Mason stops 52 of 55 shots as Thrashers scratch out 4-3 win over Panthers

Last summer the Atlanta Thrashers signed goalie Chris Mason to a 2-year contract that pays an average of $1.85 mil per season. Given the amount of shots he has faced so far this season…a league-high 394 in 11 games played…they certainly are getting a lot of work out of him for their money.

Wednesday night alone in south Florida, Mason was called upon 55 times to stop the puck. He was successful 52 times. That was just enough to allow his skaters the time to get four past Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun to escape with a 4-3 win.

Thrashers goalie Chris Mason petitions the hockey gods for a little relief Wednesday night. He stopped 52 of the 55 shots taken against him in the 4-3 win over the Panthers (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Thrashers goalie Chris Mason seemingly petitions the hockey gods for a little relief Wednesday night. He stopped 52 of the 55 shots taken against him in the 4-3 win over the Panthers (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Yes, you heard me right. I said fifty-five…five-freakin’-five…shots allowed on goal.

That, my friends, is just a pant-load of shots to face in one night, and coach Craig Ramsay was almost apologetic about what Mason was forced to deal with. “Another comeback, but that was just awful”, Ramsay to Chris Vivlamore after the game.

“Mason was magnificent. Our goaltender gave us a chance”, Ramsay continued. “You need your goaltender to steal a game every once in awhile. That was an incredible performance by our goaltender, and we found a way to win, but we can’t keep falling behind. We can’t play as poorly as we did.

Mason improved his season record to 6-4-1 with the win and now has a .909 SV% and 3.45 GAA. As for the extra workload thrust upon him, well he seemed to take it all in stride.

“There were a lot of shots, but the guys did a good job battling,” said the Thrashers overworked netminder. “Right from Game 1 this team has been pretty resilient. We kept shooting the puck and found a way.”

Nic Bergfors broke a 3-3 tie at the 11:10 of the third period with a one-timer off a nice cross-ice pass from Rich Peverley. The goal extends Bergie’s scoring streak to four-straight games…five straight with a goal or assists. Just 1:11 before, Dustin Byfuglien smashed his fifth of the season to tie the game.

Atlanta’s first two goals came off the stick of Fredrik “You Can’t Stop Him, You Can Only Hope To Contain Him” Modin. The first coming just seconds away from the first intermission, knocking home a  Byfuglien pass on the left side of the doorstep. His second period goal put the Thrashers up 2-1 when he took a nice behind-the-goal-line feed Eric Boulton and hs shot somehow squirted through Vokoun.

“That goal was one of those shifts where one of us goes and wins a battle and gets backed up by another guy”, Modin told C-Viv. “Bolts made a good play, and the puck goes in.”

Modin, along with Evander Kane, led the Thrashers with 4 shots on goal The pair accounted for one-third of the 23 SOG Atlanta managed to get off on Florida’s goal.

Ondrej Pavelec, who watched the proceedings from the bench, is scheduled to be in goal Thursday night when the Columbus Blue Jackets come to call. I might suggest to the young goalie have one extra bowl of Wheaties in the morning…just in case there is a repeat performance of the previous night’s activity in front of the Thrashers net.

92 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

November 3rd, 2010
11:55 pm

Wayne stuck in AL

November 4th, 2010
12:11 am

I’ve been trying to find any information on this, but is winning a game with a -32 shot differential an NHL record?

Alan R.

November 4th, 2010
12:15 am

That’s a good question, Wayne. Now you’ve got me wondering the same.

Sara

November 4th, 2010
12:16 am

Darren Eliot made the comment more than once that Florida seems to have a more generous definition of a SOG than most arenas. I’d have to concur … I’m really hard-pressed to believe there were 55 SOG against the Thrashers – they did not look that sloppy.

