It can be done. The Thrashers have flirted with winning the seemingly elusive sixth game in a row several times in the past few seasons, but for some reason always hit a brick wall when it came to that one extra game. Tonight was different.
Rich Peverley put the Thrashers up to a 1-0 lead that would last until 1:43 of the third period in what looked to be a goaltender’s duel. Matt Duchene squeaked a shot through the tiniest gap in Pavelec’s pads to tie the game, and David Jones took advantage of a phantom interference call on Evander Kane to put the Avalanche up 2-1with just over six minutes to go.
Shortly after the penalty was called, Kane was hit in the knee by a Tobias Enstrom slap shot and did not return; Chris Thorburn replaced him on that line.
Dustin Byfuglien decided tonight was the night to tie the franchise mark of goals by a defenseman in a season (10) with a slapshot from the point on Peter Budaj that split the defense, mostly because no one wanted to get hit with it.
The Thrashers’ game-winning goal came from Anthony Stewart just 1:49 into overtime on a wrap-around that found a gap in Budaj’s pads. The assist came from Byfuglien who carried the puck into the zone. Tonight was Byfuglien’s 8th multi point game so far this season. Buff leads all NHL defensemen with 10 goals and 27 points, and so far is a +5.
Unfortunately the Thrashers did not gain any points tonight on the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Thrashers next play Thursday night in Pittsburgh, against the also-streaking Penguins who have won seven in a row behind now red-hot goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.