Late rally catapults Thrashers to win against Panthers

Was I worried at all when the Thrashers found themselves down 2-0, having to pull their goalie with around two minutes left to play in the game? Did I sweat at all knowing they were in danger of losing their fifth consecutive game and continue their January death spiral towards the lower portion of the Eastern conference standings?

Nahhhhhhhh…I know the Thrashers had the Florida Panthers just where they wanted them all along.

Yeah, your Sarcasmatron just went off.

Brian Little came up big on this night…scoring to get the score to 2-1 with just under two minutes left in regulation then helping to set up Chris Thorburn’s game-tying tally just 44 seconds later. Little then notched a score in the shootout to help procure the win.

Andrew Ladd congratulates Ondrej Pavelec after he stopped all three shootout tries by the Florida Panthers. The Thrashers came from behind to steal two points in Florida Monday night (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Andrew Ladd congratulates Ondrej Pavelec after he stopped all three shootout tries by the Florida Panthers. The Thrashers came from behind to steal two points in Florida Monday night (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

And while it’ll be natural to marvel at Little’s late-game heroics, go on and on about how well Ondrej Pavelec played between the pipes, stopping 38 of 40 shots, and voice appreciation for the hard work put in by the likes of Toby Enstrom, Evander Kane and Nik Antropov…please do not let the moment pass here without tossing a couple of accolades in the general direction of Ron Hainsey. The defenseman played his butt off all night long and played a key role in keeping the game close enough for his teammates to then do something about it.

In the third period, Hainsey even made what I would call the save of the night by laying out to knock away a Panthers shot towards a gaping Thrashers goal. At the time, the play kept the game scoreless.

For much of this game, the Thrashers played well and fought hard… even managed to kill off a couple of Florida power plays through the first two periods. But a 5 on 3 goal followed by ricochet off of Brent Sopel put Atlanta in a 2-0 hole with under 13 minutes to play.

However, unlike previous outings, this time around they didn’t let a couple of bad breaks deteriorate into a complete on-ice break down. They held it together and continued to work hard and found a way to come out of the Sunshine State with a winning glow about them.

On this night, they were…if I may…un-fragile. And this kind of victory might just be what the doctor ordered for what has been ailing this Thrashers team of late.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate using the ‘ol “Get Down 2-0 With under Two Minutes Left To Play Then Tally To Tie The Game And Win It In a Shootout” strategy too often in a season. But snatching the victory out of the proverbial jaws of defeat the way they did against the Panthers is just the kind of thing that can…ahem… catapult a team into a nice run.

Hopefully that’ll be the case here as the Thrashers face the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night. They haven’t beaten the Bolts since opening night of last season but find themselves just four points behind both them and the Washington Capitals at this time.

The Caps play in Philly Tuesday night while the Lightning host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

86 comments Add your comment

BMF

January 18th, 2011
12:09 am

Alan R.

January 18th, 2011
12:10 am

Just win, baby.

ZAvalanche

January 18th, 2011
12:11 am

Lol, “Little Big Win”! Loved the game, well played Thrashy.

Tom

January 18th, 2011
12:11 am

un-fragile, I like that…

The team has struggled lately and yet it is only 4 points out of the SE lead.

Time to break the losing streak to Tampa Thursday. Another win over the Rangers Saturday and things could get interesting.

ZAvalanche

January 18th, 2011
12:17 am

Would rather see a butt whooping but the 2 pts is all that counts tonight. Apologies if my rants get verbose, doing the 12oz curls right now. Love the blog. Go thrashy

BMF

January 18th, 2011
12:23 am

Wow, never had a “first” before. Normally don’t go for that but i saw a blank slate and went for it.

Anyhow, beating Tampa needs to be first and foremost on the minds of the team. We play these guys all the time and they have owned us. That can not continue. They obviously don’t respect us at this point, and nor should they. We really need to get this monkey off our backs and take 2 points, and 2 more from the Rangers. Should have two good crowds down at Phileeeps Areena (like Hartley used to pronounce it) and we need to take care of business. How many times have we followed up nice road wins with bad home losses? Too many times. Last two home games? YYZ and PHI debacles. Home town is dying for a solid W, and we shall have them thursday and saturday.

Smoothie

January 18th, 2011
12:28 am

The important thing is they committed to playing with intensity and hustle all nite and were then rewarded at the end in spite of some serious adversity and overwhelming circumstances. Thw win may very well catapult them into a new frame of mind, a winning one. Kudos!

