Newbies help Thrashers dispose of Islanders 6-3

That giant skid mark smeared all over the ice of Philips Arena was what remained of a New York Islanders team that are finding themselves falling father and farther out of the playoff picture. They came into Thursday night’s game losing seven of their last ten and the Thrashers, who have been heading in the opposite direction of late, took advantage of some early chances to push New York right out the back door…in the end, dropping them 6-3.

Playing major roles in flushing the Islander were newbies Evgeny Artyukhin, Clarke MacArthur, playing their first games as Thrashers, and Niclas Bergfors…a veteran on seven whole games now.

The Antropov-Little-Bergfors line was responsible for the first two goals. At 5:01 into the first period, Bergie notched the game’s first goal on a nice pass from the right side of the net by Little… Antropov earning the secondary assist.

That Bergie kid, all he does is score goals. He’s got four now in his seven games as a Thrasher.

Maxim Afinogenov scores goal number XX of the season against the Islanders (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Maxim Afinogenov scores goal number 20 of the season against the Islanders (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Antropov then netted goal number two for Atlanta 3:47 later, cracking one off from the left circle… Little again with the assist off a fine pass from the right circle.

But shortly after the fans backside’s had found their way back into their seats, just 25 seconds later MacArthur scored his first goal as a Thrasher to make the score 3-0. The play was set up by a forechecking Maxim Afinogenov behind New York’s goal to get the puck out in front of Dwayne Roloson.

It was the last shot Rolo would see on the night as he was lifted in favor of Martin Biron..the decision coming as the Islander troops were massing at the bench for a timeout. Roloson allowed four goals on seven shots during his 9:16 TOI and it was the second game in a row that the Thrashers caused their opponents to burn their timeout before the first intermission.

But much to the Islanders dismay, the goalie switch wasn’t enough to stop the bleeding as just over five minutes later Afinogenov took a Peverley pass crossing the blueline and buried a shots past Biron to give the Thrashers a four-goal lead.

This type of fast start is in stark contrast to the way so many other games have started off this year. I like this way much better, thank you very much.

Not to be ignored, however, on the other end of the ice was one Mr. Johan Hedberg who was in the process of stopping the first 20 shots he faced in the opening period before allowing a Mark Streit power play goal on the twenty-first.

Uh-huh, you saw that right…Atlanta’s defense allowed 21 shots to get through on the Moose in the first. They also took the only two minor penalties and lost 11 of the 18 face offs in that opening period…but found themselves up leading by three after twenty minutes of play. The Thrashers took but ten shots on goal themselves, but they managed to pop out four goals nonetheless.

Halfway through the second period, Bergfors got in on yet another goal, launching a wrister from the left circle. Antropov was providing the screen in front of Biron and it was determined Nic had deflected it in for his second of the game. It came while the Thrashers were enjoying a man advantage…the power play resulting from a hustling Afinogenov who was tripped up while pursuing the puck behind the net.

Five minutes later, another newbie… Evgeny Artyukhin… put on a speed skating exhibition. He scooped up the puck behind Hedberg…scooted unmolested up the right side and out of the zone …gathered speed as he flew past the benches, through center ice and into the Islanders zone…zipped through the defense…moved in from the right to slip the puck past Biron in an almost nonchalant manner.

Ya know, I had read a few pieces about this kid’s deceptive speed given his size…but just dah-YUM! He moved through the Islanders system faster than a bean burrito lunch special.

And just like that, Atlanta was up 6-1 after two periods of play…the Islanders obviously missing defenseman Andy Sutton who was shipped off to Ottawa Wednesday morning.

Johan the Magnificent Magical Moose uses his amazing skills to suspend the puck in mid air. Hedberg stopped 34 of 37 shots face Thursday night (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Johan the Magnificent Magical Moose uses his amazing skills to suspend the puck in mid air. Hedberg stopped 34 of 37 shots face Thursday night (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

A couple of Islander goals in the third help put a prettier face on the score sheet, but by that time the damage had been done.

However, I must say that despite the nice victory, I didn’t like the way the Thrashers seemed to let take their foot off the throttle in the final twenty minutes…only able to squirt through three shots on the Islander goal. When you have a team dangling like that in the end, you can’t relax…instead you have to just keep on pushing until the remains are circling the drain.

