Thrashers and Sabres take game to overtime…again

Ok, so tell me…what is it with the Atlanta Thrashers and Buffalo Sabres having to play every game into overtime? Thursday night’s contest was …what…the seventh time in the last eigh games that the two have needed more than 60 minutes to decide things?

Let’s see…the two of the three times so far this season, then all four last year and the last meeting of the 2007-08 season that the Thrashers won 5-4 in a shootout. And before that, then the last time the Thrashers and Sabres played a game that did not go into overtime was, if I’m not mistaken, back in January of 2008 when…oh yea, that was the 10-1 beat-down in Buffalo.

Ok…I’m fine with OT, then.

Ondrej Pavelec makes one of the 30 saves Thursday night against the Sabres (John Bazemore / AP)

Ondrej Pavelec makes one of the 30 saves Thursday night against the Sabres (John Bazemore / AP)

Thursday night’s 2-1 loss in overtime was disappointing, obviously…but I have to say it’s one of the best-played, most entertaining hockey games I’ve been to all season. The Thrashers played a lot of minutes in Buffalo’s zone… they kept the tempo and pressure up all night… the defense had a solid outing, holding the opposition to just 13 shots in the first 40 minutes of play and 26 during regulation.

But as well as the Thrashers played against a very good Sabres team, and as welcome any points are in the standings, seeing Buffalo skate away with that second point is a giant suck-burger. Just ask John Anderson.

“If you look at the two teams and who could afford [to lose] the [extra] point most, it wasn’t us,” Anderson said after the game. “We need every point we can get right now. It would have been great, but you are really pushing the envelope when you are short-handed that long”.

Ondrej Pavelec was really on his game for much of the night…continuing from the fine outing last Tuesday against Ottawa. He stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced on this night after turning aside 30 of 31 in the 6-1 win over the Senators.

That’s 60 saves on the last 63 shots he’s faced. Nice to see the kid back on top his game.

On the other side of the ice was that Ryan Miller character. In case you haven’t heard, this guy is good great fantastic awesome. All he did was deny the Thrashers 32 times on 33 shots. He didn’t have to face any during overtime, as the Sabres pretty much played the entire two and a half minutes of extra time killing off penalties.

I tell ya what, I can’t wait until next month during the Winter Olympics when I can actually root for this guy as he mans the nets for team USA. If we are going to medal during these games, he and Tim Thomas are going to be the main reasons why.

Both squads did a good job killing penalties…each team being successful 6 times on 7 PK situations. As stated above, it was an overtime 4 on 3 power play goal that won it for Buffalo, Derek Roy with the honors. Ilya Kovalchuk scored Atlanta’s goal while on the man advantage during the second period. His wrister from the left side tied the game with 3:18 left in the second while Chris Butler sat in shame in the sin-bin for high sticking.

The only 5 on 5 goal was scored earlier in the second period when Pavelec was unable to move quickly enough from the right to left post to deal with Patrick Kaleta’s shot. Kaleta was left all alone over on that side and put the puck up high as Opie went down to the ice on his attempt to get over in time.

With the outcome, Atlanta finished up the homestand 2-1-1. Outside of that steaming pile that was left out on the ice last Saturday against the Capitals, they played well for the most part this past week. Two wins over teams we are jockeying with for position in the Eastern Conference and an overtime charity point against a Sabres team that is now 29-11-5.

The Thrashers now head to Carolina for a Saturday game and then make their way to south Florida to play the panthers Monday night before returning to Thrasherville for ames against Toronto and the Canes next week.

115 comments Add your comment

Alan R.

January 15th, 2010
12:29 am

I thought the game went very well, despite the loss. If we continue to play with this sort of intensity, we will win far more than we lose.

Wayne stuck in AL

January 15th, 2010
12:44 am

The crowd was announced at 11,000…Has anyone brought up the fact yet that if the Thrashers don’t get their turnstile count above 14,000 they lose out in revenue sharing?

Alan R.

January 15th, 2010
12:47 am

I think the fans are following the Kovalchuk line of thinking, and are taking a “wait and see” approach. After a nine game losing streak, and seeing Washington mop the ice with us, can you honestly blame them?

hoosier_hoser

January 15th, 2010
12:47 am

Of all the posters on all the boards who have proposed lines, did anybody have:
Kozlov Antropov Bolton

Lee

January 15th, 2010
6:56 am

Great game, but we can’t afford to give points to ther teams in the east.

Eileen

January 15th, 2010
7:04 am

Great game despite having to listen to the Buffalo fans shout as loud as they possibly could. I was hoping Zach B. could have explained why he was outrushed to the play that caused the penalty. Glad to see Pavalec playing so well the last couple of games. Even though it was only 11,000, the crowd was really into it.