CatThrashFever

January 18th, 2011
12:44 am

Whew! Glad the we Catapulted those Cats! Now let’s set a Battering Ram on the Bolts!

cousin Eddie

January 18th, 2011
12:50 am

How can a team control play for most of the game and not generate hardly any scoring oppurtunities? We lack skill. Pevs and Little are the only skill guys and play to their potential. Antro has skill but for some reason is not playing up to his ability. Burmi has a ton of skill, but is young and small. That’s it. All of our defensemen can puck handle pretty good except Bogosian. Evander Kane is pretty much a raw talent. He cant stick handle with his head up to save his life. He is going to be a concussion machine if he doesn’t change his way of playing.

The wins in the past month have been awful. The losses have been worse. I am open to emptying the pantry to get a skilled forward with some descent size(along the lines of Bobby Ryan type). Maybe for a solid stay at home defensemen as well.

cousin Eddie

January 18th, 2011
12:54 am

Im not a fan of the rookie line either. Please spread them around and start back to rolling 4 lines.

ZAvalanche

January 18th, 2011
1:01 am

Cousin eddie, Buffy and Pavs are skill players. Buffy has spent a lot of time as a forward, however was drafted as a D. Pavs is rocking it = skill player. I also think Pevs is coming around. It is a young team and we are just experiencing the ups and downs that young teams have. Though I will lift a cold one in your honor for caring about the team. Cheers! -z

cousin Eddie

January 18th, 2011
1:19 am

As far as skill guys, I was mainly talking about the forwards. When I said that all the defensemen could stickhandle except Bogosian, I was giving kudos to them for their skill.

I know this is a young team, but the things that Bogosian and Kane are doing, should of been ironed out in Pee Wee hockey. This is what happens when a kid goes through youth hockey being physically strong than the other kids. They lack the proper skill development and I am afraid they won’t live up to the expectations of being drafted at 3 and 4 respectively.

Brendan

January 18th, 2011
1:23 am

There’s an eight-point swing potentially on the horizon between Tampa Bay and Atlanta. It’s not quite a home-n-home, but it’s close enough. Not only is it important to win those games, but also to DENY the Bolts points from those games. I’d be happy with taking three of four (3/4) points, straight up, for a 1-0-1 record. That’d be a 5-3 split of the eight possible points up for grabs. We’d earn three (3) points while denying the Bolts two (2).

Darren

January 18th, 2011
1:33 am

Another craptastic game from Johnny Oduya, who never wanted to be here in the first place, and has been playing like trash all season. Horrible, inexcusable giveaway with full possession of the puck on the penalty kill (here’s a hint: ice it, you moron!) leading to him taking a panicked penalty, leading to the Panther kittens’ first goal.

Fan from Carolina

January 18th, 2011
6:07 am

Looks like I picked out a good game to attend this Thursday. Well worth the drive I hope as the Lightning are really struggling right now after two losses to the Devils and a horrific ’special teams’ loss to the Canes. We’ll see how they fare against Columbus tonight but if there is ever a time for the Thrashers to break the losing streak, it will be Thursday night.

Marcus Valdes

January 18th, 2011
6:57 am

Is it just me, or does Evander seem to have one move? He skates hard down the left side, dumps the puck past the defenseman and goes for it. Seems like maybe he needs to change it up a bit.

I almost turned that game off, but rarely do as occasionally something like this happens. A win is a win and happy for the two points. I hope this is something the boys build off of and stick it to the Bolts on Thursday. Go Thrashers!!

Mike W

January 18th, 2011
7:14 am

@Marcus I agree w/ Evander only having one move. He seems to just not be getting it this season. Maybe he needs to be benched a bit like Bergfors was. Seemed to work for him.

Did anyone else like having Stewart planted in front of the net for that tying goal? I’d like to see him there a bit more. Him and Antro are huge bodies that need to be screening the goalie as much as possible.

Last thing, the Rookie line needs to be dumped. I don’t like seeing Corms & Spence only having 5 minutes TOI. Spread them out.

Zoomo

January 18th, 2011
7:47 am

I was ticked last night after that second goal. Figured it was over. I’m tired of the bad penalties. But, a win is a win and the team seemed to be lifted by getting it done. Let’s hope it carries forward.

Agree that Oduya had a rough night. I have to wonder after that between period interview if he just doesn’t want to be here or if he is simply uncomfortable with a mic in front of him. The guy has had a rough season covering for Bogo’s tentativeness.

I thought Bergfors had a very good game.

World Be Free

January 18th, 2011
8:03 am

Hey guys, we won and it was a comback win too, when a “fragile” team could have just packed it in and headed home. These guys stayed and finished the game in style. Hasn’t the issue been a lack of effort for 60 minutes? This does not wash away some of the recent troubles, but’s sure better than losing a 5th game in a row. Read Biltong’s post from yesterday-I think what H-B stated applies here.