Tom

November 4th, 2010
12:17 am

Hey, Modin must be reading this blog. Who can we call out next so they have a good to great game?

stendek

November 4th, 2010
12:24 am

Marshmallow Mason energized to Magnificent Mason! A total of 52 saves. Plus a win to boot! I shudder to envision Sori Lehtonen in goal. Yeck! STENDEK

Tom

November 4th, 2010
12:28 am

Okay kids, we know we stole one, but that is what good teams do.

WAIT — Did I say good teams referring to the Thrashers?

Yes I did. We have taken 7 out of 8 points. We site 2 points behind Washington with the same amount of games played. We also can score. And play as a team.

We are a team with a new coaching staff, many new players, and a new system.

We are making mistakes in the defensive zone, but overall the boys are learning the system and starting to come around.

Odds are we will not keep up this pace, but if we did we would be a great team. What we are doing is learning to win, learning to play together, and developing a personality that does not include “the superstars” stuck playing for the Thrashers.

With all the changes you have to tip your hat to the coaching staff and the players.

Your Atlanta Thrashers are a good team.

cousin Eddie

November 4th, 2010
12:28 am

Anthony Stewart ssucks. Let’s trade him or wave him. We will see tomorrow if that works!

Spud Webb

November 4th, 2010
12:32 am

Nice, gutty win. Great job Thrashers.
This will quiet folks down on here about Mason for a game or two.

Thrashfan23

November 4th, 2010
12:48 am

Talk about stealing a game! How we were somehow tied at the end of that second period is amazing. We have to play better defense and have better starts if we are going to have a memorable season this year.

Alan R.

November 4th, 2010
1:03 am

The only thing memorable about this season so far is the indigestion. Oy!

Jeff Jones

November 4th, 2010
1:28 am

Yeah, it really didn’t seem like 55 shots. After they said it was 23 shots in the second period, I was really surprised. It didn’t seem like they dominated us THAT badly.

But either way, a win is a win.

EA

November 4th, 2010
7:07 am

Who was it that said we needed to trade Bergfors? He is on fire. His smile after he scores is priceless. Way to go M&M-Mason and Modin. Go Thrashers.

JT from Columbus

November 4th, 2010
7:20 am

I can’t believe ther were 55 SOG.. A lot of those “shots” seemed to go wide or high. Nevertheless a win is a win especially on the road..Let’s give Bergfors an extension NOW!!

BlueSpark

November 4th, 2010
7:22 am

Looked like 55 shots to me, give or take a few. Florida seemed to have a lot of zone time, and kept throwing it at the net. Mason definitely stole this one.

While Modin had 2 even strength goals, he still finished EVEN in +/-. He’s still the extra forward, skating because Little is out.

Matt

November 4th, 2010
7:23 am

How on the Earth did the Thrashers manage to score 4 goals in this game? It seems as if they were never in the offensive end of the ice.

Nate

November 4th, 2010
7:40 am

People complaining of Florida’s possibly inflated shots on goal statistic are missing the point. It looked like that many to me because the Panthers kept firing from all angles. Apparently their philosophy is shoot first and ask questions later. Regardless, the real point is that the Thrashers got outworked because the Panthers had TONS more zone time than did the Thrashers. Forget about the shots on goal. The time of possession the Panthers had was the real problem last night. It was absurd!

That being said, this will make up for one of those games later in the season when the Thrashers outshoot their opponent by 10+ shots and lose. Yes, it doesn’t seem like that will happen right now since they haven’t outshot an opponent yet (at least not to my knowledge), but it’s a long season. It will happen eventually.

jen

November 4th, 2010
7:47 am

Totally concurr with Tom. I’m a glass half full kinda gal, but good teams in this league find ways to win games like this. While I think 55 was kind of generous, there were plenty of shots wide that Mason gloved or knocked down, so if he touches the puck it counts as a shot right? Florida did have too much zone time, but this was a game on paper we should have won and on the ice we found a way to do so. Lots of bloggers taking notice of all 5 Central division teams being in the top 8 yesterday (Nashville fell out last night and is in 9th), but take notice Candian haters, 3 SE teams in the top 8 (and comfortably I might add – we have a game in hand on the darling Crosbians), and Carolina knocking on the door in 9th….and they have a game in hand on PIT too.
Tonight is a good test. CBJ’s are playing much better hockey this year and S. Mason seems to have returned somewhat to form. Hoping for more zone time and a new PP point streak to start

