Pavelec shines, White gets off milk carton as Thrashers pound Ottawa

There are so many great things to discuss on this winning night…Ondrej Pavelec’s strong performance in goal…Eric Boulton’s first ever power play goal…lots of great work from all players on the ice…and even a real-life, honest-and-for-true regulation win for the Atlanta Thrashers, something that hasn’t happened since November 30.

But I simply have to start out with Todd White, who scored his first goal since October 29. That’s right, after 34 games without lighting the lamp…he netted a dandy of a goal 122 seconds into the second period, giving the Thrashers a 4-1 lead at the time. White finished with two points on one shot on goal and a +1.

The big moment came after Slava Kozlov fed him from the right corner…all alone, White then lifted the pick over the shoulder of Brian Elliot, who had just entered the game in relief of Pascal Leclaire.

And of course, the goal also officially gets him off the milk carton…which is great news indeed as most law enforcement agencies say that when someone goes missing for this long, it normally doesn’t turn out very well.

All joking aside though, congrats Todd…I hope it’s the first of many more the rest of the way.

Halfway through the first period though, it looked like White’s night might have been finished. He tweaked his right knee during a face off in the offensive zone and needed assistance off the ice. Fortunately, however, he was bale to return after the break.

Boris Valabik congratulates Ondrej Pavelec after the Thrashers 6-1 win over Ottawa (AP Photo/John Amis)

Boris Valabik congratulates Ondrej Pavelec after the Thrashers 6-1 win over Ottawa (AP Photo/John Amis)

But the Thrasher that shined above all others in this game was Ondrej Pavelec, who turned aside 30 of the 31 shots the Senators took…many of them of the outstanding variety. As this game went on, Opie started to look more and more like the player we saw in October and November…strong, confident and resilient…fantastic game out of the kid.

“It was special for me”, Pavelec said afterwards. “It was a big game. We needed the points”.

Counting the game played in Ottawa on Halloween, Pavs has turned aside 80 of 82 shots taken on him in the last two games against the Senators…a .976 SV% in those two matches.

Atlanta played 54:59 of this game with only five defensemen as Christoph Schubert was given a game misconduct for boarding Jonathan Cheechoo at the 5:01 mark of the first period. Schubert had seen just 37 seconds of playing time before being sent off. The team did a great job killing off the five-minute all-you-can-score Ottawa power play that resulted in the major penalty…it was cut short by an Alex Kovalev slashing call with 1:42 remaining in the Sens’ man advantage.

Atlanta was successful on both PK situations and scored once on their five power play chances.

Captain Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 26th goal of the season and tossed in a pair of assists as well, finishing the game a +3 with 5 SOG. Pavel Kubina and Toby Enstrom provided scores from the blueline while Bryan Little’s blast from the right circle gave him his sixth goal of the season.

Ron Hainsey was a +4 with an assists during 24:13 TOI.

And how about that bout between Eric Boulton and Chris Neil, eh? The two went skate to skate and exchanged blow after blow before Bolts eventually took him to the ice. One of the better scraps so far this season.

This was as near of a complete games as we’ve seen from these guys in quite a while. Coach John Anderson apparently got these guys attention during the unscheduled practice Sunday morning…one that wasn’t exactly a happy time for his players. Hopefully, he can keep his players this focused for quite some time.

Ottawa came into the game with several key players out…captain Daniel Alfredsson is nursing an injured shoulder, Filip Kuba missed his second game with an Upper body injury and Milan Michalek missed his third with the same. Jason Spezza and Jesse Winchester are both out long-term with knee injuries.

But Anderson wasn’t losing any sleep over any of that. “I’ve got my own struggles. I don’t worry about Ottawa”, Anderson said.. “They are not spending too much time worrying about us”.

Nope…and I would imagine the Northeast Division-leading Buffalo Sabres aren’t spending any time fretting over Anderson’s team either. They’ll be making their way to Thrasherville Thursday night.

114 comments Add your comment

Spud Webb

January 14th, 2010
2:53 pm

Good luck tonight> I believe I’ll be in 114!!!
Always a GREAT game with these 2 teams!!!!!


January 14th, 2010
2:54 pm

Oh snap, sorry Opie! Didn’t mean to write “he will seize” like he’ll freeze up and let in 4 goals in the first period. I meant he will seize the opportunity. Typing too fast thinking about the bourbon and not having to work tomorrow!