And I have another idea-instead of rolling 4 lines, let a 4th line get spot duty and go with 3 lines. As a former player I can tell you that you get into a grove with more ice time. You have to have a certain mentality to be on a 4-line team. Some guys don’t have it. I would be curious to see this works for a few games and how guys would then “fight” for ice time.

glovesave29

January 18th, 2011
8:05 am

Mark Messier is 50 today. He looks like he can still kick the #%&@* out of half the league.

BlueSpark

January 18th, 2011
8:10 am

I’d put Bergfors in the “skilled” camp, but he’s soft. Like Antro.

I really hope Slater comes back soon, re-uniting the “Greek Gods” and (hopefully) breaking up the rookie line. With Cormier up we now have 5 centers, 2 of them rookies.

Special teams is killing the Thrashers right now.

BTW Rawhide, didn’t Little get the first SO goal, and Burmi the second, deciding one?

Mr. Heat Miser

January 18th, 2011
8:17 am

Hainsey did some great thisngs for a change. Officiating crew was non existant. If the Olesz hit Crosby like he hit Kane, Collie would have had him suspended by the end of the first period. Hope Bogosian is “getting the message”.

glovesave29

January 18th, 2011
8:29 am

I am getting a really good laugh from all of Cindy Crosby’s whinning about dirty players and head shots. Seems the “selected one” has forgotten he joins fights as the third player in (we ALL remember the Valabik “incedent” that the league ignored) – or that the dirtiest player in the league shares a locker room with him (guess we gotta sick Evander Kane on him again!)

EA

January 18th, 2011
8:31 am

Kudos to Antro last night for making a big body stop. It can’t be easy to move that size body quickly to the ice. He and Coach Ramsay shared a big smile and a pat on the back on the bench. We need more of that from all the players.

World Be Free

January 18th, 2011
8:34 am

Glovesave, Pens get away with murder. Orpick is a cheap shot, has never been called ont he carpet for what he does. The hit of Crosby was in open ice-any fool knows you have to keep your head up all the time even on a hit like to one he took from Steckel. Goddard will goon it up next time they play Washington.

Let Cindy go play in the KHL

moriler

January 18th, 2011
8:36 am

Hey, where’s Sage? ;) Funny, he’s not here again… ;) ;) ;)

DB

January 18th, 2011
8:40 am

Awful Win>Beautiful Loss

World Be Free

January 18th, 2011
8:42 am

moriler-one of the benefits of any win is Sage’s silence. You can count on it.

Hockeunut

January 18th, 2011
8:51 am

With out that sorry Zach we seem to have a good defensive minded player in Meyer he is what we need a player that cares and now we need to get Antropov moving he is at times to slow and to gently play more like Philly and this team will win some games….go Trashers get of you duff and show what your’e made of like the game against Florida

Flames

January 18th, 2011
9:01 am

We needed this win! I just hope we can build on it and get another winning streak going. It seems that when we get a large crowd at the bulb, the team plays like crap. If we want large crowds at the bulb, then we must win at the bulb. These next two home games are HUGE!

World Be Free

January 18th, 2011
9:11 am

Clearly the biggest issue with this team is the ability to control play in our own zone. We are still standing around too much, watching the opposing team handle the puck-instead to aggressively move on the player. Thorburn is the exception. We cannot get the puck out of our own zone on a consistent basis, though we were a little better last night.

We have to reduce the opposing team’s puck possession time in our zone.

Restless Native

January 18th, 2011
9:20 am

The best thing about the game is that they didn’t lose in regulation. The worst part is that the division opponent that sucks gets a point too.

Rawhide

January 18th, 2011
9:23 am

BlueSpark – Yes, you’re correct. It was Little then Burmistrov in the shootout with three Florida FAILs wraped around them. The blog has been updated accordingly…thanks.

Everyone – Just another reminder here folks that you can still get some good deals on the three remaining home games this month. Just click –>HERE<-- and use the promo code RAWHIDE.

Red Light

January 18th, 2011
9:33 am

Concerned?

After scoring six goals in the Thrashers first nine games, Evander Kane has just seven tallies in the next 34 games in which he has played.

da' boomer

January 18th, 2011
9:42 am

Nice to see that Rammer has finally got the right guys in the shoot outs…why was that so hard to figure out?

Hockey Biltong

January 18th, 2011
9:53 am

Kane needs to mix it up. He has support moving with him, so why not try a bona fide pass versus a shot off angle? And Buff must feel like he was razor whipped last night. Diying the death of a thousand cuts.The reffs only called one on him and at the last minute at that.Just sorry officiating…..
We also should quit being clever with the puck in our end. Buff did it at least twice and Oduya once.Late in the game this will kill us.

