Ondrej Pavelec has not had the best luck in shootouts. He had never won one going into tonight’s game, but he was on the ball as was the team in a 3-2 shootout win that was evenly matched the entire time.
After the last match-up between these two teams, you would have expected the Thrashers to come out hitting. Instead, they played it smart, waiting for the Bruins to get overly aggressive – which they did. Atlanta’s powerplay had fallen to 9th in the league thanks to recent troubles, but tonight they had Tim Thomas’ number. Boston had the best penalty kill thanks to Thomas and a stingy defense, but the Thrashers exploited their inability to defend the point tonight. Just a little over two minutes into the game, Marc Savard was called for slashing, sending the Thrashers to the powerplay. Tobias Enstrom got the puck at the blue line from Dustin Byfuglien (who received the pass from recent scratch Niclas Bergfors) in enough time to fire it past Tim Thomas at 3:23 of the period.
At 14:09, Patrice Bergeron backhanded a puck that Ondrej Pavelec grabbed, but it slid through his hands. The second period began as a continuation of that bad luck, with Blake Wheeler snapping one past Pavelec to put the Bruins ahead, 2-1 fifty-five seconds in. That’s where it stood for the entire third period and overtime, with both Pavelec and Thomas stopping everything thrown at them. By the end of OT, Thomas had stopped 30 of 32 shots on goal, and Pavelec had stopped an impressive 42 of 44.
The shootout began with Tim Stapleton, who promptly beat Thomas glove side by clanging one off of the post. Pavelec stopped Tyler Seguin, Bryan Little slipped the puck between Thomas’ pads, and then Pavelec stopped an extremely weak attempt by Blake Wheeler to cement the deal.
Tonight’s win ends a losing streak, but there’s no rest for the wicked, as the Thrashers promptly hopped on a plane to fly to Newark. They face the New Jersey Devils in a New Years Eve matchup a 5:00 that will hopefully end 2010 on an appropriately high note. With tonight’s win the Thrashers are still 3rd in the Southeast and 7th in the Eastern Division, but still have 46 points so far on the year. A win tomorrow night can leapfrog them over the idle New York Rangers for 6th place.