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

Rawhide

March 5th, 2010
6:42 pm

HookyBob – You referring to the “Dull Razor” line of Antropov, Bergfors and Little…’cuz it gives you you little nicks?

Brendan

March 5th, 2010
7:03 pm

Antropov is now 1st in points, assists, and +/- stats. http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20102ATLAASAll&sort=plusMinus&viewName=summary.

He’s 4th in goals. He’s 4th in shot percentage, but hey … Artyukhin being 1-for-1, at 100% and MacArthur Park being 1-for-2, for 50% are responsible for that 4th place spot. Let some games pass, and Antrop will become 2nd or 1st. Antro is 8th in TOI, and 9th for shots.

I’m glad he’s under contract for the next three seasons, even if it is at $4.0 million cap hit. We need him. We need his size.

Adam

March 5th, 2010
7:58 pm

-Bob & Nikita. Right on!!

**Hopping on Soap Box**

In the end, Hossa & Kovy are nothing more than athletes paid to play a “Game”. The difference between them and the teammates they left behind is a self serving, I am better than you attitude. When they should have been playing the best in their contract year, they decided that their ego was too big for the TEAM and didn’t do what they were paid to do. They coasted and played not to get hurt after coming off injuries (Remember, both of them had injuries in Oct.) If they played the game with the same heart and determination that got them to where they are, you can’t tell me the TEAM would be in a better position that is at this time. The months-long contract negotiations that went nowhere, while being locker room cancers, robbed the TEAM and the fans of not only wins but of a respect for each other and a name in the NHL, all the while costing the ownership gate revenue. (Hey I don’t like the AS either, but money in hopefully equals mount out.) For this reason alone, I hope all of you Thrasher Fans always boo the crap out of these players every chance you get because they played the game in a me, my & I fashion that held themselves above their teammates, in what we all know is the ultimate TEAM sport.

If Waddell is truly here to stay, I, for the love of God, hope he has learned these two things.

1) You don’t build a team around a star player; you fit the star into your TEAM!
2) If a player you want on the team is in their last year & hasn’t sighed before the start of camp, you trade their a$$ ASAP!

** Climbing down now ;) **

Smoothie

March 5th, 2010
9:28 pm

Adam – good post!! Amen.

Bill – “little nicks!”….as Ten Spot would say: “brillz”!! I will definitely enter that into my lexicon.

Smooth one out for now…peace!

StateBird

March 5th, 2010
10:09 pm

Nice to watch Philly leave a point on the table in Buffalo. Was a pleasure to flip the channel and watch Kovy proceed to get his pocket picked on the PP leading to a Flames SH breakaway goal!

LAC

March 5th, 2010
11:19 pm

Right Statebird, they showed him skating back to the bench afterwards, head hanging VERY VERY LOW !!!!! It was priceless !!!!

Like his Statue look as he got picked, he just stood there, Gee remember that and he wants HOW MUCH ????? Maybe ^ a year, but NO more.

Tough one in Tampa, and home Sunday, Carolina plays FLorida Saturday night… So both teams travel after their games…

StateBird

March 5th, 2010
11:32 pm

Kovy got his meaningless goal in garbage time to pad the stats. Amusing to hear Chico turn into the biggest IK apologist after ripping him to shreds during the Devils last trip to ATL.

Brendan

March 5th, 2010
11:53 pm

Here’s your Devils-Flames boxscore: http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2009020953. Kovy wound up “even” in his plus-minus. Kovy was completely at fault on the shorty. His goal just did trickle over the line, past Kiprussoff. I think it’s his first road goal as a Devil.

Brendan

March 5th, 2010
11:55 pm

Few Devils were backchecking tonight.

Dwayne

March 6th, 2010
8:08 am

AK2010, Thrashers are 4-1-2, Devils are 2-4-1, coincidence?? I think not.

Lee

March 6th, 2010
8:21 am

Kovy trips over his money. He can’t even score. Yeah, last night, he scored, not really. The goal was a little trickle goal and yet he celebrated like Zach Parise tying the game in the Gold Medal Round. He’s like a desparate man trying to get a woman…..idiot.

Puckhead

March 6th, 2010
2:24 pm

I believe most games are won or lost in the second period. If my figuring is correct we have gone from 56 for and 71 against in the second (prior to The Trade) now we are 66 for vs. 72 against. This mirrors our 4-2-1 record and the one 2nd period goal against was in the loss against washington.

ex-STH

March 6th, 2010
2:59 pm

The THRASHERS are finally playing as a TEAM. I’m so glad its no longer the “Kovy lead Atlanta Thrashers”. But I have a question….what are they going to do with Kozlov, White and Boulton from here on out??? It shouldn’t have to be pointed out that since the Kovy trade, we gave up only 2 starters (Kovy and Samella) and got 4 starters in these past trades. Thursday night’s lineup should stay the same the rest of the season with the only change bringing Chelios up to play next to Bogo instead of the poor decision making, high penalty risk in Schubert. I like Shubert but I think he is just trying a little too hard right now and Bogo could possibly use a little of that Hall of Fame defensive experience (remember how Bogo grew as a player when paired with Schnieder?).

NYC

March 6th, 2010
4:17 pm

Does anyone know of a good spot to watch the game – in town? Was going to check out Diesel in the Highlands (heard they actually support the team), but I thought I remember someone talking about a place that was in East Atlanta??

kracker

March 6th, 2010
6:33 pm

NYC, Twains in Decatur is a hockey sports bar.

