So did the Atlanta Thrashers catch a major break in Sunrise, Florida Wednesday night? Certainly the Panthers think so.
The controversy happened with 6:22 remaining in the third period and Atlanta up 3-2 on a pair of Rich Peverley goals and one from Nic Bergfors. Bryan McCabe shot from the left circle got through Ondrej Pavelec’s right side onto the line…maybe past the line.
A quick look at the play can be found towards the end of this highlight clip.
The referee behind the goal waived it of, blowing the whistle to stop the play. McCabe and the Florida bench waited for a video review from the NHL official’s in Toronto. However…and admittedly, surprisingly…no such review would be forthcoming.
Instead, play continued and the Thrashers escaped south Florida with 2 points, leaving Panthers coach Pete DeBoer “baffled”.
“It looked like a goal to me”, DeBoer commented afterwards. “I’m baffled as to why the referees, to make certain, wouldn’t have gone to the penalty box and asked that they take a look at it or Toronto would have buzzed and taken a second look at it. They look at everything else”.
Regardless, the win puts the Thrashers at 22-15-6 for 50…good enough for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Pavelec was again outstanding as he kicked aside 33 of 35 Panthers shots. It’s no too often that an NHL goalie can face that many shots and almost consider it a “night off”, but seeing how last Sunday he was called upon 50 times to make saves in Montreal, it may have just felt that way for Opie.
Pavelec is now 15-8-4 with a .936 SV% and 2.14 GAA.
As stated above, Peverely notched goals number 10 and 11 on the season while Nic Bergfors scored his first since December 10th …a rather fortunate bounce for Bergie as it deflected in off Panther netminder Tomas Vokoun and trickled in over the line.
Vokoun did not have a very good night at all and was lifted after Peverley’s second goal of the game gave the Thrashers a 3-1 in the second period. He departed after allowed three goals on 15 shots during 26:27 TOI.
Rich Peverley’s power play goal late in the first was a thing of beauty, however. He made a strong move out of the corner on Vokoun’s right, drove the net then knocked in his own rebound while falling to the ice. The Pevs Dispenser now has 11 goals and 14 assists on the season. He took a game-high 8 shots on goal as well in Florida.
“Peverley did a great job,” Ramsay said of Wednesday night’s offensive hero. “He took the hit to draw the penalty, then took the puck to the net. That was a real good effort from him. Take the penalty, then score. Give him four marks for that one.”
Next on the agenda is the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday night. They are struggling right now with a 14-20-4 record and reside in the cellar of the Northeast Division. The Leafs will head to Atlanta after playing St. Louis tonight in Toronto and could be in 14th place in conference if they lose to the Blues and the Islanders win in Edmonton later on in the evening.
These are the teams the Thrashers need to take of business against, needless to say. They may have gotten a lucky break in Florida last night, but generally speaking a team creates it’s own luck more times than not.
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