Wednesday afternoon I was sitting in my office when a knock came on the door. It was my friend Sal from the mailroom who had a package for me. He just sat it on my desk without comment. When I pealed back the plain brown paper wrapping, all that I found inside was a soiled, soggy milk carton.
I looked up and asked, “What…what is this? What does this mean?”
Sal replied, “It’s a message from Todd White. It means your milk carton sleeps with the fishes”.
A message…from Todd White? Why, what for? I mean, what in the world did I ever do or say about Todd White that would make him want to send me such a message? Hmmm…??
Later in the evening, I then found out why he wanted to get my attention. White suited up in a New York Rangers blue shirt and scored a goal against his former team. Trailing 5-2 to the Thrashers, Whitey backhanded home a rebound to pull the home team to within two. Atlanta forward Fredrik Modin allegedly was defending White on the play.
It was his first goal of the season and it turned what was a comfortable Thrashers lead into what would become a bit of a nail-biter just moments later. White’s goal was then followed a few minutes later by another, pulling the Rangers to within one. Brian Boyle did the honors this time as he was left alone on the far post.
Someone in a Thrashers jersey really needed to just clear him out from in front of the goal, should have put a hit on him, should have …ahem…popped that Boyle when they had a chance.
However, with the score 5-4, Andrew Ladd’s empty netter iced the game for the Thrashers fourth win of the season.
“It was kind of stupid to let them back in the game,” Nic Bergfors said afterwards. “We stopped working a little bit there and they took care of it, but we got it done”. Bergfors scored his first goal of the season in the victory, an unassisted top-shelf blast from the right side that put Atlanta up 3-2 in the second period.
Bergie wasn’t the only Thrasher who found net for the first time this season. Bryan Little also did so when he sliced his way through the defense and beat Marty Biron. That tally tied the game at one-all in the first period. Later in the game Eric Boulton joined Little and Bergfors in getting off The Schnide as he scored off a rebound to provide what would turn out to be the deciding goal.
Alex Burmistrov set up Evander Kane on a goal in the second period to put the Thrashers up 2-1. It was the first NHL point for the rookie forward.
Another first for this team…in holding New York to 28 shots on goal, it was the first time Atlanta has held an opponent to less than 30 SOG all season. It only took nine games to do so. I wish I could report that they also outshot the opposition for the first time this fall, but the Thrashers only got off 26 of their own.
What was not a first, however, was seeing the Thrashers’ defense let up another goal due to sloppy play around their goal. A turnover early in the first period led to a Ryan Callahan goal that put the Rangers up 1-0 only 38 seconds into the game.
Also, and I try not to hold netminders solely responsible when goals are allowed, but the Sean Avery wrap-around tally that tied the score at two all was due to Chris Mason’s slow reaction to Avery’s move around the back of the net. The Thrashers goalie then was unable to get to the post before the puck was snuck in.
For the game, Mason stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.
By winning in New York, Atlanta improved their overall record to 4-4-1 and bumped their road record to 3-2-1.
And finally, I want to thank my good friends at Guston’s restaurant in Kennesaw for hosting a small group of us Wednesday night to watch the game. Donnie runs a great little place there and he set us up in a nice private room to enjoy the night’s festivities. The lovely and charming Katie took great care of us, providing some much-needed “mojo” when the Thrashers really needed it.
Thanks guys…we’ll see ya again next Wednesday.
And I’ll see you all at Philips Friday night when the Thrashers get a chance to make amends for the giant, steaming pile of FAIL that they dropped on the ice last week against the Sabres.