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Final Score: Carolina Hurricanes Down Atlanta Thrashers In Shootout, 3-2

The upshot from last night’s game is that the Thrashers sit currently just one point out of first place in the Southeast Division. The downside? If the team would have won last night, they’d be in first place. The Thrashers hopped to a two goal lead at the end of the second period, though it is debatable over whether it should have been a two goal lead, or a three goal one. Tobias Enstrom’s shot from the circles on the power play at 8:35 of the second flew over the shoulder of Hurricanes’ netminder Cam Ward, but it was ruled a non-reviewable no-goal due to Nik Antropov being in the crease when the goal was scored. Replays of the goal showed Antropov to be well clear of the blue paint and the goaltender when the puck went into the net.

Ten seconds later, Evander Kane scored the goal back, and ten minutes later Anthony Stewart scored his ninth of the year to put the Thrashers up 2-0. As Ben Wright of the Blueland Blog noted, all points scored last night were scored by black players, which was an NHL first. Stewart and Oduya got assists on Kane’s goal, and Kane and Byfuglien netted assists on Stewart’s goal.

The third period was a period that the team would have liked to have had back. The lead was cut to one after Brandon Sutter tipped in a shot from Tuomo Ruutu, and at six minutes, Eric Staal snapped one home from directly in front of the crease. No coverage on Staal = bad idea.

After a scoreless overtime that gave control to the Hurricanes, Sergei Samsonov scored the game winner in the shootout. Cam Ward stopped 45 of 47 shots, while Chris Mason turned in his fourth two goal game of the year, stopping 27 of 29 Carolina shots. His GAA improves to 3.74 and his SV% to .897.

The announced attendance was 11,043, though it should be significantly higher Saturday night when Ilya Kovalchuk and Johan Hedberg return to Blueland. The Devils are in second-to-last place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 9-19-2, good for just 20 points (second to last in the NHL). In contrast, the Thrashers have the 8th most points in the league.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.