Despite having a defense that appeared more sponge-like than defense-like, the Thrashers came from behind to net a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers. The Thrashers began the 3rd period tied 2-2, but a Bryan Allen slap shot, again a long shot, snuck by Chris Mason at 4:31. Atlanta tied it four and a half minutes later on a booming slap shot from Dustin Byfuglien, which is his fifth goal of the year. Byfuglien leads all NHL defensemen in goals, and is currently in a five-way tie for the lead with twelve (he earned an assist tonight as well).
The game winning goal was a Niclas Bergfors slapshot, giving Bergfors his fourth goal of the season. Chris Mason stopped 52 of 55 shots, improving his record when facing more than 40 SOG to 11-2-4. Mason leads the league in shots faced with 394 after just 11 games in net. He has stopped 358 of them. Tonight’s game might not do Mason’s goals against average any favors, but it certainly helped his save percentage.
The Thrashers are now 6-4-2 on the season, giving them fourteen points, one behind second place Tampa Bay. Next up are the Columbus Blue Jackets (7-4-0, 14 points, 3rd in Central) tomorrow night at Philips Arena. Puck drop is at 7, and Ondrej Pavelec will get the start in net. I’m sure that Chris Mason will appreciate the break.