Flames

November 4th, 2010
7:59 am

55 shots on goal! Welcome to the Mason Dixon Line! I felt that the fourth line played very well. Boulton was flying around making plays, Modin had two goals. That was a great performance by the fourth line. Boulton had a goal that was waved off because the net had moved. I thought Bergfors played very well and how about Buff with his fifth goal of the year.

glovesave29

November 4th, 2010
8:02 am

Nice win, but there are things that concern me here…

I agree with Darren that the 55 shots were not an accurate count, i’d guestimate they were in the mid-40’s but that is still waaaay to high. The wingers sag back and do not put pressure on the shots from the points. That is why the first two goals came off of long shots. The D is in no mans land where they neither pressure the shot or help the goalie. All Mason gets to see is a maze of sticks and legs.

The weak side D does not pressure when the puck in the corner. The strong side goes in, but the weak side stays on the far side of the net, leaving the slot open. They need to play the near post and let the weak side winger take the far post.

On the positive side…

Mason was everything we thought he’d be when we signed him. He stole this game.

Stewart has great hockey sense. On at least two occasions, he feigned a break out and then moved back to his defensive position – thus causing two turnovers on intercepted passes.

Burmistrov is going to be one of those players that win a Selke Award. He may not be a goal scoring machine we envisioned – but something much better. He is smart and responsible all over the ice. And defense is based on hard work. Hark work is addictive and spreading. Let’s hope the whole team catches this!

Is Buff coming up with a new position? The power defenseman? I like these bull rushes, but hope he also pulls back once and again to pass higher in the zone to keep the defense guessing. Last thing I want to see is predictability.

Let’s clobber the Jackets tonight!

DWTOO

November 4th, 2010
8:08 am

If you watch the highlights on the Trasher web site listen for the Panther announcer mention “Ligthning Score” when Modin’s first goal goes in. At least that’s what I think I heard.

dirty socks

November 4th, 2010
8:10 am

55 shots on ??? Same old “D” in Atlanta. Glad it wasn’t the Bruins, Canadiens or Tampa.

Flames

November 4th, 2010
8:23 am

The Thrashers needs to start playing a more physical style of defense. When other teams wingers start worrying about being crushed against the boards, they seem to make more mistakes on offense. I know Ramsey is a defensive coach, so I really hope there are some adjustments being made. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when everyone was worried about us not being able to score.

Old Time Hockey

November 4th, 2010
8:50 am

55 Shots…but not 55 on goal. The official scorer must have a bad angle. Night before the Rangers gave up 35 SOG and blocked 36 shots. In Florida that goes for 71 SOG. But, that said, great game by Mason.

Big Buff for Norris Trophy. Really.

Burmistrov…Datsyuk? That’s who he has reminded me of…and he’s just a rookie!

When they up the tempo, they are fun to watch. Here’s hoping for an up tempo game tonight.

Zoomo

November 4th, 2010
8:54 am

Agree we need to play a more physical defensive game. We have Buff, but we need Bogo to step up in that regard.

Puck possion time must’ve been very lopsided. Glad to hear Ramsay’s comments after the game. He recognizes the need to get better fast. I hope he can get results quickly.

I’ve been a bit stunned by the offensive output. 4th in the league in goals. All pre-season we debated the ability to score and lamented about our improved D. Not exactly how it’s been going.

A win is a win and you gotta like the resilency when we are down a goal.

Burmistrov, wow! I found myself anticipating his shifts. Love watching what he does. In 3 or 4 years, he may be the most complete player in the league. Kane and Burmy together, even better.

