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Game 5: The Agony of Defeat

I'm just old enough to remember the old ABC Sports video intro that showed a horrific skiing crash with an accompanying voiceover of "the agony of defeat". That phrase certainly captures the depth of shock and disappointment following last night's 4-3 loss.

On the drive to the game I expressed my concerns that Atlanta would be too overconfident after a nice hot start and Carolina would be very hungry after a winless beginning to their season. Sure enough the Thrashers started off in a mental funk. The passes were just a little off, players were just too slow reading the play. Lehtonen also was not on his A game and he struggled with rebounds early.

What went wrong? The List of Shame
Goal Against #1 Kapanen's man gives him the slip and scores a rebound goal.
Goal Against #2 Lehtonen gives up juicy rebound and seemed not to get his get pad all the way against the post. But shame also goes to the D pairing of De Vries and Vishnevshi who allowed the Carolina player to slip in behind both of them leaving him wide open to score the rebound.
Goal Against #3 After Kovalchuk fails to convert a breakaway the Hurricanes Eric Staal gets a breakaway the other direction as the D pair of De Vries and Vishnevski allow him to get in behind them (sound familiar?).

The key to the game though was a span of less than 5 seconds, the final seconds of the 1st and 3rd periods. The Hurricanes scored two last second goals to come away with the win. They managed to squeeze in a goal at the end of the 1st period with less than 2 seconds left to go the 1st intermission up 3-0. Then the game concluded with Carolina scoring a shocker with just .5 seconds left on the clock.

The last gasp opportunity came when the Thrashers iced the puck with just 8.9 seconds left. The guy sitting next to me said "looks like we are getting some free hockey" and I thought--this thing is far from over, 9 seconds is plenty of time to give up a goal.

Carolina won the faceoff and threw the puck towards the net. Kari deflected it into the corner and it seemed that time might just run out on regulation, but the puck was centered through the crease to a streaking Ray Whitney who slammed it as Hossa looked on helplessly from behind with virtually no time left on the clock. (Unfortunately my DVR cut off the end of the game so I can't watch this on replay.)

Dean's List
Goal 1 The puck goes sky high and lands in the crease which had been vacated by Cam Ward. Sim jumps in and rotates like a washing machine agitator and scores a goal.
Goal 2 Camped out in the crease, Sim redirects a nice Kozlov pass into the net past Ward.
Goal 3 Holik appears to try a pass to Slater that redirects off of Tanabe's skate back to Holik who tips it into the goal.

Jon Sim continues to amaze me as he potted two more goals this game. Of course, playing with Ilya Kovalchuk will tend to open up the ice for the other guys on his line, but to his credit Sim is taking full advantage of the opportunities that are coming his way.

Kovalchuk had 12 shots on goal and is still without a goal on the season. This is really just a function of bad luck because he is getting some terrrific scoring chances and he continues to play much better defense out there. So far he has not been rewarded for his hard work so I'm really hoping the floodgates will open soon.

(sorry for not posting about game 4 versus Boston but I missed most of the game because of work.)