The Sabres tacked on three more goals in the final period to shut the Thrashers down, but the goal on Chris Mason to put them up 4-2 was the nail that deflated the Thrashers’ tire. The team, for all intents and purposes, completely shut down, with probably only the fourth line consistently trying. The best part about tonight? Atlanta outshot Buffalo 30-28.
Former St. Louis Blue Brad Boyes started the scoring on a fluky power play goal that bounced off of the boards directly to him and the wide-open net. Rob Neidermeyer scored his second of the game thirteen minutes later, and Tim Connolly put the nail in the coffin thirty seconds after that. That was the 23rd time this season that the Thrashers have allowed two goals in under two minutes, which is a mildly impressive statistic.
It would be easy to blame Zach Bogosian (a -3 for the night, which would have been worse had PPG allowed counted against your +/- rating), or Chris Mason (five goals allowed on seventeen shots) or the first line, who all ended the night a -3. But that isn’t what caused this. A defeatist attitude, a massive shut-down halfway through the second period on a questionable goal… if something doesn’t go your way during what probably is one of the most important games of the season, you don’t quit. You suck it up and deal. Don’t embarrass yourselves.
Then again, for tonight, the word “embarrassment” is an understatement.