For the night, Hedberg stopped 34 of 37 shots to improve his record to 16-9-5. The sixteen victories are the most Moose has piled up since going 25-34-7 in 2001-02 while with Pittsburgh. He is now 52-40-13 as a Thrasher.

Both Afinogenov and Bergfors finished with a goal, one assist on three shots and was a +2…Bryan Little had a pair of assists and was a +2…Bogosian, Hainsey and Peverley each had one assists, Ron and Rich finished a +2 while Bogey was a +1…R2 scored on his only shot on the night and was a +1…and Nic Antropov had a three point night with a pair of goals, one assists on two shots and was a +1.

Meanwhile…as the Thrashers were pinching off the Islanders, the other New York team was busy netting a point in the standings as the lost to Pittsburgh in overtime and Boston gathered two points by downing the Maple Leafs in a shootout.

That means the middle of the Eastern Conference standing are really packed tight with Atlanta and Rangers moving into a tie with Montreal for eighth place…each have 66 points pending the Canadiens game in San Jose.

If the Sharks can beat Montreal in regulation, then the Thrashers would technically own eighth place in conference given the fact that they’ve played fewer games.

Boston is clinging on to seventh place with 67 points and Philly is stuck at 69 after their 7-4 loss to the Panthers Wednesday night.

One last note…the Thrashers now have 66 points after 62 games played…which is 16 points better than what they had after this many games last year, (22-34-6 for 50 points). If they finish 16 points better then they did last season, they would have 92 points.

EDIT: According to Chris Vivlamore on Friday afternoon, Bergfors has been credited with the power play goal in the second period. Thus, he had a pair of goals and Antropov finished with one.

131 comments Add your comment


March 5th, 2010
10:09 am

These boys are playing as a team now. That is the key. And, we’re a better TEAM without Kovalchuk. Waddell did the right thing trading him (albeit he did it too late, should’ve traded him at the beginning of the year, but at least he did it).

Now you’ve got 4 lines Coach can roll and the guys pretty much all fit into his system. Consider this as well, there’s $10m that was set aside for Kovy that can now be spent next summer (as well as Kozlov’s money).

This is going to be a fun March, regardless of whether they get in or now, they’re hope again in Blueland. I’m off to check the schedule and get some tickets for some upcoming weekend games, that great Olympic tourney and the new Kovyless Thrash have me excited about live hockey again.


March 5th, 2010
10:11 am

DWTOO – better than that…he was absolutely beaming in his post-game interview with Natalie after being named # 1 star. After his first goal, he looked like a kid on Christmas morning. Afterall, Little had pretty much gift-wrapped that puck right on his stick.

There is something brewin’ in the locker room…and finally, it is something other than resentment!! Let’s go boys! Keep this Ice Crusher steamin’ full speed ahead!


March 5th, 2010
10:13 am

If Bob’s happy, then I’m as happy as a pig rollin’ in slop! :-) Or a Moose rollin’ in ice chips, if you forgive my silly metaphor.

World Be Free

March 5th, 2010
10:15 am

LAC-the problem I have with Jeff is that he doesn’t do his homework. He is way too “ESPN”; surface reporting instead of doing his homework. This is not new for Schultz and that’s why I think he’s an idiot.

We have all questioned what this team has or has not done over the last 10 years, that’s too easy. You have always done an excellent job of reminding us all who is to blame for the state of the franchise. But tossing cold water on the entire team as Schultz does is inaccurate. The proof is what we saw last night-instant contributions from the newcomers.

Let’s hope it keeps moving forward. Carolina scares the heck out of me-just ask Ottawa.

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

March 5th, 2010
10:28 am

Great interview line from last night-

Natalie asked Bergfors One why the team has came out so strong after the break; his response-

“I guess everybody got a lot of rest during the break.”


Putting On The Foil

March 5th, 2010
10:28 am

Adam- My point on the hitting the posts is that the Thrashers have had such games where they hit 2 to 3 posts, played an equal or better game than their opponent, but came out on the losing end. All things being equal, those things work themselves out over the course of the season. Go Thrash!


