No matter who you are, when a player goes down, it is a scary thing. The silence ripping through the arena, the lack of movement from the player can shake even the opposing team. And unfortunately, this is how the Thrashers season began. Less than 2 1/2 minutes into the first game of the season, Ondrej Pavelec collapsed on the ice with no one else around. He was carried off the ice and rushed to the hospital while still unconscious. Latest reports are saying he is only suffering from headaches caused from the concussion he received when he collapsed however, no tests so far have given any clues as to what may have caused the collapse.
The Caps did not waste any time scoring on the rattled Thrashers team. Fortunately however, the Thrashers bounced back and played a near perfect game against a team that held 8 straight wins against us prior to Friday night.
There was so much done right on the ice Friday night. The Thrashers led in blocked shots with 10 different players each getting credit for blocking at least 1 shot. Kane, Ladd and Modin were our goal scorers for the evening; Kane scoring two, one of which was a penalty shot. Nearly every player got a minimum of 11 minutes of ice time. Chris Mason jumped right into play and kept all but 2 shots from crossing the line and the Thrashers have brought Drew MacIntyre up to back him up until Pavelec is back.
Saturday we headed to Tampa Bay. Tampa has turned a lot of new leaves during the off season, similar to the Thrashers. Not only were we heading in for the Opening Game in Tampa Bay, but with new ownership, management and coaches, the fans in Tampa were ready to see a change.
With the Lightning leading 4-0, the Thrashers woke up and finally started getting some life when Tobias Enstrom scored in a 5-on-3 power play. Eager and Thorburn helped rally for a victory, but Tampa Bay was able to secure the win with their 5th goal in the third period. Just with two of their goals being power play goals, it was a completely different game from the night before when the Thrashers were able to keep the #1 scoring 2009-2010 team from scoring in any of their power plays.
Next up are the LA Kings on Tuesday. Tuesday’s game will be LA’s opening home game as well and game 2 of Atlanta’s 4 game road trip. LA won their first game in a shoot out earlier this week against the Vancouver Canucks, which easily compares to the Thrashers win against the Capitals. The Kings are being predicted as one of the top Western Division teams this season and could prove to be a challenging pit stop for our only meetup this season. Hopefully this will just be a warm-up as we prepare to finish off the road trip with the Ducks immediately followed by the Sharks; all of these teams being teams that made it into the playoffs just last year.