Thrashers and Penguins and Caps… Oh my!

Good morning Thrasherville! Here are just a couple quick notes and thoughts regarding the Thrashers, the loss to Pittsburgh and this afternoon’s matchup in Washington D.C.

First off…if you cast your vote for Brent Sopel to be the last Thrasher off of Schnide Island, pick again. His blast at 2:41 of the first period gave Atlanta an early 1-0 over the Penguins, and came just 20 ticks of the clock after Chris Thorburn and Michael Rupp were put in a 2-minute time out for not playing nicely with each other.

Shortly after Sopes slipped off The Schnide, Dustin Byfuglien came painfully close to putting the home team up 2-0, taking a Rich Peverley pass from the left wing and snapping off a shot from close in. But Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made a great play moving to his left to get his skate out to block the shot. It was the first of several very good save he made to keep the Pens within one goal…including one against Andrew Ladd, who was able to find himself alone in front of Fleury after turning Kris Letang inside-out in the left wing face off circle.

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleurymakes a save on Dustin Byfuglien's wrap-around attempt (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save on Dustin Byfuglien's during Saturday's 4-2 win over the Thrashers (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

As it turns out, it was just what they needed.

After the Thrashers outshot Pittsburgh 7-1 in the first four minutes of the game, the Penguins slowly began to turn things in their favor and Ondrej Pavelec was then called upon more often to try and continue his work of late.

Then in the mid to late stages of the second period, Pittsburgh turned the physicality knob up to 11 and started hitting anything that moved on the ice. It lead to Evgeni Malkin’s first of three goals, which came with 6:28 left before the second intermission…a quick snapper that went five-hole on Pavelec.

Malkin then scored twice in the third period for the hat trick…the fourth that Atlanta has surrendered to an opposing player so far this season. His second goal came while Pittsburgh was on the power play. He redirected a ricochet off the boards behind the net past Pavelec and then potted an empty netter to provide the 4-2 final score.

Sidney Crosby had deflected in a Deryk Engelland shot to tie the game at 1-1 less then three minutes into the final period.

On both goals in the second period, Malkin’s power play one and Crosby’s game-tying tally, Zach Bogosian was…er, uh, well…let’s just say he was “in the vicinity” of defending against the goal-scorers.

After the game, Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay gave high praise to the Penguins scorers say, “They’re not both just talented they’re strong. Malkin is a monster and Crosby is as strong on the puck as there is”.

Pavelec echoed those thoughts. “Those guys don’t need many chances to score goals,” the young netminder said. “They may be the best players in the NHL”.

Evander Kane knocks Pittsburgh's Deryk Engelland off the puck. The Thrashers will play in Washington Sunday afternoon and Kane has scored 4 goals against the Caps so far this season (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Evander Kane knocks Pittsburgh's Deryk Engelland off the puck. The Thrashers will play in Washington Sunday afternoon and Kane has scored 4 goals against the Caps so far this season (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

“It’s tough to play them for 60 minutes, but if we want to make the playoffs, we need to shut down those guys”.

As for the game itself…I thought it was an overall good effort by the Thrashers, they came out with a great deal of jump and life in their game. But the Penguins simply took this game over halfway through and grinded the win.

Now, the Thrashers wing their way to D.C. for the third matchup this fall against the defending Southeast Division champs. That’s a tough way to rebound against a hard loss, if you ask me. But Atlanta has found a measure of success against the Caps, earning 3 of a possible 4 points against the division foe in the previous two meetings.

Evander Kane has scored four of his seven goals against Washington, 2 in the 4-2 season-opening win and another pair in the 4-3 overtime loss on October 23.

Chris Mason is expected to get today’s start in goal for the Thrashers. He is coming off the 5-2 loss in Ottawa last Tuesday and is 4-0-1 against the Caps in his career with a 2.25 GAA and .924 SV% in six games played against them.

The Capitals find themselves once again atop the division standings. Their 25 points are 8 more than Atlanta and 7 more than second place Tampa Bay.