TheFan79

January 15th, 2010
7:05 am

Great game last night,but stupid play from Bogosian that left us with a short man.I was hoping for the shootout but maybe next time.

DWTOO

January 15th, 2010
7:42 am

That was one of the most entertaining games of the year. Good back and forth hockey. Good D and we played skate to skate with one of the top teams in the league.

As much as I find the Buffalo fans more than a tad annoying (walking out of the arena yelling and chanting like they won the SC – what old footbal coach said “Act like you’ve been there before”) they do energize the locals and bring an electricity to the arena.

Too bad the game was determined by a marginal call by the zebras. Let ‘em play.

Joshgekko

January 15th, 2010
8:06 am

DWTOO – On the video replay it clearly showed Z-bo with ‘bows to the face.. Bad call by Bogo to go in hard and high.. Still, great game. I’ll take 5 out of 8 points after losing so many..

Joshgekko

January 15th, 2010
8:07 am

And Bill, we won the first game in Buffalo this season in regulation 4-2..

GaVaHokie

January 15th, 2010
8:09 am

Our Power Play is really getting on my nerves now… the last two Power Play goals we have were from break downs in the general scheme… Boulton’s versus Ottawa and Kovalchuk’s last night.

I really wish they’d mix it up more.

Odd Man Rush

January 15th, 2010
8:12 am

Agree with the sentiment regarding the annoying local Sabre fans. If the Thrashers could get a modest level of support through out the season from the local Sabre, Red Wing, Flyers and Penguin fans, our attendance problems (loss of revenue sharing) would be much less daunting.

World Be Free

January 15th, 2010
8:18 am

Agree with others that it was a good game. Had my Thrashers’ jersey on, cheering for Atlanta over my hometown team. Too bad we lost the second point, but it’s tough to beat Buffalo, Miller and their team defense. We still ahd our chances and missed the net alot.

Boris/Doris tried to rush the puck, it was pretty pathetic!

THESE REFS NEED TO GO! What could have been a great game was almost ruined by these guys, calling both teams for sneezing on each other. The OT penalty against Bogo should be grounds for dismissal. Never make marginal calls in OT. Fans don’t come and see refs, they want to see hockey.

Sabres fans are Sabres fans-they do bring energy to the arena and both teams.

World Be Free

January 15th, 2010
8:19 am

Paminski-came up to section 307, C and seats 3 and 4 were empty during the first intermission; catch you next game.

Not Blind

January 15th, 2010
8:20 am

The numbers of northern team fans in the stands has always rankled. If your home city is so great go back.

TableHockey

January 15th, 2010
8:21 am

I agree with Eileen – I thought the fans were really into it. I thought the Thrashers played hard the whole game. In fact if I’m not mistaken we ended regulation with about 10 SOG over the Sabres. Of course that gap closed during the OT/Penalty kill.

I did think it was a bit odd how quick the refs were breaking up any scrums on the ice.

HonkyTonkHero

January 15th, 2010
8:23 am

Really fun game to be at last night. Man I would have loved to win that game…its just more fun leaving the arena and not having to listen to those Buffablow fans. I remember vividly the last game of the 08-09 season verses them where we beat them while they were making a playoff run. I remember how rowdy their fans became and some of the skirmishes that arose from the stands. That was a blast…makes for some fun hockey nights. I’m normally a pretty mellow fellow but games against Buffablow just bring out the redneck in me.

To all the Buffallo fans….I’m glad that the South has been good to you. Being that the South rescued you from snow shoveling and unemployment please make sure you come out and support the Thrashers when they are playing other teams. At least a few games a season.

TableHockey

January 15th, 2010
8:24 am

Oh yeah – and it’s great to see the Thrasher’s very own Ilya Nikulin playing in the KHL All-Star game – ummm well not really…

Jimbo

January 15th, 2010
8:31 am

Good game that really reinforces the message that WINNING TEAMS BUILD FROM THE GOAL OUT. Ryan Miller is one of the best and their D. is rock solid. The Hedberg/Pavelec duo are too streaky for us to contend. What in the world is wrong with Bogosian? It’s more than a wrist. He seems to have lost more than a step and is playing like Clutch and Grab Devries. And, while Schubert hits and provides some grit, he should not be on the ice at the end of a close game. He is PP (penalty predictable).

