Hmmm…apparently, the Thrashers have been lurking this blog.
In my previous online offering, we discussed the Thrashers potent power play as well as their troubles scoring while skating 5 on 5. But Thursday night they went right to work on improving that little problem, scoring four even-strength goals and chipping in a short-handed one as well in the 5-1 whipping of the Minnesota Wild.
The four-goal win marked the highest margin of victory on the season for the Thrashers and was the first time have beaten a team by that much since last March 27 when they blanked Carolina 4-0. It was also the first time this season that Atlanta won a game without having to come from behind after trailing at some point in the game. They came out of the locker room ready to play, took the lead early, made very few mistakes in their end of the ice and never let off the gas.
Now, I’m not an NHL coach or anything like that, but I’d reckon that’s a pretty good game plan.
In goal, Ondrej Pavelec played as solid of a game I have seen out of him in quite some time. He turned aside 32 of the 33 shot Minnesota got off on him to notch his first win of the year. The lone time he was beaten was a deflection off the stick of Antti Miettinen while Zach Bogosian sat in the box for a slashing penalty.
Opie is now 1-1-2 with a 2.34 GAA and very impressive .931 SV%
Scoring for the Thrashers on this winning night were Ben Eager, Jimmy Slater, Andrew Ladd, Fredrik Modin and Nik Antropov.
Ladd’s 6th goal of the season Thursday night is the second most scored by a Thrasher behind Evander Kane’s 7 and his 16 overall points tie him with Dustin Byfuglien for the team lead.
For his part in the win, Byfuglien accounted for 2 assists, 5 shot and +3.
Modin’s was the shorty, coming just under three minutes after Miettinen pulled the Wild to 3-1 of the Thrashers early in the third period. He also assisted on Eager’s goal at the 3:24 mark of the first period, backhanding a nice pass to him from the left circle for a one-timer in the slot. Modin finished with two points on one shot and was a +2.
For the month of November, Fredrik Modin has 3 goals, 5 points and is a +5 in four games played.
Toby Enstrom also had a great game, finishing with a pair of assists and a +4 during 21:06 TOI. His play set up Modin’s goal in the third period, turning Miettinen inside out on the right side and zipping the puck to Freddie in front of the net.
Enstrom’s 14 overall points trail only Byfuglien and Ladd.
Rich Peverley continued his good work of late. He was all around the net with several good chances, getting off four shots on Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom. Late in the second, with Atlanta up 2-0, he dug the puck out behind the Wild net and brought it back around to set up Ladd’s goal to give the Thrashers a nice pad going into the second break.
Peverley finished with one assist and was a +2.
Zach Bogosian was trying his best to escape Schnide Island as the defenseman launched a game-high 6 SOG. Unfortunately, however, he remains on Isle de Schnide along with Johnny Oduya, Brent Sopel, Ron Hainsey and Freddy Meyer, who was a healthy scratch for the second straight game after returning to active duty with the team.
To be sure, this was the most solid, consistent, complete win of the season thus far. They’ll need another such effort Saturday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins pay a visit to Thrasherville. The Pens are 7-8-1 and will play in Tampa against the Lightning Friday night.