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Carolina Game Summary

I know that many people were unable to watch this game because of the lack of TV coverage. I would have live blogged the game but alas I was sitting in the stands instead of someplace more conducive to blogging. Anyway, I took notes during the game of some of the highlights. Brace yourself, stream-of-consciousness notes dead ahead.

1st Period:
  • Kovalchuk was dumped twice by Carolina in the first 5 minutes. This is good news as an angry Kovalchuk is a much more physical and driven player. Sure enough Kovalchuk has three very nice hits the rest of the period.
  • Thrashers PK unit looks much more effectively after the confusion against Ottawa that resulted in two goals against.
  • A Hurricane tries to get in Lehtonen's face and little Slava Kozlov is the guy who goes over and stands up for his tender.
  • The Slater line has an outstanding shift where they generate great pressure. The manage to get two shots away but they are both blocked by Hurricane players.
  • Havelid continues to struggle as he takes a long route to the puck and a Carolina player is able to beat him there and negate an icing call.
  • Tkachuk and Kovalchuk beginning to get more chemistry. Nice one-time by #8 on a pass from #17. Then later Tkachuk drives to the net and makes a nifty stick move to beat the last defender but Grahame keeps it out of the net this time.
  • Goal!!!! Larsen passes to Hossa in the neutral zone. Hossa simply outskates three pursuing Carolina players then almost fans on the shot, but it dribbles on the ice under Grahame who looks to be expecting a shot in the air.
  • Hurricane PP on a terrible call. I'm not someone who wastes a lot of time complaining about officials. Hockey is the hardest sport to referee and after 20 years of watching the NHL I have simply gotten used to them missing a lot of stuff. But this one was just brutal, it was right down in front of me. Ladd felt Holik's stick graze his waist took a step or two and THEN went down. Absolutely it was diving. Ugh.
  • Ladd great chance right in front of Kari--Carolina probably should have scored. Hockey karma for the diving perhaps? Another great scoring chance for Ladd as Brind'amour sends him a pass--save Lehtonen.
  • The puck seems to be bouncing a lot today and Lehtonen has needed to be very sharp on a couple of pucks that changed direction as they came towards him.
  • Kozlov covers for a pinching Sutton and makes the best defensive play of the period against a Hurricanes rush.
  • Carolina Goal: Brind'amour left alone in the slot (for the 2nd time this period I might add) and the puck comes out from behind the net and he scores. It looks to me on the single replay that it was Zhitnik's man. Alexei is in the neighborhood, but not close enough to Brind'amour to either stop him from receiving the pass or block his SOG. Yet another goal against in the waning moments of a period.

End 1st 1-1 SOG 8-12 Carolina.
2nd Period
  • Bad start as both Exebly and Havelid have turnovers that help sustain Carolina's pressure in the Thrashers zone. Hurricanes get a golden scoring opportunity as the puck is shot from one side of the net across to the other side, a follow up shot gets behind Lehtonen but just stops short of the line and Kari is able to cover it.
  • Nice centering pass by Slater on offense, but the Vigier redirect just dribbles wide of the far post.
  • Thrashers all clumping up in the same area of the ice.
  • Another crazy puck bounce after Lehtonen comes out of the net to face the shot. I think to myself "I have no idea how that puck stayed out of the net!"
  • A Carolina player attempts to drive to the net with versus three Thrashers. Sutton sends him to the ice with a great hit. Is it just me or is Andy actually hitting people now that he is fighting for ice time on this team?
  • Andrew Ladd with another great scoring opportunity from Brind'amour. This line is without a doubt the most effective for Carolina today. They are causing problems nearly every shift they are out there against Atlanta.
  • This game seems to be taking a long time. Very enjoyable because there is lot of action, but all the whistles are stretching it out (game ends up taking nearly 3 hours with all the stoppages).
  • Good scoring chance by Hurricanes off a point shot and rebound chance. Strong 2nd save by Lehtonen.
  • PP Goal Atlanta!!!!! Point shot by Havelid produces a rebound towards Tkachuk--but he is well covered by the Hurricane defensemen so he shims the puck out to a wide open Kovalchuk who easily shots it top shelf over a sprawled out Grahame for a 2-1 lead in the game. Good example of how Tkachuk's net presence will lead to chances for Kovalchuk.
  • There is a reason by Anson Carter only required a 5th round pick at the trade deadline. So far in this game the only thing Carter has done is be on the receiving end of some great Thrashers hits.
  • Another Thrashers powerplay. Another bad Thrashers powerplay. Kovalchuk dipsy does around the neutral zone with the puck and no apparent purpose and then takes a late line change. Then a good scoring chance is ruined when Mellanby can't handle the puck in the slot.
End 2nd 2-1 SOG 21-18 CAR
During the intermission interview Tkachuk is asked if he likes it here in Blueland. He replies "what is Blueland?" Looks like he didn't get the memo from the PR department.
The Comcast board advertising gets refreshed between periods.
3rd Period:
  • Good scoring chance for Belanger.
  • It was Thrashers mullet wig giveaway day. More mullet themed entertainment during TV timeouts (I know ironic isn't since there was no TV). So far they have had famous Hollywood mullets (Mel Gibson made it twice) they put Greg deVries in there from Casino Night. Dreamweaver "we know you inner mullet" and a text message poll on your favorite name for a mullet.
  • Disallowed Goal by Jon Sim on point shot. They say that the puck came out over the blueline as the defenseman was trying to shoot it. I didn't have a good view of it to be honest, but many linesmen in the stands dissent from the ruling on the ice.
  • The Thrashers are scrambling inside their zone as the Hurricanes try furiously to tie the game. Lehtonen makes yet another great save on a puck that redirects right in front of him.
  • Goal!!!!! Thrashers. A three on two play with some perfect passing. Kozlov leads the rush and angles toward the face off dot, he makes a drop pass to Holik who then dishes it across the ice to a streaking Marian Hossa. Hossa has time and space and buries it top shelf. Huge goal 3-1 lead in a game that has been very even in my opinion.
  • Tkachuk takes a penalty. Huge moment in the game as Carlina could get back in this contest. The Hurricanes have played well and Lehtonen has been both good and lucky at times. PK is good as Dupuis has a crucial clear and Lehtonen a quality save. The there is yet another crazy puck bounce right around that net that produces a great opportunity for the Hurricanes. I'm not sure if they shot it wide or it deflected off someone in front, but the puck missed the net.
  • Atlanta gets a good bounce at the other end for a great chance in tight--save Grahame.
  • Hossa! probably should have gotten the hat trick right here. He gets the puck with time right in the slot. He does three stick moves to slide the puck under the poke check attempt by Grahame and then tries a backhand roof job that goes over the top of the net. He knows he just missed too and he looks skyward after the miss.
  • One last key moment. Dupuis takes an unnecessary penalty as he tries to lift a Carolina stick but misses and nails the player in the face. Hurricanes will be on the power play the rest of the game. They pull the goal for a 6-4 two man advantage with the empty net at the other end. But the Thrashers hang tough and Caroline struggles to get any great chances out of their PP.
  • Two attempts to hit the empty net miss by just inches.

Final 3-1 Atlanta, SOG 36-25 Carolina

Summary: The Thrashers are hot and on a roll now. But they are not really dominating teams. They are getting big saves and finishing off scoring chances when they are there. Honestly I think the team can play better than they are doing right now.