Games against Montreal and Atlanta always seem to be evenly matched up, and today’s is no different. It was a see-saw game through three periods and part of an overtime. The Habs peppered Pavelec with 50 shots on goal, nearly doubling the 28 that the Thrashers got off on Carey Price. Pavs wound up on top, though, stopping 47 of those shots in an outstanding performance to help the Thrashers defeat the Habs in Montreal for the first time since March of 2009.
Rich Peverley began the scoring at 6:20 into the period, taking a pass from Tobias Enstrom and holding it until the doorstep, wristing it past Price at the last possible second. That goal marked Peverley’s ninth of the season. About ten minutes later, Tomas Plekanec wristed a power play goal past Pavelec to tie the score at one.
The second period opened with an Evander Kane goal at 5:42 in. This was Kane’s 13th of the season, putting him in second place with Andrew Ladd behind Dustin Byfuglien. Montreal was given another power play on a delay of game penalty assessed to Ron Hainsey, and P.K. Subban fired one from just above the face-off circles that beat Ondrej Pavelec to re-tie the game at 2. Andrew Ladd, not to be outscored by Kane, scored his 13th goal of the season with a perfect pass right to the doorstep from Enstrom. All Ladd had to do was tap it past Price, and the Thrashers were up 3-2.
For whatever reason, the Thrashers decided to lay back in the 3rd period, and it cost them a chance to end the game in regulation. The Habs got off 16 shots to Atlanta’s four, and one of which – a wrist shot from Brian Gionta that completed a rebound caused by a Max Pacioretty slapshot – forced the game into overtime.
Goal scorer Subban cost his team big time in the overtime period by taking a hooking penalty against Rich Peverley. In the ensuing 4-on-3 play, Dustin Byfuglien decided that he didn’t want to be left off of the point sheet. He smacked home a pass from Enstrom past a defensive screen in front of Price to give the Thrashers the 4-3 win and to give Buff his 16th goal of the year.
Today’s win keeps Atlanta within three of both the idle Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals. It also bumps them up over the New York Rangers into 6th in the Eastern Conference. If the Rangers lose tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers, Atlanta will stay put.
Today’s hands down star of the game was Tobias Enstrom. Toby finished with three assists, was a +3, and had 22:29 in ice time. Ondrej Pavelec was also outstanding, stopping 47 of 50 shots for a solid .940 save percentage.
The Thrashers finally get a few days off before having to play their next game. The next game is Wednesday night against the Florida Panthers. Puck drop is at 7:30.