Alex Ovechkin leads their overall scoring with 23 points…9 goals and 14 points…while Alexander Semin’s12 goals are the most for that team. As with Malkin, Semin is one of four players to get the hats flying against the Thrashers. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and St. Louis’ Jay McClement are the other two.

214 comments Add your comment

World Be Free

November 17th, 2010
3:12 pm

Don’t know Dwayne, I am sure Rammer has tried to teach the biys his brand of D.

Glad to be back on our blog, after spending a little time on the braves’ blog today. You figure Braves’ fans would be ga-ga over getting Dan Uggla, instead they are whining way too much. Makes me appreciate our group a little more, even with our resident whiners and Chicken Little wanna-bees.

Red Light

November 17th, 2010
3:31 pm

Ran into old friend Darcy Hordichuk this morning and had a great chat with him. I hope to have something posted tomorrow. What an extraordinary young man! He told me he still has a soft place in his heart for Atlanta and its fans. Sadly, he’s unlikely to play tonight.

Dwayne

November 17th, 2010
3:35 pm

The Uggla trade is a good one, especially if they can sign him long term, they get the right handed bat with power, Prado can play outfield if(when) Chipper gets hurt, again. They did not lose any top minor league prospects. TP aint going to be messing up anyones swing and the pitching is intact. Losind Wagner will hurt, but I believe Kimbrel will be ready.

World Be Free

November 17th, 2010
3:39 pm

Red Light-Darcy was one of the guys from the early years that I really liked. Good to see he has been able to hang around for a few seasons, great to see a few fighters left in the game.

Dwayne totally right on and I think there are more moves to come. Too bad Billy decided to hang ‘em up.

kracker

November 17th, 2010
3:40 pm

I thought of Wheeler in a trade but he won’t give the Bruins much cap relief. If they were to stash Ryder in the AHL then that changes things. But….wasn’t Wheeler the kid that refused to play in Phoenix?Of course he is a bit older now and if he got traded here he would have no choice to play, though he might do so w/ a very bad attitude.

World Be Free

November 17th, 2010
4:17 pm

I think Wheeler opted out of Phoenix because of the instability in the situation. Broones have to dump about $5 mil to being back Marco and Savard. They would be better trading at least one of them, if someone would take them. Savard likes Tronna but I doubt the Brunes would want to help the Loafs get better, since they hold Toronto’s 1 and 2 picks next season.

Alan R.

November 17th, 2010
7:22 pm

Bogosian is now off the Schneid.

Michael B. Shapiro

November 17th, 2010
8:19 pm

Alan R. beat me to it. Seems Bogo has joined Sopel on the raft headed off shore from Schneid Island. Go Thrash!

B. Thenet

November 17th, 2010
9:54 pm

And then Bogo is one the ice for the last 2 goals.

I guess the kids who got free tickets from Facebook got an up close and personal view of why nobody wants to pay to see these guys. That play in our own end right before the Florida GWG, it is up there with some of the all time worst performances in team history. Just embarrassing to make the Panthers look like an All Star Team for 5 minutes.

Joe Friday

November 17th, 2010
10:04 pm

“That play in our own end right before the Florida GWG, it is up there with some of the all time worst performances in team history.”

This. I had an up close and personal view of that sequence and called it embarrassing.

I think the team folded when they went in the locker room and heard that Buf’s knee is blown (it is, I assume).

R. Stroz

November 17th, 2010
10:32 pm

Joe Bob Friday – According to the post game presser, the coach was extremely unhappy with several players and shortened the bench to three forward lines.

Did anyone notice which forwards rode the pine in the third period?

I’m sure Slater was one of them.

Rawhide

November 17th, 2010
10:48 pm

Hey there gang…I’m back. Let’s discuss the latest Thrashers disappointment here.

R. Stroz

November 19th, 2010
8:45 am

Rawhide

November 19th, 2010
2:19 pm

R. Stroz – Nope