J-man

November 4th, 2010
9:05 am

EA – Several people said that it made sense to trade Bergfors if he was just going to be scratched every game but that was all. I don’t recall any negative comments about Bergfors, just that a lot of fans were really tired of worse players dressing and Bergfors sitting out. I don’t recall anybody saying he needed to be traded once Ramsay stopped scratching him.

cousin Eddie – Stewart can fail to score a goal in the next 40 games and that’s probably the earliest any discussion from management will come up that something needs to be done. That hat trick saved him for at least the first half of the season if not the entire season. Ramsay and Dudley love the guy so all we can do is hope he improves.

stendek

November 4th, 2010
9:06 am

Joe McGrath

November 4th, 2010
9:08 am

Buff deserves the C. He IS what this team is about. REPRESENT!

Jlew

November 4th, 2010
9:11 am

The other bright spot is Ramsay’s attitude here. I feel like a certain other coach would have been proud. Instead we take the “Yes, we found a way to win, but we are a better hockey team than that” attitude. I think he’ll push the guys to work harder and improve even though we’re winning. This team can play better than they have been, and Rammer knows it.

stendek

November 4th, 2010
9:17 am

Hi friends. Just to clarify. Shot becomes official ONLY if it is on net. In other words a goal if allowed to travel unimpeded into netting. If goaltender catches puck on drive going wide it is not supposed to count as official shot. Watched entire replay. Agree with fellow fan that shot total was in 40 or so range. Still way too high! In no way dimishes utterly outstanding play of Miracle Man Mason. I am still shaking my head on that absolutely incredible save near end. WOW! Netminder did swipe this one for his team. GO THRASHERS! STENDEK

Dwayne

November 4th, 2010
9:24 am

I liked how swedee modinee went to the net on his 2 goals, probably what Ramsey is teaching. Antropov noted the same thing on his last goal, “knowing where to be”. You had the blast from Buff and the wicked shot from Berg-Force-One. Did yall notice how bad the Thrash looked when Buff was getting some medical attention. We looked horrible when he was playing, but worse “BRUTALLY” horrible when he was out. But Thrash still won!! Go figure.

jerry

November 4th, 2010
9:30 am

One reason the Thrashers fall behind is that of the first three shots taken by the opponent, at least one gets by Mason. His save percentage couldn’t be above 66% on those shots.

KLS1

November 4th, 2010
9:31 am

Tough to watch this team at the end of games, we need to learn how to play with a lead.

But we did get one back from the Blues game we gave away.

rob

November 4th, 2010
9:33 am

THANK YOU MASON!!!!! No doubt he was 1st, 2nd, AND 3rd star.
There was A LOT of lazy play going on out there last night. Sure Modin scores 2, but he is directly responsible for 1 against and still even. That line, though, played decent. Boulton had several great chances I found myself screaming “not him” at! Good thing is though he was in the right positions to get those chances, bad thing is he isn’t a shooter! LOL
When we were so flat, I noticed the shots of the bench showed guys just sitting there, not talking, not involved looking. We NEED someone to step up and take the reins here. Sopel sounded out between periods a few games ago and it seemed to work. The team is fun to watch when they are flying, as said before, but these EXTENDED, UNINSPIRED, streches have to stop. A bad shift is one thing, but when the whole team has bad shifts to such an extent and no one is making waves….

World Be Free

November 4th, 2010
9:43 am

Stewart needs to use his size, he is 235 lbs but you would not know it.

On another note, Parise is out 3 months with the Devils. Kovy will be double and triple shifting now, this will be an excuse for his lack of numbers this season.

jimbo

November 4th, 2010
9:47 am

Good win. While FL fired at every opportunity, it seemed as if we had as many scoring chances as they did. Their strategy seemed to be to fire from the wings as soon as the opening appeared and to go for rebounds. Mason controlled most of them. Too many odd man rushes as we got caught in line changes. That is criminal. D-Buff is one FORCE and Thorburn’s motor seems to run all the time. Keep crankin guys.

Rawhide

November 4th, 2010
9:58 am

Y know, I wondered last night if those 55 shots were “inflated” or not. I’ve heard that happens with the Islanders and others too. But, my question would be…if intentionally done…what purpose does it serve?

