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Thrashers vs Islanders Live Blog

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7:05 I'm up here in the press box watching warm ups far below. The Thrashers have located us in the upper section of the enormous press box. When you look down on the players you feel as though you are directly above the ice. I think the most surprising thing is how well you can see the puck even way up here on the ninth floor of the building. We are roughly eye level with the very top row in the 400s (I've sat there a fair number of times during seasons 1 and 2) but we are closer to the ice because we are the very top of the suites.

The best part about watching the game from this location is that you can see the spacing of the players on the ice very easily. It is not as difficult to pick out which players are out of position. That is the same reason I prefer to sit in the end zone seats during games.

We were advised to honor press box tradition and not cheer when the home scores but a few bloggers forget on the 1st goal of the game and let out some whoops and fist pumps. We were more respectable on the 2nd goal.

7:41 The game has started without much flair except for a redirect opportunity by Kovalchuk until Hnidy puts in another goal this season. Wow. Shane has had a real scoring explosion of late.

I promised a popcorn review, but it tastes the same as elsewhere in the building. The real surprise press row concession is the warm salty pretzels that kept in their little hot box. Tasty!

Kovalchuk puts away a nice pass from Rucchin. From up top you could see that Ilya was super wide open. There was a great chance he would covert if the puck could just reach him in time and Rucchin made sure that it did.

Goal 3: This is insane. Three goals in the first six minutes. Sim gets a NBA behind the back pass from Mellanby. Sim is so wide open and he places the puck top left hand corner. This gets DiPietro pulled and Thrasher scapegoat Mike Dunham is in net. This is one moment where I wish I was sitting back in my regular seats so I could chant "Dunham you suck!" (A chant I rarely join in because it seems stupid in the 1st period of a tie game.)

3-1 now as Shane Hnidy loses track of his (Trent Hunter) Lehtonen's back side and allows a uncontested point blank shot that Kari had no chance of stopping.

Great save by Kari after a very slow start by the Islanders. I wonder if they forgot when the All-Star break ended.

Random observations: I passed Bruce Levenson in the hallway up here. Saw Billy Jaffe downstairs in by the zambonis. Also saw Larry Simmons in the hallway and Kamal and JP Delacamera.

Some good action late here in the 1st period. Hossa doing his bulldozer move to the net and it nearly went it. Lehtonen makes a fine save at the other end to preserve the 3-1 lead. The next goal will decide if this becomes a contested hockey game or is on the way to a blowout.

Vigier with a golden opportunity late but he can't find the twine.

2nd Period.

Wow, talk about an emotional swing. Hossa gets hooked down on one of his drives to the net and spins out into the boards and injures his left knee. We have no idea how badly of course, but then on the ensuing power play the Islanders get a shorty to make it a competitive 3-2 game.

Exelby got away with one it. He knocks the net off while hitting an Islander player. He should have either gotten called for delay of game or an interference penalty since the player he hit didn't have the puck.

Thrashers look out of emotionally since the Hossa injury with NY getting the better of the play. The guys need to rally since there is still half a hockey game to play.

Kari has made a couple of big stops and received help from two posts so far this game.

3-3 Blake ties it as he uses V. Vishnevski to screen Lehtonen. This is like a faster replay of the Phoenix game with an injury throw in on top of it.

Video screen drops this bit of knowledge "Hossa was born the year that "10" starring Bo Derek was released.

Mellanby comes up empty on a glorious chance, but can't lift the puck into the top half of the net.

On a completely unrelated note, while sitting up here at the top of the arena I notice a large banner that reads "Widespread Panic" and has the number "15 sold out shows 1999-2006" which seems a bit odd . I know that they are from Atlanta, but how many bands have banners hanging up ijn arenas?

3rd period.
The emotion continues to swing back and forth as Hossa makes his return to the ice for the opening faceoff and then scores to put the Thrashers ahead 4-3. Furthermore, you can see that the energy is back in the arena. The fans are back into it and so are the players. Then the Thrashers get the rare 4-3 power play to be followed by a 5-4 power play as the Islander player gets a double minor.

But the Thrashers suffer a breakdown with the man advantage as New York gets a wide open back door goal on Kari because De Vries did not cover his man down low sufficiently. That makes two back door goals because of mistakes by Thrasher defensemen tonight. The drama continues as Atlanta remains on the power play...
...yet another broken Kovalchuk stick on the power play. Ugh!

Time winding down and Carolina has a big lead on Washington. Getting two points is very important to keep the division lead.

Edit: ....and Kovalchuk wins it in OT!
Unfortunately I couldn't post this in real time as we need to pack up our laptops so that we could head down for the post-game news conference by Coach Hartely which I'll discuss in my next post.