Panthers 2-1 in a shootout back on December 5.
For the game, Hedberg turned away 29 of the Rangers 30 shots…including all four taken in the 5-minute overtime. With the win, he improved his record to 10-6-3 and he now sports a nifty 2.53 GAA and .916 SV%.
You folks starting to understand why I suggested Anderson ride the Moose a few weeks back?
Atlanta’s offense was able to get off 32 shots on rookie Chad Johnson, who performed extremely well in his first ever NHL start. He stopped the first 26 shots that he faced until Slater’s breakaway beat him at the 6:06 mark of the third period.
Rich Peverley had a pant-load of chances in this game. One such opportunity came in the first period he was all alone on the left side with an open net to shot at…but Johnson made a fantastic effort diving to his right and was able to get his paddle in front of the shot to deny Pavs of his 14th goal of the season.
Peverley led the Thrashers with 5 shots on goal.
Meanwhile, Todd White again went without a goal for the 33rd consecutive game and was able to get off one shot on Johnson His photo on the milk carton will remain a fixture on these post-game logs until he finally shows back up and scores.
Remember, January 26th is this blogs official over/under game for White’s next goal…I have the “over”.
The Thrashers penalty kill unit killed off all three Rangers power plays. Atlanta has now denied goals to opponents on 14 of their last 15 man-advantage chances during the past four games.
And finally…Atlanta’s last five wins have come in overtime or via the shootout and still have not won a regulation game since November 30. But on this night, it just doesn’t matter…they are the one’s that skated away with the second point and that’s all that really mattered on this night.