Twain’s Billiards & Tap
211 E Trinity Pl, Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 373-0063

http://www.twains.net/

kracker

March 6th, 2010
6:42 pm

Is there a TJ’s viewing party tonight?

Rawhide

March 6th, 2010
8:01 pm

But I have a question….what are they going to do with Kozlov, White and Boulton from here on out???

ex-STH – In my opinion…given the talent on the team and the way they’ve played of late…White and Kozlov should never see the ice during a game for the rest of the season unless it’s an emergency start due to injury or illness. Boulton could get some spot start, though.

Is there a TJ’s viewing party tonight?

kracker – None that I’ve heard of, but I’m sure the game is on there and anyone looking to gather to share the game with other thrashers fans will have a good time.

stendek

March 6th, 2010
8:34 pm

Guess all this talk about the playoffs has upset the Thrashers. Talk about a completely disappointing opening period! Johan Moose Hedberg did everything right on first TB goal only to have braindead Thrasher slacker kick the thing into his own net. Not on Moose. Second and third goals WERE! This team can rarely overcome one marshmallow tally. LET ALONE TWO! Thrashers scored first then totally lost interest in the proceedings. Playing as if this is an exhibition bout not a must win matchup with potential playoff implications! Thought the new team attitude would be evident against TB. A team ready to curl up and die!Guess I was wrong. I cannot adequately express my utter disdain and disgust with the Thrashers after 20 minutes. Time now to throw caution to the wind. Two regulation points are required! Take chances. Storm the net! Fire the puck toward Nitwitki at every opportunity. No shots attempts result in no goals! Shoot the puck. Often! Hope the Thrashers of new reurn for second period. If old Thrashers are back then so are any possible playoff aspirations! Moose has to pitch a shutout from here on out. If not then bye bye post season! ++STENDEK++

stendek

March 6th, 2010
9:15 pm

Bye bye playoffs! The new Thrashers were a mirage. These are the same heartless Thrashers! Any faint playoff hopes were extinguished when the netminder allowed that penalty shot. Looked real bad doing so too! Fully expect them to get waxed on home ice. Absolutely nothing positive to look forward to from here on out! So disappointed. Thought team had grown some kahunas. Sad to see how wrong I was! Does not matter if Moose keeps total at four goals. Damage already done. Thrashers are history! Pity. ++STENDEK

kracker

March 6th, 2010
9:23 pm

I know someone who’s in his cups again.

stendek

March 6th, 2010
9:42 pm

Johan Moose Hedberg is not the answer! Five goals? Completely unacceptable. Powerless play. What a disgrace! Thrashers got their wish. Their vacations will begin at close of regular season! Totally heartless debacle. Not one of Thrashers competed with grit, intensity or intestional fortitude. So ashamed of entire team! On to America’s Most Wanted! Losing streak has begun. Where will it end? No one knows. Time for Pavs. Plus a transfusion of heart! Good night. ++STENDEK++

Brendan

March 6th, 2010
9:42 pm

It’s 5-2, Bolts. Niittymaki’s streak looks to be intact. What is it now, 16 in-a-row? Oh well. They still have some time left in this one, but if it’s a 4-point swing loss, it’s on to the next game, to try to make up these points.

kracker

March 6th, 2010
9:46 pm

The last offsides call against the Thrash was BS…Pevs has a skate on the blueline until McArthur advanced the puck over the blueline. This was on the last Thrash PP, mind you.

LAC

March 6th, 2010
10:16 pm

Boy What an EGG we laid in Tampa, Look for another loss tomorrow night as Carolina will be hungry
after losing… NO Playoffs again !

Rawhide

March 6th, 2010
10:23 pm

This was definitely a disappointing loss…but it doesn’t doom the season. However, it makes tomorrow afternoon’s game with Carolina that much more important. Need a win as Boston won earlier today…thanks a pant-load Islanders!

The Rangers did lose to Washington, though…so that helps.

Tonight, I’ll me watching the Kings and Monteal play…rooting for LA, of course. But that will not keep Trixie and I from working late into the night…getting tomorrow’s Sunday Thrasherville Times delivered to your cyber-doorsteps.

R. Stroz

March 6th, 2010
10:59 pm

But that will not keep Trixie and I from working late into the night

So how does Trixie keep an “over the hill” guy like you “up all night”?

Nikita

March 6th, 2010
11:28 pm

1. Very disappointing game tonight.

2. But officiating was awful. Many of those penalties were spurious.

Bob

March 7th, 2010
12:15 am

got to beat the Canes tomorrow now, must win.

Yung JB from MTL

March 7th, 2010
12:45 am

must win tomorrow, we got an edge on everybody since we have the least GP… Real bad officiating, kind of a game to forget. If we win tomorrow and one of NYR or MTL loses, we might get a big time advantage. Go Blue!

stendek

March 7th, 2010
1:42 am

GO THRASHERS! No more stinkers like the way in Florida. PLEASE. Losses of that kind tend to bring bring back days when cancers were in control. Hi Moose. How about a couple of consecutive shutouts to erase nightmare of that KL like debacle? Just a thought. ++STENDEK++ Time is of the essence. Putrid play NOT an option!

stendek

March 7th, 2010
1:46 am

Hey Thrashers! John Andereson has provided all of you with a proven winning system which works. Execute it! Laziness results in outcomes like the one against Tampa Bay. Darn! ++STENDEK++ The coach cannot PLAY for you!