The preseason is half over now and the Atlanta Thrashers have an 0-3 record to show for it. Their latest exhibition season setback came Monday night in Nashville as they fell 2-1 to the Predators. The good news, of course, is that after this week none of it matters at all. Preseason and all that, ya know.
Here’s a quick recap of the game as I heard it via the Predators radio station web feed. (That is, when it wasn’t going blank as it did all throughout the game).
Nashville took an early 1-0 lead when Sergei Kostitsyn tipped a Shea Weber pass through the wickets of Ondrej Pavelec. The goal came on the Predator’s second shot at the 3:06 mark of the first period.
Nashville outshot the Thrashers 8-6 in the opening 20 minutes.
It sounded as though Atlanta began to take control somewhat in the second as much more of the play was in the Nashville defensive zone. Then with 4:30 remaining before the second intermission, Ben Eager took a feed from Chris Thorburn in the slot and one-timed it past Pekka Rinne to tie the score. Linemate Anthony Stewart was credited with the secondary assists.
The Thrashers took 10 of the 18 SOG taken in the middle frame.
Atlanta killed off the only Nashville penalty that was called in the second, giving up not even a shot after Thorburn was nabbed with a hooking call at 8:26
Unfortunately, the third period was pretty much all Preds as they outshot Atlanta 15-6. Shea Weber scored a power play goal to put Nashville up 2-1 while Zach Bogosian sat in the sin-bin for holding the stick. Matthew Lombardi and Ryan Suter got assists on the goal.
Later in the period Alex Burmistrov was whistled for a slashing penalty, but the Thrashers were able to kill that one off. Atlanta went 2 for 3 killing off penalties and had no power plays of their own
In the closing seconds, Dustin Byfuglien leveled Nashville forward Jarred Smithson with a heavy hit. Smithson left the ice and headed directly to the locker room.
Eager and Rich Peverley led the Thrashers with 4 shots each while Nik Bergfors and Nigel Dawes both had 3. Pavelec had a better night than in the Thrashers loss last Tuesday, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced.
Are you concerned about the Thrashers offense?
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The two teams will play again Wednesday night at Philips.
Atlanta’s defense is now allowing an average of 28.6 SA/G during preseason so far, a trend that will hopefully continue once these games start counting for real. However, after the 22 S/G performance in Nashville, the offense is averaging 26.3 shots.
In closing, I’ll ask if you are at all concerned that the Thrashers have only 3 goals after three preseason games. Nik Antropov and Jim Slater are yet to play, mind you. Also, given that it’s preseason, the lines haven’t been consistent one game to the next.
Me…eh, if it keeps up much after the real campaign starts I might get worried. But truth be told I think this team is going to have to work their way through games much like what we’ve seen these past two matches where goals are at a premium…at least in the short term until the offense gels and finds it way. Good thing the offense is looking fairly decent thus far.
That…and it’s still only preseason.