March 5th, 2010
10:29 am

“There is something brewin’ in the locker room”

yep, the play post-Kovy proves what many of us saw all along, and that is despite the denials, the Kovy contract was a huge distraction and caused conflict in the room. It’s like a dark cloud has been removed. First, Kovy was not captain material, that probably irked some guys. He wasn’t committed to Coach’s system, and he was the most important guy on the ice. He didn’t play 2 way hockey. I honestly will not miss Kovy, and I think we missed Heatley and then Hossa big time, but not Kovy.

Re. Schutlz, you guys need to remember that his job is precisely to be an agitator. Think of him as Sean Avery getting in your grill. He’s paid to stir the pot and get you guys talking and thinking about him and giving hits on his blog. He’s not a reporter, he’s a guy with an opinion who stirs it up to bring hits to the site. Job accomplished, from what I see. Love him or hate him, they don’t care, they just want you to read him and talk about him (and he still has you stirred up days later).

Putting On The Foil

March 5th, 2010
10:31 am

Also, good teams find ways to win, so we’ll see what happens. I think this is shaping up to be a pretty good team. Either way, I’m loving this effort.


March 5th, 2010
10:49 am

Bob – Good points about Schultz – he’s like a talk show host be it sports or politics. His job is to be bombastic, outrageous, etc. That’s how they get listeners or readers. They have to generate contreversy. If you want genuine discussion and thoughtful remarks listen to NPR. And Jeff’s done a real good job of it. At least he’s writing about the Thrashers.


March 5th, 2010
10:50 am

Okay, things are going well, but let’s also hope this isn’t “fool’s gold”. My gut, after watching years of bad Thrashers’ hockey, is that this is different. And if JA is reaching these guys without the fear of Russian mutiny, this may turn out very special. However, there is some bad news even during this 7 game stretch of 4 – 1 – 2 hockey. Here goes:

1) Shots Against are trending back up: we have allowed 246 SOG or an average of 35.14 during this 7 games. Perhaps this is a by-product of leading more games and then awaiting the onslaught of shots by the other team. But 35 SA / G is not sustainable. It’s like our country’s current deficit spending…eventually it will catch up to us.

2) Goals Allowed is still too high: the GAA for this stretch is 3.14 (in fact, it’s pi), and if you take away the EN vs WSH, then it’s an even 3.00. Again, the other teams are still getting too many second chances and grade A looks. Of course, our D isn’t good enough to keep the other team to 27-28 shots per night, but 31-32 seems reasonable.

3) Moose is almost 37 and he may start to fade: Moose’s SV% is a sick .920 on the season…way above his career avg. Will it come careening back to earth as we get deep into March? If the shots aren’t controlled, we may be in trouble. 31 vs 35 against is a huge difference. That’s 80 additional shots against. With a SV% closer to .905 or even .910, that’s an extra 8 goals against we can’t afford.

If you ask me, there’s no reason to call up both Chelios AND Kulda. Open try out for the best 6 D-men every night. To hell with the Wolves, they will be fine as they have already pretty much clinched. Schubert is taking too many bad penalties, Oduya seems shaky at times and Bogo is still chasing the puck too much when he should be boxing out. Chelios can help this team now…his veteran presence and leadership could be the difference maker. I want him in ATL NOW, not later.


March 5th, 2010
10:52 am

Sorry, there’s no reason NOT to call up Cheli and Arturs. Carry on.


March 5th, 2010
11:06 am

The more I see of Berfors, the more I like. Going to the doorstep for goal #1, and on Antro’s 1st goal Bergie’s sticklift/backcheck in the neutral zone resulted in the turnover that led to the goal, and then a nice shot which Antro tipped for Antor’s 2nd.

The kid has impressed me.


March 5th, 2010
11:08 am

*…that is despite the denials, the Kovy contract was a huge distraction and caused conflict in the room. It’s like a dark cloud has been removed. First, Kovy was not captain material, that probably irked some guys. He wasn’t committed to Coach’s system, and he was the most important guy on the ice. He didn’t play 2 way hockey. I honestly will not miss Kovy, and I think we missed Heatley and then Hossa big time, but not Kovy.*

Amen, brother. I don’t even think it was the contract — I think it was Kovy. I’ve talked before about the costs we incurred in keeping Kovy and trying to biuld around him. We’ve really paid for it — by losing players that Kovy didn’t like, by limiting ice time, by treating everyone else as a support system.

