Greetings from high atop the RBC Center in Raleigh Carolina. The organist is playing "you can't hide your lying eyes"--not sure if that is aimed at the Thrashers :) Warm ups
should begin shortly are finished. Got a few decent pictures, I'll try to post a pre-season gallery this weekend.
Thrashers lineup missing most of the regular season scoring punch. No Kovy,Kozzie, Antro. Todd White, Peverley and Bryan Little are the biggest offensive threats. On defense Bogosian is the only top 4 D tonight. The starting lineup features Todd White centering Afinogenov and Peverley. D paring is Postma and Oystrick.
Stapleton dumped on first shift. Salmela almost gets beat but steers his man behind the net where Valabik tried to bury him with a huge hit--but he mostly missed him. Not good having both D in the same corner.
Valabik passed picked off in hight slot, leads to 20 seconds of CAR possession.
Legace with a couple of saves on long shots and then a great save on a short rebound.
Josh Gratton drives the net hard for a chance and basically eats the cross bar. First Thrasher scoring chance.
Nice O Zone steal by Fritsche who passes to a wide open Reasoner at the top of the circle--only his stick shatters on the shot attempt. 2nd scoring opportunity for ATL.
Afinogenov stakes puck circles all the way behind the net back out to the slot--and then shots it wide.Thrahers getting a some offensive flow after starting off back on their heels.
Machecek just pissed left post after aggressive forecheck by Krog and Stapleton leads to turnover.
Legace just got lucky as CAR player missed the net, there was room to score from where I sit
Gratton drops gloves they dance forever, CAR player Kostpolous falls down and gets back up and then a real slugfest. Gratton trades punches and wins the bout.
Vernace turnover, teammate covers for him.
Afinogenov blows a tire while trying to cut in O Zone.
Shot against, save, good job of Popovic and Vernance of boxing out CAR forwards diving for rebound chances.
Another good save by Legace on shot from the hash marks, he looks pretty sharp so far.
Goal CAR. Legace stops point blank shot from hash marks and directs puck towards the corner but right on the stick of CAR forward.
They have the shots at 12-1 CAR, but I can tell you it hasn't been nearly that lopesided in terms of play. Thrashers missed the net and broke a stick on their two best looks so far in the game.
Todd White with nice D play to break up pass in the slot.
Stapleton called tripping, ATL on PK: Salmela and Valabik , Reasoner and Fritsche out there--they get the clear. Now Oystrick and Postma out with Crabb and Slater. Killed it.
Valabik gets away with stupid unnecessary, cross check.
Gratton blocked shot leads to breakout.
3:29 to go, shots still ugly 14-1, can they dress Kovy for the next period?
CAR guy steps on White's stick and they call tripping.
ATL PK: Boris hits guy who doesn't see it coming, nearly a hit from behind. Postma and Salmela get lucky as CAR fails to connect on pass as neither D really takes his man around net. Postma clears. Now Popovic and Oystrick go into the same corner to attack the puck leaving slot wide open--they get it out but very high risk.
Peverley breaks up play with a hit.
1-0 CAR, shots 15-1 CAR. Period was closer than that, but Thrashers got lucky on several D-zone breakdowns.
A lot of buzz up here about Gratton's knockout punch. The CAR player was wuzzy and went straight to the dressing room.
Sort of boring back and forth so far.
Crabb to the box, ATL PK: Slater SH SOG. Slater steals again in N Zone and fires another blueline shot.
2-0 CAR takes puck up the ice and scores. Valabik forces his man wide but as he hits the goal line CAR guy just throws it at the net and it goes in off of Postma's stick blade past a very surprised Manny Legace.
The Maxim, Pev and Slater trio controlling the puck and creating multiple shots. Peveley got a golden opportunity but fired it high.
Vernace's man gets a good chance against him.
Reasoner with a steal at O Zone blueline but linemate off side.
Vernace lost stick but made a nice play with his body to stop CAR player--leads to mini-PP for CAR until Legace is able to cover the puck for a faceoff.
Shots are much more even this period 4-4 with 8:19 left.
Up in the press box they just handed out a release saying that Tom Kostopoulos is out with an "upper body" injury after his fight. I'm going speculate that it is his head that is hurting right now.
Todd White with shot on goal, no problem for Cam Ward.
Holy highway robbery! Cam Ward with huge leg pad save as Mike Vernace pinches in for wide open back door chance on the cross crease pass (Anderson will like to see that).
2-1 Atlanta Scores. Oystrick with slapper, rebounds quips to Reasoner who redirects it to Stapleton for the goal. Great scramble play.
Postma fails to hold in pass from Afinogenov along the boards.
Postma shot from blueine just barely misses the post, I think it changed directions at the top of the crease area.
Another robbery save/miss. This time the backdoor shooter was Afinogenov, I think the passer was Peverley. Krog looses the handle on puck down low, clear for CAR.
Long CAR shot rings off far post.
Boulton with turnover on the boards that leads directly to a CAR chance, Legace makes the save but sprawls out snow angels style trying to cover the puck.
Gratton delay of game, ATL PK: Slater with shorthanded steal carries behind CAR net and backhands puck to Oystrick who jumps up and nearly scores a shortie. I'm not a huge Slater fan, but he has looked very good in every pre-season game in my opinion.
Goal this period 1-1, Shots are 10-10 this period. Big improvement for the Thrashers.
Drew MacIntyre in goal now.
ATL PP Thrashers with great pressure at the goal mouth, Ward strong.
MacIntyre with a great save on a shortie chance.
5>3 ATL, they pass it from left faceoff circle to right face off dot where Afinogenov scores on a one time slapper.
TIE GAME, shots 3-17 CAR.
Gratton closes hand on the puck. ATL PK: Carolina goal by Staal, slapshot from the blueline that just blows past MacIntyre upstairs. My angle up here isn't great though, but I think a NHL goalie has to stop that shot.
Thrashers kill off the penalties but are CAR has the momentum and are keeping the pressure on them.
Peverley with rush and curls behind net but nobody is available for a pass.
ATL killing off a penalty once again.
Eric Boulton with glorious chance right side circle, Cam Ward is having none of it.
Argh! ATL allows 2-0 breakaway, pass across for easy tap in goal, MacIntyre had zero chance.
4-2 CAR now.
Thrashers Score! I was working on post-game questions and missed and they are being stingy with the ATL replays.
Afinogenov's 2nd! correction: Mike Vernace had the 3rd Atlanta Goal.
4-3 with 2 and a half to go.
Good night readers, time to pack up for locker room. Hopefully I'll get some interesting quotes.
Update: I talked to Manny Legace, Nathan Oystrick and Coach Anderson and got some good quotes, I should have a post up tomorrow if not tonight.