Tough loss tonight for the Thrashers, who generally dominated the Blues as far as pressure goes. No breakdowns and a solid penalty kill (even if it was against St. Louis, whose power play is beyond anemic) are positives that can be taken away from tonight’s loss. Another positive was the attendance, which at 14,662 on a Tuesday night is the highest weeknight attendance so far this year at Philips Arena, and is also indicative of the buzz surrounding this excellent Atlanta team.
The first period began with a Brad Boyes goal 5:07 in. Rookie call-up Cole Porter, who was in for one of either TJ Oshie, Andy McDonald, or David Perron, slid Boyes the puck, which flew over Chris Mason’s glove. The Thrashers’ Bryan Little got the goal back only a little over a minute and a half later, on a pass from Evander Kane that beat Ty Conklin into the gaping net, and the game ended the first period tied 1-1.
The second period almost ended 1-1 save for Alexander Steen shooting again past Mason high glove side to put the Blues up 2-1. 2:13 into the third period, Alex Pietrangelo fired one, yet again, right over the glove of Mason to put St. Louis up 3-1. Dustin Byfuglien, apparently still upset that a goal that he thought was a good one back in the first period was waived off, shoved one in past Conklin at 12:37. As Ben Wright of the Blueland Blog pointed out on Twitter, this ties Buff’s career mark for points in a season, and the season’s not even three months done yet.
A very ill-advised slashing penalty by B.J. Crombeen gave the Thrashers a chance for a powerplay for the last 1:58 of the game, but with the extra attacker out and the goaltender pulled, it gave the Blues’ Vladimir Sobotka a chance for an easy empty-netter to ice the game. 4-2. Unfortunately, the Thrashers are now back into second place in the Southeast since the Washington Capitals defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-1 tonight.
Neither team’s powerplay scored tonight, and both team’s penalty kills were (obviously) very strong. The one weakness that the Thrashers exhibited was Chris Mason’s glove. The Blues remembered their former starter’s quirks, and exploited them to the tune of three goals.
The Thrashers get absolutely no rest, as they play yet again Thursday night in Boston before coming back to Blueland on Sunday to fight the Tampa Bay Lightning for some important divisional points.