LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: Chris Thorburn #27 of the Atlanta Thrashers controls the puck as Rob Scuderi #7 of the Los Angeles Kings pursues during their game at Staples Center on October 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Atlanta Thrashers at Los Angeles Kings: West Coast Trip Begins

The Thrashers score early, but the Kings score late to win 3-1 at their home opener.

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Thrashers Fall 3-1 To Kings In Third Period

There were positives to take away from this game. Goaltender Chris Mason was outstanding, allowing two goals on 34 shots, and the penalty kill went two for two. The fourth line of Eager-Burmistrov-Thorburn again continued to impress, oftentimes being the only line to put forth solid and consistent effort. Chris Thorburn scored the Thrashers lone goal at 2:26 of the second period, whapping in his own rebound. The drive of that line continues to impress. They averaged between twelve and a half and thirteen and a half minutes each, which was the most of any forward save for Andrew Ladd, who played 15:12.

Defensively, the only breakdown came on the first goal, which was a Ryan Smyth backhand while Zach Bogosian was tied up with Justin Williams. A goaltender interference penalty would not have been out of the question, considering that Williams fell on Mason and impeded his ability to play the puck, but the Thrashers did not get a powerplay or a disallowed goal out of it.

The powerplay was the weakest aspect of the game, going 0-for-5 in a game that saw the Kings play fairly undisciplined hockey up until the last period. Thus far this season the Thrashers are 1-for-14 on the power play, which is a significant issue that they need to address. Two shots on three powerplays in the first period is a major issue. Coach Craig Ramsay addressed the problem after the game:

“That was not a good effort by our power play,” Ramsay said. “Our speed up the ice, at times, was just not good enough. Our entries were not good enough. … [The Kings] did a real good job on us and we didn’t recognize that our points were open. We didn’t get our shots through. We didn’t take shots when we had them. When you get a puck in the offensive zone and you get outworked on it, that’s not good enough. It’s a privilege to play on the power play. I put [Alexander] Burmistrov’s line out there with 30 seconds to go and they had the best entry of the night and that tells you how it works when people are really committed.

“Tonight they outhustled us down deep in our zone. We had opportunities to win battles and get it to the point and we didn’t get that job done. We’ve got some pretty good shooters back there but if you are not getting them the puck it doesn’t do you any good.”

The Thrashers continue their road trip Friday night against the struggling Anaheim Ducks (0-3-0, with just two goals scored over three games), and conclude the trip against the San Jose Sharks (2-0-1). Both games are radio only, but NHL Center Ice's free preview runs through the end of the month, so your cable company should have the games available to watch.

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Atlanta Thrashers Line Combinations For 10/12/10.

Coach Craig Ramsay’s sticking with what’s worked so far:

Andrew LaddBryan Little – Niclas Bergfors
Freddy Modin – Nik AntropovNigel Dawes
Evander KaneRich PeverleyAnthony Stewart
Ben Eager – Alex Burmistrov – Chris Thorburn

Johnny OduyaZach Bogosian
Dustin ByfuglienTobias Enstrom
Brent SopelRon Hainsey

From Rich Hammond, the LA Kings’ beat writer/blogger:

Three of the Kings’ four lines will get new looks at left wing tonight, with Andrei Loktionov joining the first line, Ryan Smyth moving to the second line and Brad Richardson moving to the fourth line. The odd man out in this scenario is Kyle Clifford, the rookie who played seven capable minutes in each of his first two NHL games. Clifford can still be returned to his junior team before his 10th NHL game (before the Kings burn a year off his contract), but Terry Murray said the move wasn’t a reflection on Clifford. Richardson has been a lineup staple, Brayden Schenn has had two strong games and Murray likes having an enforcer — Kevin Westgarth — in the lineup.

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Starting Goaltenders For Tonight's Thrashers At Kings Game

Chris Mason will start in goal tonight for the Thrashers, unsurprisingly. Kings’ starter Jonathan Quick will probably be in goal, according to DailyFaceOff.com. Mason faced the Kings four times last season, and ended with a 3-1 record and a 2.46 GAA with a .917 save percentage.

So far this season, Quick has a .920 GAA and a .958SV%, allowing only one goal in his start this season against Vancouver.

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