Rough loss tonight for the Thrashers. The combination of a third period softie by Chris Mason that trickled in behind him and the increasingly obligatory Ron Hainsey goalie screen kept the Thrashers from winning their first pre-season game.
That’s not entirely true. Puck possession and the inability to breakout of their own zone yet again held the team back. Coach Craig Ramsay preaches breakouts and carrying the puck out into the opposition’s zone. In theory, if you either have the puck or are attempting to control it in their zone, the other team is less likely to score. That stands to reason, but the fans have yet to see that gameplan in action. Turnovers at the blueline and an inability to control the puck when fighting for it made the Thrashers appear sluggish, and – as the gentlemen behind me put it – look like they were permanently on the penalty kill.
Two of the goals that Nashville scored were powerplay goals, so the PK left a little to be desired as well. Of course, you do have to keep in mind that Ramsay’s still trying to get lines set and see who plays well with whom (note: Tobias Enstrom and Freddy Meyer do not work). The special teams will take a bit to get worked out. The Thrashers won’t be set to play the Capitals in the home opener until the roster is set, and that is probably a week away.
A pleasant sight on the ice tonight was the return of hulking center Nik Antropov, who humorously centered Fredrik Pettersson and Modin, making both of them (especially Pettersson) look like mite players in comparison.
The grinders – Dawes, Ben Eager, and defenseman Meyer – did the scoring tonight, while the scoring up front is still trying to get chemistry working again. There hasn’t been the click between two players since Pettersson and Bryan Little teamed up in game one. Hopefully we’ll see more of that Friday afternoon at 1:30 in Carolina.