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.
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.