From tonight’s NHL On The Fly (and tweeted by Ben Wright of the Blueland Blog), here’s Thrasher forward Evander Kane phoning in to tonight’s NHL On The Fly recap show regarding the big game he had against the Rangers:
Kane had two goals in the third period, and an assist on Anthony Stewart’s first period goal. Tonight’s win puts the Thrashers back into eighth place for the time being, with the next game against the Carolina Hurricanes, who they lead by just a point. Tonight’s loss was the Rangers’ sixth in a row, and dropped them to just two points ahead of the Thrashers for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, though both teams need to be mindful of the Hurricanes – the ’Canes have played two fewer games than both the Thrashers and the Rangers.
The Thrashers played a well-balanced game for the most part, though the first minute of the third period left a lot to be desired. An inability to move the puck coupled with some bad in-zone play allowed Brandon Dubinsky to knock in his 19th goal of the year to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. The Thrashers played the first two periods with some fire, partially spurred on by Eric Boulton’s fight with Brandon Prust at 6:07 of the first period. The third started off a bit flat, and threatened to get worse with Brent Sopel hooking Marian Gaborik and causing a penalty shot. Gaborik is third on the Rangers in scoring and absolutely lethal, and Pavelec absolutely stonewalled him on his opportunity:
That gave the team, specifically Evander Kane, the motivation needed to net a couple more goals. Thankfully Marc Staal, who had a goal and a penalty already on the evening, took an offsetting penalty for hi-sticking to Nik Antropov’s tripping call at 18:01 left. The game ended with a four-on-four for the last minute and fifty nine seconds, which was enough to secure Atlanta the win.
There’s no rest for the wicked, as the Hurricanes blow into town on Sunday at 5:00. A win would give Atlanta their first two game winning streak since January 2nd and 5th, when the Thrashers defeated the Canadiens and the Panthers on the road. The Thrashers haven’t won back to back home games since their six game winning streak on November 19th to December 6th.
I also got the opportunity to speak with concussed Thrashers forward Jim Slater after the game, and he has no clue when he’ll get the all-clear to skate again. He said he’s judging it against Sidney Crosby’s concussion – Crosby got concussed the day after Slater did. He mentioned that it was frustrating for him to not be out there playing, especially during the rough patch of play. Here’s hoping that Slater can get out there and reunite the Greek Gods sometime soon.