After rallying to secure a 4-2 win in Friday night’s opener against Washington, the Thrashers found themselves down 4-0 halfway through Saturday’s game in Tampa Saturday. The comeback bid fell short as they went down 5-3. In a way, the game in Tampa resembled so many losses form last season…come out flat, fall behind by a few, fight back only to come up just short.
“Overall our team really showed courage to come back”, coach Craig Ramsay said after the loss. “But you can’t fall behind by that much”.
So…looking back on this past weekend, what stood out most for you over the first two games of the season? Outside of the Pavelec situation, I mean.
For me, it was the play of Evander Kane, especially in Friday night’s 4-2 win over the Capitals. His opening goal was as visually stunning as it was timely and the penalty shot goal was a perfectly taken. He’s led the team with 12 shots on goal during the two games. Kane played with a great deal of fire and passion and if early indications are anything, it looks like we won’t have to worry about any sophomore slump from this kid.
Andrew Ladd has also played very well for Atlanta. He’s got a tip-in goal, an assist and is a +1 after two games. He’s looked a lot more like what we expected the two-time Cup winner would than what we saw in preseason. That’s just one reason why I don’t loose too much sleep over preseason performances.
Nic Bergfors also came away from the weekend with two points, an assist in each game, and is a +1 so far in this young season.
The 4th line of Thorburn, Eager, Burmistrov line has looked sharp so far. The trio has accounted for a pair of goals on 10 combined shots and an assist. They are also a +3, +2 and +2 respectively, which leads all Thrashers forwards. Friday night Thorburn went 4 for 4 in the face off circle while Burmistrov was 6 for 10.
Burmistrov has yet to score, but has taken 6 shots so far. He still gets shoved around a bit in the corners, but he has given total effort every shift. Alex is here until Jimmy Slater is ready to go, but he certainly has given Atlanta fans a taste of wht his potential can be.
All this means is that Eric Boulton may be spending more time in the press box while the team makes it’s trek out west.
The “where is the offense going to come from” worries seem to have subsided around Thrasherville…at least for the time being. After netting only 10 goals in six preseason games, the Thrashers have already dropped the biscuit in the basket 7 times in the opening pair of games. They also got off 61 shots, just a hair over an average of 10 per period. Just one more reason why I don’t get overly concerned with one-goal losses in games that don’t count.
However, on the other end of the ice the stat sheet shows that the defense has allowed 67 shots to be taken on Chris Mason, which is un-good. But it’s worth pointing out that 20 of those came in the first period of Saturday’s loss in Tampa. For a while there I thought we would indeed get our first “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” moment from new coach Craig Ramsay.
Also, 16 shots against came in the last period of the Washington game as they were fighting off a frantic come from behind bid by the Caps. That means 53.7% of the total SA/G were taken in 1/3 of the total time played. Make of that whatever you will.
Again, it’s early on and tough gauge any trends, but for the majority of the two games I think the team has played well, maybe even better than expected. However it will need to avoid the kind of start witness in Tampa Saturday night.
How many points will the Thrashers bring home from the west coast?
Total Voters: 122
Now, looking forward… this week the Thrashers are preparing to take their act out west for three games in California. Tuesday night will see them take on the Kings in L.A. They’ll then hang out in SoCal for a Friday night date with the Anaheim Ducks before winging their way up the Pacific coast for a Saturday night match in San Jose.
Obviously the team and fans still have goalie Ondrej Pavelec on their mind. Chris Vivlamore reports he has been able to leave the hospital. He was also able to chat with the 23-year old Czech over the weekend and was told that test results on his heart and brain all came back with good results, though they still are uncertain as to what caused him to loose consciousness Friday night.
More tests are scheduled for Ondrej today, though.
One can only speculate as to when Pavelec will be able to return to action. But honestly that’s secondary right now as his overall health is the main focus. Concussions are tricky and there’s no real timetable for recovery.
Drew MacIntyre…who Friday night had surrendered 6 goals on 31 shots as the Wolves dropped their season opener to the San Antonio Rampage 6-3… was flown to Tampa Saturday prior to the 5-3 loss to the Lightning. However, C-Viv now reports that he has been sent back to the AHL, that Chris Corrozzi practiced with the team Monday morning and that Peter Mannino is expected to join the team in Los Angeles.