The “LAB Line”…that’s what Thrashers TV commentator Darren Eliot referred to the line that is made up of Bryan Little, Nik Antropov and Niclas Bergfors…which I think is very appropriate given that they have found great chemistry together and the experiment of putting them together has so far proven to be a great success.
Friday night in Minee-SOH-Tah, they again brewed up some magic to help propel the Thrashers to a 3-2 win over the Wild…the first time ever that Atlanta has come out of that state’s capital with a win.
Bergie’s blast at the 11:05 mark of the third period broke a 2-2 tie and provided the winning margin…it was the second time he’s scored a game-winner since coming over to the Thrashers along with teammate Johnny Oduya, who got the secondary assist on the goal. Little’s pass from center ice sprung Bergfors toward the goal up the right hand side.
Bergie has gotten of 15 shots on goal and is a +3 in the four games played since joining the squad. He’s making the #18 jersey look as good as it has since…since…well…since…hmmmmmm, oh what was that guys name again that used to wear that number around here a few years ago?
Oduya’s assist was his second point in as many games and finished Friday night with a +1 rating. He continues to play very solid on the blueline, helping to stabilize that normally shaky aspect of this team.
The two are obviously making the best of this “it is what it is” situation, eh?
Earlier in the game, Nik Antropov’s tip of Pavel Kubina’s shot tied the game at 2-2 in the first period. Evander Kane…who played a hellova game against the Wild…opened the scoring 8:43 into the game. Kubina finished with two assists.
Big moment in the game was late in the first period. The Wild had erased the Thrashers 1-0 early lead and taken a 2-1 advantage with goals by Andrew Brunette…an original Thrasher…and Andrew Ebbett . Then came a 4-minute high stick call against Eric Boulton. Going down 3-1 would have been un-good…but they negated Minnesota’s man-advantage after Marel Zidlicky committed a high-stick infraction of his own.
Shortly after Zidlicky scooted off it the sin-bin, Maxim Afinogenov’s hustle drew a holding penalty from Shan Hnidy, another former Thrasher…and in just 1:58, Atlanta had gone from a 4-minute penalty kill situation to a 4 on 3 power play.
That’s when Kubina and Antropov made the Wild pay, tying the score with just 14 seconds left before the first intermission.
Quite a swing of events.
Arturs Kulda looked sharp in his first NHL start…he played with a good deal of confidence. One play that sticks out in mind mind came in the third period when he steamrolled a Minnesota forward in front of our goal. Being physical on defense and knocking opponents out from in front of the goalie…now there’s a concept, eh?
Johan Hedberg made start number 27 on the season, and in saving 36 of 38 SOG he improved his record to 14-9-5 with a 2.56 GAA and .916 SV%. If the Thrashers are to make a serious playoff run next month, it looks like it’ll be upon the back of the Moose.
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Ondrej Pavelec is scheduled to start Saturday night in Chicago given the back-to-back games, but it is interesting to note that while Opie will be facing the Blackhawk for the first time ever, Moose is 4-1-0 lifetime versus the Hawks with a 2.34 GAA and .911 SV% in six games played.
This back-to-back set of games will be the tenth such time the Thrashers have played on consecutive nights this season. In the previous nine they have gone 6-1-2 in the tail end game.
With the two point secured in Minnesota, they now have 61 points after 59 games played. That is 13 points better then the 48 points they had after this many games last season. If they wind up with 13 points more than last year after 82 games, they’ll have 89.
The victory also puts them two points out of a playoff position in the conference with one game left before the Olympic break. They remain tied with the Rangers who beat Pittsburgh 3-2 in overtime.
Kovy Gets Off Schnide In His ’New Jersey’
In case you missed it, Ilya Kovalchuk notched his first goal as a member of the New Jersey Devils. His third period goal broke a 2-2 tie with Nashville in the third period…the Devils went on to win 5-2.
Viewing Party at TJs
Saturday night’s game will mean another viewing party out at TJ’s Bar and Grill located on Holcomb Bridge Road in Alpharetta. As always, Tim and Mark Ecclestone and all of the wonderful staff will certainly provide their normal great service and the Thrashers Fan Club will be bringing the party atmosphere.
If you can make it, I know you’ll have a great time. I won’t be able to be there myself as I will be out on a Valentines Eve date with the Divine Mrs. R. However, I’ll catch the replay upon our return home.