Ice Daddy

January 15th, 2010
8:31 am

Didn’t get to the arena last night so I had the benefit of replay. Most of the calls by the refs were legit. I think our team has turned a corner and are poised for a run. The only thing missing now is cutting down on the penalties. While Bogo’s penalty probably hurt the most, being on the penalty kill (especially the 5 on 3’s) as much as we were last night cut significantly down on our opportunities to attack. Just because we kill a penalty and don’t give up a goal doesn’t mean the penalty didn’t hurt us. Those 2 minutes are 2 minutes where we are restricted in what we can do offensively.

I’m glad to see Pavelec doing so well of late. I’m guessing his problems earlier this season were probably in his head and he’s got his confidence back now. Last night’s loss will not hurt that confidence given how well he played.

DWTOO

January 15th, 2010
8:39 am

WBF – Way to go on your conversion from the Dark Side. Wearing the Thrash sweater last night is commendable. Proud of you! I know it’s hard and had the same ephiphany(sp?) myself. Although no one feels for a Flyers fan.

Good point HTH – that’s the way we conver these folks. Come out more often.

To all those who continue to think their hometown superior there’s a line from Lewis Grizzard (famous deceased AJC columnist for the newbies) – Delta’s ready when you are! This is where you live now, become part of the hockey community here. We welcome you – we’re Thrsher fans – we’ll take anyone.

DWTOO

January 15th, 2010
8:42 am

And Josh – thanks for the update on Bogo’s penalty. Probably let my wishing filter judgement.

LAC

January 15th, 2010
8:48 am

Good game for the most part, controled most of the play.

However, watch the replay on the zach elbowing call, that is NOT the worst of it. Had he “HUSTLED” it would have been icing on Buffalo with faceoff in their end. Instead, he did what always does, skate back real LAZY, then he got out skated, which is nothing new with him, and the Buffalo player came out of nowhere to challenge him for the puck, the linesman was RIGHT there with the SAFE sign, then the elbow and we lose the game.

This kid has LOST it 100%, he is ALWAYS out of position, Always beaten along the boards, Always looks LOST out there and NEVER hits anyone in front of our net. This is not the first game he has cost us this season either, there have been a few more as well.

I have seen ENOUGH of zach. I know he is a first round pick, he played a whole lot better LAST season than this season, big head, or what,
you should be able to SKATE to beat another player to the puck when you
are in the lead…

I am all for trading him or waiving him, he STINKS, no hustle, no grit , no toughness and on and on and on.

Send him to Chicago but GET RID OF HIM before he costs us MORE games,
he is the WORST defensive liability on the team and I see no
improvement coming, looks like he will be a journeyman defenseman in this league playing for many many teams, best to get him out of here before we lose more because of his stupid mistakes.

Say I am incorrect, but watch his lackluster defensive play and you just might agree.

HonkyTonkHero

January 15th, 2010
9:16 am

DWTOO – Love Lewis Grizzard…..one who is truly gifted with words. Grew up on his comedy. As I like to remind my kids fairly often….we are American by birth….Southern by the grace of God. ;)

LAC – I’m not sure what is wrong with Zbo but I think he needs to be benched for awhile. I say we bring Oystrick up for awhile and let Zach watch from the box. I don’t think we need to get rid of Zach…he has far to much potential. However, he is young and needs to be “checked” often.

StateBird

January 15th, 2010
9:20 am

LAC – You are correct in your assessment of Bogo’s play, especially compared to last year. But to advise trading or waiving a 19 year old with his talent is pure ignorance. If you want to make the same argument for a coaching staff that allows and perpetuates his performance without corrective actions then that would be a reasonable case.

Was clear to me last night that the Kane, Little, Slater line was one of the better combinations I have seen all year. Hope that the staff doesn’t irresponsibly prematuraly break up another combination that works.

RJM

January 15th, 2010
9:24 am

LAC – Great point on Zach’s penalty in OT. I sit in sec 110 and if he had given even the slightest effort, it would have been an icing and an offensive zone face off.

The PK unit did a great job all night, but it was obvious that Hainsy and Pavel were worn out on the OT goal. They came off the faceoff flat footed and just stood around while Buffalo set up the shot. Both of them and Pavlic reacted the wrong way to the misdirection by the Buf point man, moving to the right while the puck went back to the left for the one timer.

Although disappointing at the end, it was a fun and exciting game and I was pleased with the overall effort.

Drew

January 15th, 2010
9:27 am

Time to sit Zach. He needs to watch a little. Maybe he re-learn the game he seemed to have a grasp of earlier. As for the refs – they sucked. Kaleta needs his a– beaten. I hope Boults takes him out next meeting. A Staubitz/Tootoo-style beat down:

http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/63478

Buffalo – your great contribution to the world is greasy chicken wings. Shut the f– up and go back to Antarctica

World Be Free

January 15th, 2010
9:34 am

The best thing to do with Zach is get him a mentor, a player he can learn the game from. Sabres have Rivet and Montador to mentor their younger players, other teams do the same.

