In a game that started off with a lot of momentum for the Thrashers, there just wasn’t enough there to come out with a win in Montreal on Tuesday. Both teams came out firing early, but in the end, It was the Canadiens who were able to control nearly the entire game and grab the “W” with outstanding goaltending by Carey Price.
There was no doubt going into this game that the Thrashers were going to have a tough time going against Mr. Price and the rest of the Canadiens. Although, they have been in quite of a slump recently, scoring zero goals in three straight games, you can’t let your guard down. Atlanta did just that on Tuesday. It was a pretty even game until 12:56 into the first, when Montreal was able to crash the net and sneak one past Ondrej Pavelec, giving them their first goal in quite some time. Then it’s time for the Thrashers to answer back, right? Wrong. Eleven, yes, eleven seconds later, Pavelec thought it would be a good idea to retrieve the puck from behind the net, only to give up a goal. He was not able to make it back to position in time before Darche smacked on past him. This is the 2nd time in the past few games I’ve seen Ondrej due this. Maybe that works in the AHL, but not in the big leagues. Stay in the net fella!
Late in the 3rd, Atlanta would answer back on a controversial goal by Nik Antropov, after receiving a quick pass from Eric Boulton. In reality, the goal never should have happened. In midst of setting up the play, Boulton wacked Hal Gill in the face with his stick, cutting him near the eye. How none of the four refs called it, I have no clue, but it is what it is. It was too late, however. Right after pulling Pavelec with a little less than two minutes left in regulation, Kostitsyn shot one from his own zone, reaching the back of the net, sealing the game away. I’m sure that goal was bittersweet for Kostitsyn, who earlier in the game, was leveled twice by Mark Stuart. In the end, though, it would be Montreal laughing and winning the game 3-1. Carey Price would earn the first star, respectively. He would eventually end up stopping 27 of 28 shots, which is a big improvement from recent games.
If playoff hopes for the Thrashers weren’t already over, I’d think this game put those hopes to rest. All they can do now is go out and play their hardest for the remaining six games. It hasn’t been a great 2011 for Thrashers fans. I don’t think the gameplay has changed much since 2010, when Atlanta was one of the top teams in the league. I just think other teams finally caught on to their plan and their style of play. That’s when the coaching staff should have taken another approach to game to mix it up for the opponent. That was never done. “Maybe next year.” Unfortunately, this is something fans have had to say for 10 out of the past 11 years, but maybe, just maybe that’ll mean something in the near future.
For more on this game, visit A Winning Habit