But we got the win….

Hockey Biltong

January 18th, 2011
9:54 am

Da Boomer. My sentiments exactly….

Midfield

January 18th, 2011
9:57 am

Anybody can clarify a head shot rule for me, please? Kane got wacked at least twice during the past week – once against the Flyers and yesterday night by Oleszh. I can see the Flyer’s hit as being border-line legit, because it was not high, one on one and head-on (pun is not intended). However, Oleszh was the third man in the pile coming in from the side, and I’m pretty sure he had an elbow up. How was that not a penalty?

Monkey

January 18th, 2011
10:14 am

And this is why you never leave a game early (or turn it off).

Great play by those who seem not to show up some nights…Hainsey, Antro..

Can’t wait to get Jimmah back. We need our faceoff king.

Darren

January 18th, 2011
10:34 am

Never thought I’d see the day when people would pine for the good ole days of having jimmy slater in the lineup

Hockey Biltong

January 18th, 2011
10:37 am

Hey now, Slater is doing well in this system!!! Just saying!

Red Light

January 18th, 2011
10:41 am

Midfield

The hit on Kane by the Flyers’ O’Donnell was a thing of beauty, not a high hit or a head shot. O’Donnell backed into Kane who had his head down. Hard, clean hit but not malicious.

The hit last night, and I replayed it several times, was merely Olesz’s shoulder pad hitting Kane. No elbow was thrown and I don’t think Olesz was going out of his way to hit Kane. I thought it was more like a bump, although I do think it could have been called because it was kind of a blind-side hit.

Red Light

January 18th, 2011
10:52 am

What a surprise. The NHL is promoting a marketing event that is scheduled for the weekend of Feb 18 – Feb 20, called Hockey Weekend Across America in conjunction with USA Hockey. Feb 20 will be designated as Hockey Day in America.

Atlanta and Washington are the only two Southeast-based teams without a home game that weekend and Atlanta is actually playing in Edmonton on Feb. 19.

Donovan McNubb

January 18th, 2011
11:13 am

Man, I turned the game off with about six minutes left, figuring we were doneski. Me = fragile.

Then I heard we tied it, but of course I couldn’t turn it back on. YOU DON’T MESS WITH WHAT’S WORKING. Lol.

Very happy that the team pulled this out. Desperately needed two points and some confidence going into Thursday. This team just owns us, Nittymaki or not.

Derrick

January 18th, 2011
11:13 am

Breaking News!

The Thrashers have traded Ben Eager to San Jose for a 5th round pick.

This move doesn’t really come as a surprise considering he’s been in the doghouse for most of the year. I wish we could have gotten more than a 5th round pick for him but hey I guess it’s better than nothing.

Rawhide

January 18th, 2011
11:21 am

Derrick – Yup….per C-Viv tweet: “Thrashers trade Eager to San Jose“.

Good. I know a 5th rounder is nothing to jump up and down about, but at least that’s that.

ZAvalanche

January 18th, 2011
11:22 am

That is about what he is worth.

kj

January 18th, 2011
11:23 am

Sorry, whiffed on that first one….did anyone here Jones and Engblom talking about the Thrashers last night? They talked about how soft they were lately not having answers for their guys getting blasted in the Flyers game and reference dthe Kane hit. They could have added the Bergfors hit from Sat. at Dallas. Not illegal hits by any means but the point was THE THRASHERS NEVER ANSWERED with hard physical hits. Ott hits little Bergfors? Someone’s got to hit Loui Eriksson or Brad Richards. I think Rammer’s got them too worried about answering stupidly like Eager when SOMEONE has to step up and show a teammate we’re not going to be run over, especially our skill players. It was embarrassing to watch Sat. night and embarassing to watch last night up until they caught some breaks with the puck, brought about by hard work. Antrop and Little helped that happen but once again, Antro lost puck battels on the boards all night long. Sorry, but they’ve lost some cohesiveness somewhere. Here’s hoping Slates comes back soon and ignites more than a flicker of aggressiveness.

JT from Columbus

January 18th, 2011
11:25 am

Wonder if this is just the beginning of another series of trades that many of the bloggers here have opined about?

Rawhide

January 18th, 2011
11:27 am

Getting only a 5th rounder for Eager may seem …ahem…meager in return. But I think this was the team’s way of just removing someone who didn’t really seem like he wanted to be here and now they both can move on.

In essence, they just told Ben, “You’re FIRED”!