I shan’t pay Chris Mason a compliment in a game day stream again. After a beautiful goal by Evander Kane to open the period, the floodgates and the penalties came loose at the same time. The Thrashers have the bottom ranked penalty kill in the league, for good reason.
Taylor Hall scored a natural hat trick, his 18th, 19th, and 20th goals of the year, all on the power play. The empty netter was added by Ales Hemskey as icing on the cake. Hall is a phenomenal rookie with great sense, and the Thrashers have an atrocious penalty kill and apparently players with little sense. The most egregious penalty came at 12:44, with Nik Antropov getting a double minor for high sticking that was completely unnecessary and away from the play.
Mason benefited from having Jay McClement and Mike Weaver in front of him during the PK in St. Louis for two years, but he has no such luxury here. He looked rustier as the period progressed, and Edmonton, specifically Hall, exploited that perfectly.
Also exploited perfectly was Johnny Oduya. It has been no coincidence that Zach Bogosian has been playing markedly better since being paired with Ron Hainsey. Oduya was on ice for all three of the power play goals, and for all three of them he stood there like he was wearing cement shoes. It was atrocious.
Rick Dudley next needs to address the penalty kill by getting an effective PKer or two, such as Marty Reasoner and Mike Weaver from Florida. Of course, if the Carolina Hurricanes win tonight, the Thrashers will be six points out of 8th place and what was once a promising season will be, more than likely, all but lost.