January 14th, 2010
3:25 pm

Opie Optimism, I like it. I also have this sketchy case of Kovy Konfidence after seeing some of Grossman’s tweets yesterday, I think we really are getting the straight story from Waddell, for once, and it’s really just about money and not about Kovy just wanting out. If that’s all it is, they’ll cut a deal and there’s just a lot brinksmanship going on (albeit screwing over the team mojo in the process).

Room 222, there’s a blast from the past, used to love that show as a kid, I feel old now, thanks for nuthin, Rawhide!

I’ll be in my man cave cheering on Opie, most likely on DVR after the kids hit the bed. I may join Smoothie in the bourbon, though.


January 14th, 2010
3:39 pm

Good man Bob! That’s the only way to drink at games if you ask me! Hell, they even have refills on sodas now! Or did they always do that and I just didn’t notice. Anyways, drinking for $10 is a heckuva lot better than drinking 3 or 4 beers for $25 with tips.

Opie is a nice young man and I want to see him do great. I really do think he has a long future even with Lehts’ imminent return. I want both goalies to make DWad’s decision as hard as possible if and when we have to make a trade of an asset.

But let’s hope everyone (well, almost everyone) re-signs and we can keep this thing rolling in the “right direction” as the young whipper-snappers like Kane, Little, Bogo and Ondrej evolve into savvy vets. We just need more sandpaper and replacements for aging vets (you know who you are!). But deep down I believe this team has another good stretch of hockey in them. Now is the time to show everyone else including Kovy. March COULD be a lot of fun down at Blueland but we must take care of business between now and February 6.

Hockey Biltong

January 14th, 2010
3:44 pm

WBF I am working tonight. Usually we are in 120.


January 14th, 2010
3:56 pm

Nikita – Hey…I was just thinking of something. In the spirit of other regulars here who have moved away from the metro Atlanta area, shouldn’t you now post under the name “Nikita (in PA)“?

You know…like ranallo10 (in AT) and Buzilla (in CT).

Just sayin’…

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
4:05 pm

Biltong-we’ll hoist one for you tonight.

Smoothie-I am more a Thrashers fan than Sabres and I never thought I’d say that. But the Thrash boys need our support more than the Sabres do, so I am a Thrashers fan.

My buddies in Buffalo tell me that Buffalo Bills games are so bad these days, because of the drunks. This is a new breed of drunk, 20-30 year olds. It was never like that when we had season tickets, except for the end zones of course. Like my brother sez, in Buffalo, everything evolves around alcohol.

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
4:07 pm

Hey smoothie, I HATE the Slug jersye. That must have been Darcy Regier’s idea, looks like something he would like. I always liked the black jerseys, best design. Sabres have played like wimps since they went to thise jersey.

They need to bring back the jersey with the bottle cap from the old Buffalo Bisons AHL days. Now that’s a jersey!


January 14th, 2010
9:37 pm

Call me delusion if you will,…but I’m with Bob in that I’m feeling a bit more hopeful that Kovy stays in thrasher blue.

Buffalo OT goal,…bummer

Nikita (in PA)

January 14th, 2010
9:37 pm

If you say so.

What’s the AT for? Is ranallo hiking the Appalachian Trail?


January 14th, 2010
9:40 pm

Well if there is ANYONE out there who now does NOT think this zach b. clown should either be in the minors or traded PLEASE speak up.

He is THE worst defenseman in the entire NHL, Always OUT OF POSITION, SLOW, his inability to HUSTLE on what would have been ICING cost US the game, I say trade him for anything or waive him, HE STINKS and has all season, Who cares if he is 19, other 19 year olds are making it.

Please go away zach before you cost us MORE games you are TERRIBLE !


January 14th, 2010
11:03 pm

Not a bad game at all, tonight. We played a better team. We came away with a point. A win would have been better. But hey … at least it wasn’t a disasterous loss.


January 14th, 2010
11:04 pm

Nikita, Ranallo10 is in Austria, I believe. I’m starting to wonder if he got married and it now setting the record for the longest honeymoon?

R. Stroz

January 14th, 2010
11:32 pm

The difference in the game tonight was Ryan Miller. Miller’s rebound control and positioning were phenomenal.

The Thrashers actually played better than the Sabres, however, ill timed stupid penalties made the difference. A team can’t play most of the overtime period on the penalty kill and expect to win.