To me, all it really accomplishes is increasing the SV% of the opposing goalkeeper and lowers the shots % for your own team.

…shrugs…

If anybody out there DVRed to Tevo-ed it, maybe you could review and tally up your own shots against count.

Regardless…very, very good win last night. If I’m not mistaken, they have trailed at some point of every game except for last Saturday’s SO loss in St. Louis, (though some would say they “trailed” at the end when it counted most).

This team is resilient, that’s for sure. They’ve certainly kicked the “fragile” label of years past.

Smoothie

November 4th, 2010
10:08 am

Bill – I have the game on DVR but I forgot to record the first 10 minutes of the 2nd period so my “adjusted” count will certainly be lower! ;-)

This team seems to push the limits on what they can get away with in terms of effort on the road when they are trying to conserve energy for the 2nd half of the game. It’s like they knew Fla was weak in scoring goals and on the PP, but didn’t want to give them any man-advantages so they sagged back and let them dictate as to avoid silly penalties. However, we seemed to control play when it mattered most, either after a goal or when it was tied. Boulton’s line, yes Boulton was the catalyst, really sparked us in the first when we needed some “jump”.

Of course, Fla took it to us early in the 3rd and worked us to death in our end until we conceded the goal. It was like watching a tired D in football give up the fight in the red zone so the offense could get back in gear. One thing the boys have, to quote Dick Vitale (oh dear), is spurtability. When this team gets going, they can be very tough to deal with. But in 3 of the last 4 periods, they have been absolutely dominated by the opposition, getting outshot 59 to 24 in those 3 per.

FormerIslesFan

November 4th, 2010
10:39 am

Some general observations from my vantage point (probably nothing here that hasn’t been said already, other than great to see the game with you and The Divine Mrs. R. last night, RH!):

Mason’s rebound control looked great last night. The 55 SOG were certainly not 55 scoring chances. Even when they floated shots towards the net, Mason did a great job of gloving them and killing the play.

TOO MUCH TIME is spent in our defensive zone; yielding too many SOG against (even if it really wasn’t 55). Sometimes, when watching Thrashers games, I feel like the ice is tilted towards our end…especially the first and last ten minutes of the game. Related to that is that the Thrashers really need to work on their clearing attempts. I saw way too many last night where the puck was elevated towards the center of the ice and the opposing defensemen was able to just glove it (or handle it if it was on the ice) and keep the play alive in our zone. Hell, when I coach my kids in soccer, the first thing that I teach the team is to keep the ball (puck) out of the middle in your own defensive zone.

On Modin: RStroz: I was worried about you last night man. One goal was great, but I figured the second goal might have induced you into a heart attck! That being said, Modin’s goals were scored because of good fundamentals. He went to the front of the net when the player with the puck weaved wide and, more importantly, he kept his stick blade on the ice. I cannot begin to tell you how important that latter skill is and how many times I’ve seen us miss an opportunity this season b/c the blade wasn’t where it needed to be to receive/deflect a pass. Honestly, Modin had a shot at a third one too in the second period (I think) when the puck just jumped over his stick out front. Counter-point: I blame Modin for the Cats’ third goal. He was way out of position and should have been covering the shooter who was wide open.

More could be said (such as the inability to enter the zone and set up a Power Play), but I don’t want to bash. I’m happy with the win and look forward to the Jackets game tonight.

Brendan…you can have your soapbox back now.

TrueBlue

November 4th, 2010
10:49 am

Sooo….does Boulton not fight anymore???? Eager has dropped the gloves more then Boulton.

I sure can’t wait to have Little back in the lineup!!!!

Smoothie

November 4th, 2010
10:58 am

Say what you will about Bryan Little’s goal-scoring struggles, but last nite made it obvious he is now our best all-around C. We suck in the F/O circle outside of Slater, and sometimes Pevs, but without Little we are even worse. Not to mention that he is our best back-checking forward and his speed to the outside helps keep teams honest. Not to mention his presence gives us so much better balance t/out our 4 lines.

