Johan Hedberg may be just less than four months shy of his 37th birthday, but one thing is for sure…he’s not showing any signs of slowing down due to his escalation in years. In fact, he’s playing with the enthusiasm and agility of a goalie 10-12 years his junior.
After Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, Hedberg has now gone three straight starts in which he has allowed the opposition but one single goal. Combined with last weekend’s game in Tampa Bay and last weeks start in south Florida, he’s stopped 82 of 85 shots faced in those trio of games…which calculates to a .967 SV% and 0.98 GAA in 183 minutes of play.
Going back over his previous five starts, he has four games in which he’s only allowed one goal per as on January 7 he turned aside 29 of 30 New York Rangers shots on the way to a 2-1 shootout victory. As you’ll recall, that win snapped the nine-game holiday losing skid the Thrasher were on.
Even counting the debacle against the Caps on the 9th, he has a .935 SV% and 1.76 GAA in his last five outings. Overall for the season, he is now 11-8-4 with a 2.46 GAA and .917 SV%.
Although Ondrej Pavelec has performed much better of late, Hedberg play between the pipes has by far been the most consistent between the two. And as I have opined before, if the Thrashers are going to get through “Kari Down ‘09-’10″ and still be in a position to make a playoff run…they are going to have to do so riding the Moose.
Unlike last week’s disappointments in Tampa and Sunrise, Florida…the team was able to reward their goaltender with a win as Colby Armstrong netted the game’s first goal and Maxim Afinogenov’s power play tally in the third gave them just enough offensive production to carry them through.
Max’s goal snapped an Oh-fer fourteen stretch of fruitless man advantage opportunities for the Thrashers. For the night, they were 1 for 4 on the power play while successfully denying Anaheim on all four of their power play chances.
“Before the game we spoke about we wanted the power play to get going and how it’s going to win the game,” Afinogenov said afterward. “We just tried to shoot more and I think its working. We got a couple of shots…The puck was bouncing there for me. I just tried to put it into the net and it worked”.
As for the win itself, Moose remarked, “It’s a big win for us tonight…We’ve been deserving to win the last few weeks, and tonight we managed to get the extra goal. Hopefully that’s what we need to put us on a roll here”.
Well…if it’s a “roll” the Thrashers are to get on, it’ll have to be continued Thursday night in Philadelphia, where the Thrashers last won a game…hmmm…when was it…the Hoover administration? Maybe I’ll have Trixie look that up in the morning.
Of course, it was just last November 28 that Atlanta finally snapped their long losing streak to the Flyers…a 1-0 shutout authored by Hedberg in which he stopped all 34 shots that got though on his goal. Two night’s later, he helped the Thrashers to a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers.
Why is that significant? Well…that was the last time Atlanta has put together back-to-back regulation wins.
Given his play this season…and especially of late…my hope is that the team will once again be riding the Moose into Philly and he and the Thrashers can drop that little streak off as well.
Yes folks…we have a star in our midst. Our very own Mr. Heat Miser has made the cover of Atlanta Magazine….just scroll down towards the bottom and you’ll see him and his hair in all it’s flaming glory! It’s a part of their “67 things every Atlantan must do”.
Seeing that Mr. Heat Miser…a pround member of the Nasty Nest has graced the cover of that publication, I guess one of the 67 manditory things is to partake in the “You Suck” chant down to an opposing goalie at Philips Arena.
Congrats Heater…you just remember all us little people now that you’ve made the big time!