Wasn’t it about a year or so ago that the Toronto Maple Leafs came to town, built a nice lead after the first period…only to see the Thrashers steam back to win? In fact, I believe that was the game that I asked if alien beings had abducted the players from the home locker room, took over their bodies and returned to the ice in the second period…because the team that played the last 40 minutes plus overtime was not the same one that played the first twenty.
Well, although the Thrashers did not play as bad this time during the first period….they still went into the locker room trailing 2-0, thanks to a pair of goals by Alexei Ponikarovski.
However, just like last year, they came out in the second and kicked it up a notch in order to net a win. The final score was exactly the same as last years comeback win…4-3…and just like last January, Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice while Rich Peverley chipped in one himself.
Kovy scored first for Atlanta with a bullet from the left point to cut Toronto’s lead to 2-1. His second goal of the night gave the Thrashers a 4-2 lead in the third after Chris Thorburn intercepted a wayward Leafs pass in center ice. Kovy took Thorburn’s feed into the attacking zone and rocketed the puck past Vesa Toskala from the right circle. They were goals number 29 and 30 for Ilya and his assist on Peverley’s power play goal gives him 56 points on the season.
Assuming he plays in the Thrashers 33 remaining games, Kovalchuk on pace for right at 99 or 100 points.
The captain’s play caught coach Anderson’s attention. “That was the best game I’ve seen Kovy play in two weeks”, Anderson said. “I guess he felt good…he always plays good but that was special”.
As for Kovalchuk, he was more than willing to deflect much of the credit to Ondrej Pavelec, who had another fine start…stopping 37 of 40 Maple Leafs shots. “Pavelec made some unbelievable saves and the penalty kill stopped them in the final minute,” Kovalchuk said. “It was a team effort. If we work like we did tonight, we’re going to win a lot of games”.
Also scoring for Atlanta was Evander Kane. His nifty wrap-around job halfway through the second tied the game at two. It was his first goal since New Years night in Buffalo.
Atlanta’s penalty kill unit was successful on all five Toronto man advantage opportunities. The Thrashers went 1 for 7 on the power play…however, Kovalchuk’s first goal of the night came just three seconds after Ponikarovski has exited the sin-bin after his hooking penalty 40 seconds into the period.
With the win, the Thrashers leapfroged back over Florida into second place in the Southeast…both teams now having played 49 games. They remain tied with Philadelphia…who thumped Columbus 5-3… in the ninth and tenth spots in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have 51 points, though Philly has played one less game, and they trail the eighth place New York Islanders by one single point…New York having played 50 games.
This was a great win by the Thrashers tonight, one that they really…and I mean realllllllly…needed in a bad way.
Viewing Party at TJs
So…whatcha doin’ Saturday night? Well, how about joining us at TJ’s bar and grill located on Holcomb Bridge Road to watch the Thrashers take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. As they normally do, the Atlanta Thrashers fan Club will be putting on quite the party and Tim, Mark and the entire staff will certainly be providing their normal top-notch service.
Is the opportunity to hang with yours truly and other regular posters around here not enough to persuade you? Well, how about 15% off your food and beverages?
Uh-huh….That’s what I thought. See ya’ll there.
So…I’m walking out of Philips Arena last night and holding the door for me was James Brown.
No…not that James Brown. He’s a self-described “lurker” on this blog and it was very, very nice to make his acquaintance…along with the three lovely ladies he was with.
I guess it’s only natural that I would meet someone with the name James Brown on a night like this, because after such a nice win by the Thrashers….
OWWWWwwwwww….I feel good!