Red Light

November 4th, 2010
10:59 am

A win is a win is a win!

The lowly Blue Jackets, now 3-1 on the road, with victories at San Jose, at Minnesota and at Chicago come to town tonight sporting four wins in their last five games. In their seven wins, they have allowed just 10 goals against. In their four losses, they have allowed 19!!!

Back-up netminder Mathieu Garon, who got his first-ever NHL win against Atlanta in Nov. 2000 (he actually shut out the boys two straight times when he was with the Habs that year), is 3-0, with a 1.15 gaa and .957 save percentage. He is 4-0 lifetime against the Thrashers, two wins last year, and is coming off a shutout of the Habs last night.

Will Arniel go with the other Mason? Steve Mason’s only start against the Thrashers was a 15-save shutout in Nov. 2008.

So, what does it all mean? The BJ’s have won 4 straight and 5-of-6 against Atlanta, but over the last 10 meetings the goal differential is just 26-23, with six games decided by one goal. It sets up to be a good match-up tonight.

Now, the quandry…Flyers vs Rangers on TV, or Thrashers vs. Jackets in person?

Smoothie

November 4th, 2010
11:08 am

Thrashers vs Jackets on TV!! Thought the game was on SportSouth?

Adam

November 4th, 2010
11:09 am

Was it just me or did Antro look like he was struggling last night? In the 3rd there was a break away he was part of an he couldn’t keep up and it seemed like he was favoring one leg.

Smoothie

November 4th, 2010
11:10 am

Nik Antropov has now gone 10 straight games without his line scoring an ES goal…or in other words, he has not been on the ice for an ES goal over his last 10 (not since Opening Night when his F/O win freed up the puck for a waiting Modin). That my friends is simply UNGOOD!!

Red Light

November 4th, 2010
11:10 am

To your point Smoothest one, Reinprecht and Reasoner were 15-of-22 in the faceoff circle last night, but Little is only winning 42.9 percent on the year and leads only Burmistrov in the category of those who take them regularly. Back checking, well OK!

Red Light

November 4th, 2010
11:12 am

The game is on SportSouth tonight.

Smoothie

November 4th, 2010
11:18 am

It just seems Little does a better job of tying up the other C when he does lose a F/O but Antro generally loses them cleanly without much of a fight. Burmi tries, but he gets rubbed off pretty easily. Slater and Little do the best job of keeping the play alive so his wings or D can help out on a loose puck. Pevs, well either he wins it clean or not. Luckily, he wins most of his def zone draws. But we must get better winning our draws in the O-zone!

BTW, I never said Little was our best C because of his F/O prowess. Nice try to dismiss what I was saying though! ;-)

Red Light

November 4th, 2010
11:28 am

Yes, I see your point clearly Smoothie, those three assists, 42.9 percent in the F/O circle, and 15 minutes of ice time per game had me confusing him with Sidney Crosby :)

Barry

November 4th, 2010
11:39 am

Ya I think those shots are inflated/skewed just a bit. Also it didn’t look like alot of those shots were good scoring chances. The Panthers were flinging the puck on goal any chance they got and from anywhere. Panthers did make some good plays but it almost looked like their philosophy was “shoot the puck as much as you can and maybe we will get lucky and one will sneak in”. Seriously they were shooting from everywhere. Pucks were going wide, hitting the side of the net, etc all night long. Still Thrashers can’t continue to be playing in their own zone so much this season or it’s going to cost them against the really good teams. As much as other parts of this team has improved they still continue to get pressured in their own zone, turning the puck over, and can’t seem to handle another team’s aggressive forecheck. If you remember the games against the Bruins last year there were two games that was almost identical. I think Bruins won those two games 4-0 and in each game Boston had an aggressive forecheck and kept the Thrashers pinned in their own zone way too much. That’s why Thrashers got blown out by Tampa also this season. Coaching staff and team has just got to find a way to counter a teams aggressive forecheck.