And Kovalchuk did cost us Hossa, in large part. Our chances of keeping him were probably 50/50 at best to begin with, but once Hossa was relegated to playing second fiddle to an inferior player the chances went to nil.

But the big reason why I like the Kovalchuk trade is because I like hard work, and I don’t like uneven expectations. And the great thing about Anderson’s system is that it’s built on equal work from more or less equally talented players. It was beautiful last night watching the 4th line. but it was also beautiful watching the 1st. And that’s a wonderful thing for every player on the ice as well as the fans. When everyone has responsibility, we could literally see goals and great plays at any time.


March 5th, 2010
11:09 am

Pretty much agree with what your wrote Smoothie, good points.

R. Stroz

March 5th, 2010
11:13 am

For those of you that are fairly new to this blog, the Islanders “bathroom” humor blog articles are somewhat of a tradition emanating from this blog many moons ago.

Anyway, its a great way to flush out the Islanders fans.


March 5th, 2010
11:22 am

Emanating from many moons??? Gross!


March 5th, 2010
11:30 am

Good lord. Somebody turn on the fan for goodness sake!

Christoph Schubert

March 5th, 2010
11:37 am

Heilige kuh! Wer hat eine große bombe hier drinnen fallen lassen?

Putting On The Foil

March 5th, 2010
11:38 am

For all the analyzing being done, while interesting to read from fellow bloggers, I like to take the Erk Russell approach. He would have said, “All I know is 6 is more than 3″.


March 5th, 2010
11:44 am

Yuck. I’m ignoring you guys.

So, on another subject, anybody have any predictions about the post-season? Obviously we are in the hunt. Also in the hunt, technically: Boston, Philly, the Rangers, the Habs, and Tampa.

My opinion, and I’m not making a prediction on the Thrash, except to say that if they continue to play well they’re in, is:

1. Boston is in.
2. Philly might actually fall out. They’re riding on an early-season cushion and will really struggle to maintain their position.
3. The Habs may also fall out. Play is middling, and they have more games in than anyone else.
4. The Rangers are struggling. No opinion on how that’ll turn out, because it’s roulette.
5. Tampa is probably out. I see nothing to indicate that they’ll lay substantially better than they have for the rest of the season.

…and if Atlanta makes it in, I hope they get to play NJD. The Devils are riding on early season performance, and we’d have an excellent chance of prevailing in a series against them.


March 5th, 2010
12:01 pm

Scotty, screw the fan…I rather prefer the stench of SUCCESS!!!


March 5th, 2010
12:02 pm

World Be Free

March 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

Nikita-I think the East is wide open aside from Washington and maybe Pittsburgh. Everyone else has issues that need to work themselves out before they can go deep into the playoffs. Atlanta has to learn how to protect a lead, like maybe going to a 1 (one guy in) 2-2 when they have a lead. Boston has not replaced Kessel, Buffalo can’t score goals, NYR can’t put 2 games together, Montreal has too many transplants and NJ has Koval-baggage. Martin Skoula is their trade deadline savior? Ottawa may be a darkhorse in the East.

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

March 5th, 2010
12:07 pm

I am glad that some of you can accept Schultz as being an idiot. I think you should make sense everyone once in a while, if you are paid to write a column.

Enough about that clown Schultz.


March 5th, 2010
12:10 pm

Nikita, my gut tells me the following:

1) WSH (duh 8)
2) PIT
3) BUF (thx to Miller)
4) NJ
5) OTT
6) ATL (yep, I’m going out on a limb)
7) TB (Atl & TB are better than everyone realizes)
8 ) BOS (barely squeezes in on strength of goaltending)
9) PHI (goaltending will be their demise)
10) NYR (chemistry issues & Torts will have them gripping the stix)
11) MTL (they’re not really that good, end of story)
12) CAR (eventually, they will run out of mojo…too many newbies)
13) NYI
14) FLA
15) TOR

Look out Ryan Miller, that’s a freight train comin’ your way ayyyy!!


