As I mentioned before, never underestimate the New York Islanders when they play the Atlanta Thrashers. For whatever reason, the Thrashers always have issues with the Isles, and tonight was no different. Constant pressure and some of the most persistant shots on goal that the Thrashers have applied all season was not enough to get past Rick DiPietro. DiPietro was apparently determined to show people that he is worth the contract that he was given, and unfortunately chose tonight to highlight his all-star skills. Just one goal on 34 regulation shots earned him the third star of the game, and one goal allowed in overtime was enough to hand his team their thirteenth loss in a row. Nik Antropov scored his 6th goal of the year on the powerplay to tie the game after Michael Grabner scored at the very end of the second period to put the Islanders up by one. The Thrashers' powerplay now is the sixth ranked in the league, firing at a 23.5% effectiveness rate.
That 1-1 score looked to be broken at 14:56 of the third period, when a wide open net awaited the Islanders' offense. And then Ondrej Pavelec did this:
You could argue that was the momentum changer for the Thrashers, because that little piece of inspiration helped them maintain the 1-1 tie until overtime. Just a minute and thirty seconds in, Dustin Byfuglien scored the game winning goal, which was enough to make him the first star of the night's game:
Byfuglien can grab the team by their bootstraps and pull them up to the level that they need to play at - and that they can play at. One of the most common complaints I've heard from Hawks fans about Buff is that he's great when he's interested, but keeping that interest is tricky. I don't know what Atlanta's done to make him focus, but keep giving that man his Adderall.