Mathieu Garon must really love Atlanta.
Maybe it’s Varsity chilly dogs…maybe it’s the great weather…maybe it’s just the good old-fashioned southern hospitality. But for whatever reason, Thrasherville just seems to bring out the best in Garon.
The Columbus Blue Jacket netminder came into Thursday night’s game with a career 4-0-0 record against the Thrashers with a 1.00 GAA, .965 SV% and 2 shutouts. Of the 113 shots Atlanta teams had managed to put on his goal, Garon has kicked out 109. He then continued his magic spell over this team by stopping all 25 shots he faced this go around as Columbus blanked Atlanta 3-0, improving his record to 5-0-0 against the Thrashers.
In Philips Arena alone, Garon is now 4-0-0 with three shutouts.
“I don’t know what it is about this building,” the netminder remarked after game. “There’s always teams that for some reason—I’m not saying it’s easier—you have more wins against.”
I guess it’s a darn good thing the CBJs are not in the Eastern Conference. I would hate for the Thrashers to have to face this guy four or six times per year.
Of course, Columbus probably wouldn’t mind playing more games against eastern opponents as they are now 3-0-0 in out of conference games now. Last Tuesday they blanked Montreal by the same 3-0 score and last month they handed Philadelphia a 2-1 defeat.
As for Garon, his shutout win improved his season record to 4-0-0 with a .966 SV% and microscopic goals against average of OH-89…BINGO!
Ondrej Pavelec deserved a better fate than he was handed, playing very well in goal for the home team. He was called upon 41 times turn aside shots…39 times he was successful. The 42nd Blue Jacket shot on goal came when RJ “I would like to buy a” Umberger stuffed home an empty netter.
Ya know…it’s not often you can allow 42 SOG and have that actually be an improvement from the previous game. But that’s exactly the case as the Thrashers gave up 55 the night before in Sunrise, Florida during the 4-3 win over the Panthers. Doing the math, that’s 97 shots against on consecutive nights.
Columbus pretty much played their style of game this night…controlling the puck, the play of the game and simply out working their opposition. Nothing especially “pretty” about the way they go about their work, but it has been effective so far as they improved their overall record to 8-4-0.
The loss snapped the Thrashers five-game streak in which they netted a win or at least an overtime loss consolation point.
“Individually, we’re not winning enough battles”, coach Craig Ramsay observed. “As a team you have to win battles, but it’s up to each individual to start the process. We have to have everybody involved in scoring goals.”
Forward Nik Antropov told C-Viv the play of the team was “embarrassing” over the past two games.
“It was better, but still not enough,” Antropov lamented. “The last two games you can call embarrassing. The other night we got lucky. Tonight we didn’t create enough scoring chances. They just outplayed us.”
Defenseman Johnny Oduya questioned the effort coming from the team saying, “I don’t think the effort is there at all. Better than [Wednesday] but we got lucky.”
It’s just not good enough. It’s pretty simple”, he continued. “We are not really skating and using our speed.”
And lastly, there is this from Zach Bogosian regarding the sell out crowd in which 10,000 or so fans came disguised as empty seats.
“It’s never good feeling when you come out and you are all pumped up and there’s not that many people in the stands”, the 2008 third overall draft pick admitted. “After playing here for three years, you kind of get used to it”.
“The more fans would be a lot better, but it’s not an excuse we can use.”
The “announced” crowd was 8,461 Thursday night…a record low. It came two weeks after the previous low of 8,820 that came out to see the Thrashers play the Buffalo Sabres. To Bogosian’s point, the 4-1 loss to the Sabres and 3-0 defeat at the hands of Columbus were probably the flattest, most lackluster, least-inspired games this team has played all year.
Hmmmm…maybe that’s Mathieu Garon’s answer to what it is about Philips Arena. He tends to work best in quiet places where he can concentrate on his job.