PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 12: Andrew Ladd #16 of the Atlanta Thrashers celebrates his game tying goal in the final minute of the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers with teammate Radek Dvorak #20 on March 12, 2011 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Thrashers defeated the Flyers 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
1 Total Update since March 12, 2011
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
These are the type of games that make being a Thrashers fan so exasperating and yet so much fun all at once. They manage to allow easy goals with a lack of defense and observation skills, and then in the third period they flip a switch and come out, pardon the word, flying.
The first period was not a particularly solid one defensively. Daniel Briere, Scott Hartnell, and Ville Leino were set up in front of Pavelec with absolutely no one challenging them, and no one to cut off passing lanes. Briere to Hartnell to Leino on Pavelec’s right side, and it’s 1-0 Philadelphia. It was a pin to a balloon, considering how much pressure the Thrashers put on the Flyers, and how sharp they looked.
The Thrashers were on the powerplay with Darrol Powe in the box for hooking when the game’s focus started to fall apart. The Flyers are excellent shorthanded, and Kimmo Timonen’s goal proved why. Timonen and Mike Richards took advantage of a turnover in the Flyers’ zone and streaked the puck directly at Pavelec. Richards’s shove of the puck at Pavs was initially blocked, but Timonen was smartly at the other side of the net, ready to knock it in. Dustin Byfuglien was directly between the two, and yet still managed to not block the passing lane, as he was tracking Richards and not the puck. His whacks at Timonen’s stick in a half-hearted attempt to keep the puck out were atrocious.
Later that period, Leino scored his second of the game on a deflection of a Richards’ shot. Once again, he was allowed to stand unopposed and completely uncovered at Pavelec’s right hand side, and he was ready to pounce on the puck when Pavelec bounced it off of his pads. Also basically undefended on the play were both Richards and Hartnell, seeing as how Johnny Oduya is under the impression that a tap of a stick in the direction of an opposing player is called “defense.”
Down 3-0, the Thrashers started the third period with Chris Mason in net to shake things up. The change worked right off of the bat, as Evander Kane scored his eighteenth goal of the year with a helper from Ron Hainsey to get Atlanta on the board. Kane nabbed a clear by Hainsey at center ice and drove hard to the net, flipping the puck in over Sergei Bobrovsky, who dropped a bit too quickly.
Zach Bogosian, who has been firing the puck a lot more recently, scored the Thrashers’ second goal of the night when one of his slap shots finally found its mark. Bobrovsky looked like he had a clear view of it, and he reacted like he had blocked the puck, but it squeaked through regardless and the Thrashers pulled within one.
Leino didn’t want to be outdone, so he decided to add to the mounting list of opposing players who have scored hat tricks against Atlanta. Mark Stuart was called for playing with a broken stick that he didn’t notice, and Leino took advantage, firing a shot from above the right circle that completely flew past Chris Mason glove side.
Normally this would signal the end of Atlanta’s evening, but they took the hats on the ice as a cue to ramp it up a notch or 12. Four minuts later on the power play, Tobias Enstrom scored his tenth goal of the year and his 51st point of the season by flying up the right hand side, catching a pass from Anthony Stewart, and wristing it past a stick-less Philadelphia goaltender who was sprawled on the ice.
With less than a minute to go and Chris Mason on the bench, captain Andrew Ladd caught a rebound of a Bryan Little shot by using one of Philadelphia’s tricks against them – he was camped out undefended to Bobrovsky’s right, and tapped the rebound in.
In the Thrashers fourth overtime game in a row, they unleashed their secret OT weapon: Ron Hainsey. Responsible for setting up Tim Stapleton’s overtime winner in Carolina, Hainsey decided to go on and score this game winner on his own. Evander Kane came streaking down the left side and, with the patience of Job, held the puck past a sprawling Timonen, passed it around him to Hainsey, and assisted on the game winning goal.
The Thrashers now sit four points out of 8th place in the Eastern Conference, pending the late results of tonight’s game between the New York Rangers and the San Jose Sharks. They are 3-0-1 in their last four games, which is a pleasant turn-around from how the month of February ended and the month of March began.
Kane ended the night with a goal and an assist, as did Hainsey and Ladd. Anthony Stewart had two assists, and Chris Mason was credited with his tenth win of the year as the team gets back on the right side of the .500 mark. Next up is the New Jersey Devils yet again, who just defeated the Thrashers Saturday night 3-2 in overtime, and who sit two points behind Atlanta in the standings.
Let’s not give our fans a heart attack watching that game too, huh guys?
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
The Flyers under Peter Laviolette are a well-oiled machine that has hit a bit of a hiccup. After spending much of this season high atop the Eastern Conference standings, the month of March hasn't agreed with them at all. They're 3-2-0 so far this month. One of the losses was an atrocious 7-0 blowout to the New York Rangers, and another they let a 2-0 and then a 3-1 lead slip away to the Buffalo Sabres who defeated them 5-3.
Wait a second... that sounds oddly familiar. Holding leads during the game, blowing them, and then losing? Odd. Atlanta would never do - oh. The exact same thing happened to the Thrashers last month in Edmonton, where they let a 3-1 lead evaporate into a 5-3 loss. It's nice to know that Atlanta isn't the only team in the league who is allergic to maintaining a lead.
Fortunately for the Thrashers, they won the two of the last three games where they let a lead slip away. Last night, however, they held a 1-0 and 2-1 lead over the New Jersey Devils only to lose in overtime 3-2. Why'd the team lose? Penalties that were absolutely useless to take. Regardless of if Evander Kane disagreed with the slashing call on him in overtime that led to the game winning goal, you don't need to put yourself in the position where the referee thinks that you've slashed someone. Unless you're lifting a stick, if you're by a player's legs, keep your stick on the ice. Kane didn't, he got called, and so goes the game.
Ondrej Pavelec deserves another chance to win after last night's performance. He stopped 27 of 30 shots on goal in the loss to New Jersey and put on a clinic for most of the night. The score could have been significantly worse had he not made quite a few impressive saves, most notably a killer glove save on an Ilya Kovalchuk snap shot. He plays fairly well against the Flyers, going 1-1-0 against them and stopping 75 of 80 shots on goal those two starts. The five goals allowed came back in January, when the Thrashers lost 5-2 to the Flyers at Philips Arena.
Blake Wheeler so far has four goals as a Thrasher, and the top line of he, Bryan LIttle, and Andrew Ladd have been absolutely solid for the team. Wheeler's goal last night was assisted by Ladd and LIttle, and Dustin Byfuglien's slap shot goal was set up by Tobias Enstrom and Little. The team's top line and top defensemen are contributing. It's time for the rest of the team to do so regularly.
If it makes Thrasher fans feel better, the Flyers haven't fared much better in their last ten games than the Thrashers. Atlanta is 3-5-2, and Philadelphia is 4-5-1. The difference is, unless they lose every game for the rest of the season, the Flyers are all but guaranteed a spot in the postseason. The Thrashers are sitting five points out of 8th place with absolutely no margin for error.