We all have to remember this kid is 19 years old. He is asked to carry a pretty heavy burden on this team.

Drew

January 15th, 2010
9:51 am

World Be Free – you are right about the mentoring thing for Z. Matthieu Schneider was perfect guy for that role. Sure as hell isnt any of our other D-men.

GaVaHokie

January 15th, 2010
9:57 am

WBF… wouldn’t Kubina be that person?

R. Stroz

January 15th, 2010
9:57 am

I would like to propose a new poll as to which player belongs on the milk carton, currently I’d recommend Bogosian visit the milk carton.

DWTOO

January 15th, 2010
10:08 am

Would like to compare Bogo to another current D-man, Toby Enstrom. While Enstrom was older coming into the leage, he too had a tremendous first year. The second, not so good. Same habits we’re seeing in Bogo – behind the play, etc. And then in the third year he really blossomed. Believe we’ll see that with Zach B also. I do think he misses MS tho’. And as for Kubina – he could be a mentor, but, not everyone is cut out for teaching. Let’s just have patience.

Drew

January 15th, 2010
10:12 am

I would like to think Pavel is the guy. Someone sure needs to step up.

R. Stroz

January 15th, 2010
10:13 am

WBF – After taking note of your comment the other day of 20 to 30 year old drunk Bills fans and how their behavior compared to your days of youthful exuberance, I realized that the majority of the jerks which I have encountered at Thrashers/Sabres games are 20 to 30 year old drunk Buffalo fans. The Buffalo fans whose age exceeds 30 don’t seem to have the same level of jack@ssedness as the younger ones.

Therefore, you may be onto something. BTW, by the middle of the third period, Section 222 had four police officers posted in front of us keeping an eye on a bunch of 20 to 30 year old drunk Buffalo fans in Section 221 who were offered the choice of behaving or leaving the premises.

LAC

January 15th, 2010
10:35 am

Well maybe I was a little harsh on zach… BUT he needs to SIT for 4-5 games and reflect on his lazy play. If he had skated HARD after the puck we would very likely be talking about a victory last night instead of another LOSS. His injury may have been to his wrist, 19 year old kids should be able to skate like the wind, last night looked like
a LAZY play to me. But he needs to SIT for several games !

Rawhide

January 15th, 2010
10:37 am

Joshgekko – Yes, you are correct…there was the 4-2 win in Buffalo last October. I remember that this morning as I was driving the tax exemption to the DMV to get his drivers license. I’ve ammended the post now…thanks.

HonkyTonkHero- Great to have met you last night…thanks for coming by and introducing yourself.

World Be Free

January 15th, 2010
10:38 am

Drew-Great point; I thought Schieder had a big influence on Bogo. He seem to make the greatest strides while playing with Schnieder. After Schnieder left, Bogo took off last year.

GaVa-you would think Kubina, but that’s not his style. I sat 3 rows behind the Thrashers’ bench last night; it amazes me the lack of conversation that occurs on our bench. As a former player, I can tell you that good teams communicate constantly during a game, especially in tight games like last night.

Stroz-Sabres crowds in Buffalo were famous be being polite way back when. The team was owned by the Knox brothers, heirs to Woolworth’s fortune. The Knoxs were 2 classy guys that mingled in the crowd. Back then, if you swore out loud during a Sabres game, you were tossed! Can you imagine today? I have to think the home crowds aren’t so civil anymore.

Bills’ game remind me of that Patrick Swayze movie “RoadHouse”.

Eileen

January 15th, 2010
10:40 am

I agree with LAC on Zach (as I mentioned in my previous comment). I don’t always see all the plays clearly, but I kept yelling “hustle” as he skated rather casually to the puck that led to the play where he got the penalty. Also, one more comment on the Buffalo fans. Often times we have a large group of fans from another city. However, they do not boo the home team. I sat near some real “winners”–dripping sacrcasm. They seemed to enjoy booing the Thrashers. Since I couldn’t stand it one more minute I questioned one of them as to whether they lived in Buffalo. OF COURSE NOT! I guess you could say they got under my skin. I will say they lack class.

DWTOO

January 15th, 2010
10:47 am

We attended a Philly – Buffalo game in the late 70’s in the old Aud. Great place. Even cheering for Philly I do not recall being treated anything but politely. Of course with just two fo us we really didn’t want to draw attention. even had a good experience in a local bar after the game.