March 5th, 2010
12:20 pm

Wait a minute, didn’t realize Tampa had hit the skids…5 losses in a row?? Hmmm, perhaps I’m giving them too much credit. Okay, Philly’s in as the #8 seed, Bos at # 6 and we’re # 7 instead as we lose out to Boston due to the head-to-head tiebreakers.

World Be Free

March 5th, 2010
12:23 pm

Smoothie-I am not so sold on Buffalo. Too many guys that will not step up. Torres will have an impact, but not a big one. Questions on defense, Butler is getting benched for Montador. They would be in 12th place without Miller.

Time for Lindy Ruff to move on.

World Be Free

March 5th, 2010
12:41 pm

Rawhide-missing Mandy Sutton?


March 5th, 2010
12:42 pm

штаны на основании, штаны на основании, будучи похожий на дурака с моими штанами на основании

Mrs. Zoomo

March 5th, 2010
12:57 pm

I was talking to my sister the Devils fan last night and I asked her how she liked Kovy. Her reponse: “I wish he’d score more goals”. Enough said….I like the look of the Thrashers much better now!


March 5th, 2010
1:09 pm


March 5th, 2010
1:22 pm

Rawhide-missing Mandy Sutton?

WBF – You just now catchin’ that? I assure you…I typed that with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek.

Everyone – Some bafoon from Winnigeg just wasted 10 minutes of showtime on NHL Live asking what was up with the news about the Thrashers relocating there for the 2010-11 season. The poor fool even went so far as to re-hash the entire story to preface his question.

Good Gawd-almighty! Are there actually people up there who really fell for that story and were waiting for the press conference yesterday?


March 5th, 2010
1:34 pm

Great win. I watched most of the Dallas game and Letemin looked (ugh) Looks like my grandad trying to get on his feet after a save. Not a pretty sight. Go Thrash!!!


March 5th, 2010
1:35 pm

Sometimes Google’s Translator application is unintentionally humorous…

“pants on the basis of, pants on the basis of being like a fool with my pants on the basis of”

World Be Free

March 5th, 2010
1:37 pm

Bill-missed the Mandy reference on my first read. Shame on me, but I did get a good chuckle 2nd time around.

Flight attendants servicing planes descending into Winnipeg quite often come on the air and note-

“We are approaching Winnipeg, please set your watches back 25 years”. This would explain the abundance if Winnipegers that still haven’t figured out the Thrash are not
moving there for next season.

Yung JB from MTL

March 5th, 2010
1:43 pm

Rawhide- I was watching that and was thinking about all those posters on this blog…wow… And he started talking about that Winnipeg guy’s wealth and saying that he had already bought the Thrashers or ‘Yotes… anyways

As for the game yesterday night… WOW. Thank god for Gamecenter Live! free nights!

Our size and speed can kill… damn!

And Lord are there alot of Thrasher haters! Every sports guy thinks the SE division is about Caps and its rivals! Thrashers, TB and maybe even CAR are in playoff contention… Ahh I just love being an underdog and showing what were really made of!


March 5th, 2010
2:02 pm

Everyone, which do you prefer?

Game 1 @ TB Moose Pavs
Game 2 v Car Pavs Moose
Game 3 v Nsh Moose Moose
Game 4 @ CBJ Pavs Pavs
Game 5 v NYR Moose Moose

I prefer column 2 since we’ve been giving up too many shots lately. Even Johnny said in the post-game that Moose had to work too hard last night. Hopefully, he’ll drive home that point in practice and the boys will do a better job in front of Hedberg. Give up another 35-40 shots and we are toast vs TBL.

I don’t like this decision by JA to start Moose tomorrow. If Moose gets rested instead, he’s fresh and ready to go against the Canes who’ve owned Pavelec. Then there’s a day off and Moose can come back vs Nashville before resting again for Friday’s Fight Night game against NYR. Plus, we should be able to beat the Blue Jackets even with a shaky effort from Pavelec. I hope I’m wrong, but we’ve given up an avg of 36.5 shots against in Moose’s last 4 starts. Ungood.


