Once more the Thrashers drug the Carolina Hurricanes into overtime, just as they had three times in the previous four meetings. Once more their personal tormentor, Erik Cole, scored a big goal against them late in the game…this time on a break away after jumping off the bench to tie the game a two with 7:39 remaining in the third. But, unlike in the previous meeting with the Canes this season, this time it was the Thrashers coming away with the all-important two points after Tim Stapleton scored the game-winning goal for Atlanta in overtime.
Yes, that’s right…I’m talking about Tim “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him” Stapleton, scorer of two goals in the last five games.
The Thrashers didn’t come by these two points easily, though. After going up 2-0 in the first period on goals by Rob Schremp and Toby Enstrom, they allowed the Hurricanes back into the game, giving up goals in the second and third. For Schremp it was his first as a Thrasher and eleventh of the season.
However, in overtime Stapleton put home a great pass from defenseman Ron Hainsey following a 2 on 1 break.
Two-goal leads are something Atlanta haven’t had to deal with lately, and their lack of practice holding them has been quite evident lately. Including Wednesday night, the Thrashers have failed to hold the last three two-goal leads they have managed to build. Last Saturday they held a 3-1 lead on Florida before being forced into overtime and last month they blew a 3-1 third period lead on their way to losing 5-3 in Edmonton.
At least these last two times they still found a way to eventually win…so maybe they’re getting the hang of it again, eh?
Ondrej Pavelec returned between the pipes after missing the last week and a half of games. He stopped 35 of 37 shots he faced and improved his record to 19-18-8. He also improved his GAA to 2.64 and his SV% to .920.
“We finally did it,” Pavelec said after the game. “I didn’t mean we didn’t play well against them in the past; we just didn’t find a way to win. Finally we did.”
The victory was the second straight after beating the Panthers in overtime last Saturday. It’s the first time they’ve put even a modest two-game win streak together since the beginning of January when they knocked off Montreal in OT and then beat the Panthers 4-2 two days later.
Making his first NHL start was defenseman Paul Postma. The seventh round pick in the 2007 draft posted 9:55 TOI during 17 shift. He blocked 2 shots, delivered one hit and took one SOG. He finished the game with an EVEN rating.
Postma played in place of Dustin Byfuglien who missed his first game of the season.
And lastly…in case you missed this, Chris Vivlamore reported Wednesday night that there are three entities in discussion to purchase the Thrashers.
In the article, Vivlamore says that team president Don Waddell “is dealing directly with the entities — two groups and one individual — who have expressed an interest in a possible purchase of only the Thrashers from the Atlanta Spirit and in keeping the team in the city. Two of the entities are from Atlanta”.
“Each group is doing their due diligence,” Waddell said.