Also saw the Moody Blues at the Aud. Am i dating mysef?

DWTOO

January 15th, 2010
10:49 am

When reading Stroz’s remarks about the B fans near him I recall the famous words of Dean Wormer to Flounder – Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son.

R. Stroz

January 15th, 2010
10:51 am

WBF – The funniest moment last night occurred when the police officers came up to escort the Buffalo fans in Section 221 from the arena. Those of us in Section 222 asked the police officers NOT to make them leave but just be a little more civil. When the 20 year olds Buffalo fans realized we were trying to stop the police from throwing them out, the Buffalo kids proclaimed “we’ve just become Thrasher fans.” At which point, I proclaimed “we turned them into Christians, down with Mohamed.” Everyone laughed and the tone turned considerably more civil.

R. Stroz

January 15th, 2010
10:56 am

DWTOO – You’re not dating yourself, the Moody Blues are playing at the Fox in March. Your Animal House reference was great.

WBF – If you get tickets three rows behind the Thrashers bench again, could I have your seat for just one period, please, please, please.

Eileen

January 15th, 2010
11:06 am

Just for the record. I am a very big Zach B. fan. The kid looked really dejected after the game skating to the dressing room. Let’s hope he can tweak his game. Afterall he is only 19 years old. (Rawhide, I am participating more per your request!). I hope you all have a wonderful day in the beautiful sunny and fairly warm south today (Go Home Buffalo-I couldn’t resist!)

Riceowls8891

January 15th, 2010
11:13 am

I blame Rawhide for moving seats. Back, I say, back. :)

R. Stroz

January 15th, 2010
11:16 am

Eileen – If you are a season ticket holder or ticket package holder, more than likely the usher at your portal is accustomed to you being at Thrasher games. The next time some fans “take things too far” go to the usher and address the problem. This is exactly what happened last night in Section 221. A couple of Thrasher season ticket holders went to the usher, and boom, the Sabres fans were asked to leave the premises. Subsequently, the Sabres fans decided to behave.

Thrasher customer service is more inclined to make Thrasher season ticket holders happy instead of tolerating the drunk Sabres fans who show up twice a year.

Or you could do what I do to annoying Sabre fans, scream “you know how I know Buffalo sucks, because you wont go home.”

Paminski

January 15th, 2010
11:24 am

WBF – Figures. That’s when I got a beer. I left the spouse there, but he may have moved. Sorry. That’s a long trek! If there’s a bright center to the universe, those seats are on the planet that it’s farthest from. I’ll be at the game next Thur too.

There was very little done wrong that game. However, I propose a new addition to post-game summaries. The three stars are great, but how about the “Three Fails” for each game? For this one, they are all penalty-related.

Fail #3: Blind and deaf? I wanna be a ref!
Fail #2: Shootbert needs to sit one or two games and calm down a minute. He’s taking too many penalties and delay of games are unacceptable.
Fail #1: Bogosian Explosion’s OT penalty. Two points may have been ours without that this. The game-loser.

Aside from the fails, Boris looked fairly decent. I’m not his biggest fan, but this was one of his better efforts. There were a lot good things all around, SOG, saves, time in their zone…everything except a win.

Paminski

January 15th, 2010
11:26 am

One more thing, even as a Buffalo-born fan, I still enjoy annoying them. Yelling “Salt the Slugs” was my personal highlight. The group of seven in front of me just ignored me tho. Sigh.

Paminski

January 15th, 2010
11:32 am

DWTOO – I saw all my 1st concerts at the aud, but the very first was Jethro Tull with Mom when I was 12.

Darren

January 15th, 2010
11:34 am

I don’t know about y’all, but despite the one PP goal by Kovy, I think I’ve seen enough of that “Thrashers Power Play: 0 shots” graphic to last me a long time. Those missed opportunities are proving to be costly in the standings.

Bob

January 15th, 2010
11:47 am

“Boris looked fairly decent. I’m not his biggest fan, but this was one of his better efforts.”

Eh, he was awful. I watched the game on DVR and the one penalty Schubert took was due to Boris putting him in a terrible position by making one of his patented hot potatoe passes across the zone right into Schubert how had a Buffablow player draped all over him. Get Salmela in and Boris out, he can’t play in Anderson’s system.

Pavelec did only allow 2, but he had me nervous all night. Gave up tons of big rebounds and was terribly out of position on that first goal. I think our only chance is if Kari comes back soon and plays lights out. Moose and Pavelec have the odd good night, but they’re not night in and night out goalies.

Miller was outstanding in net, that’s a goalie.

Anyone miss White last night? Didn’t think so, keep him on the bench.