March 5th, 2010
2:14 pm

Yung JB from MTL – Serioulsy…I was just shakin’ my head at the XM radio in my office. Sheeze!

Smoothinator – If I may take a stab at your question…were I the coach, I would start Moose tomorrow night. Then, on the flight back to Atlanta, I would go back to Opie and tell him he was not feeling well. Yes…tell him he was sick. So sick that he cannot play Sunday.

Then, once we got back…there would be Peter Mannino already in town since I called him today to inform him of Pavelec’s illness and to high-tail it down here for Sunday’s game.


March 5th, 2010
2:33 pm

I am not missing Kovy at all. Who would have thought that we’d get a Berg-force to be reckoned with in trade? Great news on our noobs last night. Scoring is just coming from everywhere. They’re not just standing around looking for Kovy to pass to. Even Toby has been shooting. Very good.

I know some of you aren’t Hainsey fans, but I think he’s a good leader and takes the role seriously. He doesn’t sugar-coat anything. Plus he looks like Aragorn from LOTR and that guy was a pretty decent leader, so why not? I suppose John Anderson is Gandalf then.

World Be Free

March 5th, 2010
2:33 pm

Yung-thanks for your input. History shows us that ignorance breeds hate. Don’t ask me why so many people still have not figured out that the Thrashers are not leaving Atlanta today.


March 5th, 2010
2:47 pm

I would have played Moose against the Canes and Pavs tomorrow… but I also would have been sitting Todd White two months ago.


March 5th, 2010
2:53 pm

Smooth, I would play Moose, Pavs, Moose, Pavs, and then Moose in the big game against the Blue Skirts. Then ride Moose the rest of the month till that back to backer at the end of the month.

I am stoked for this month’s run. Just locked and loaded on tickets for more games for the rest of this month than I’ve been to in the past 2 years (no, I did NOT give the Spirit one dime, all StubHub and eBay). There are some great deals out there that I think may be disappearing as this month progresses, so lock in now. I got some great seats for 25% to 50% of face. Let’s fill the arena and root these boys on, the way they’re stepping up, they deserve our support.


March 5th, 2010
2:57 pm

According to Chris Vivlamore, Bergfors has been credited with the power play goal in the second period. Thus, he had a pair of goals and Antropov finished with one.

World Be Free

March 5th, 2010
3:39 pm

Chippers’-question for you
Would you sit CHIPPER is he finishs April with a .220 batting average?

Larry is fading…..


March 5th, 2010
3:53 pm

Paminski: I always sort of thought that Hainsey looked a bit like Jesus, too.

An excellent game last night. Although I think they got a bit lucky at times, there is no disputing the results. However, Nittymaki will be the real test.


March 5th, 2010
4:02 pm

Chipper – looks like we’re in the minority in Pavs vs Tampa. I can certainly see the argument for starting Moose as he generally gives us the best chance to win. I think his ES GAA is right around 2. If we can stay out of the box and limit shots that way, then I like our chances regardless. We cannot give Midget St. Louis too many PP opps to use time and space to hurt us. Also need to use the Marty-Arty Party to shut down the Stamkos line. Be reeeealll physical.

Anyone remember this fight?

Now there’s a picture on the picture gallery of those two hugging. Ya gotta love hockey for that reason alone!

World Be Free

March 5th, 2010
4:34 pm

Paminski-does that mean Boris looks like Icahbod Crane?


March 5th, 2010
4:50 pm

In response to that guy rambling on about winnipeg, he should read this:


March 5th, 2010
5:38 pm

Damn, CenterIce was a gift from an angel last night. I was standing in front of my radio trying to listen for 20 minutes, then I got on the computer and I found out that CenterIce was free. I wish I would’ve found it sooner. Great game though!


March 5th, 2010
5:44 pm

FLASHBACK: In the early to mid 90’s Mario reminded me of a Greyhound bus,..big,.fast,… smooth,…and going coast to coast. Artyukin brought back that image last night.

These new guys really know how to make good first impressions. If nothing else it breeds confidence for our boys in blue.

Rawhide: I kinda liked your “razor” line. Certainly, haven’t heard a better one.

The Canes have been hot and should be a good test.

Go Blue,….beat what is left of the Canes.