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Game 2 Review: Unleash the Puck!

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I was pretty down after the Thrashers loss and I didn't want to post until I had a chance to watch the game again on my DVR at home. While I was writing this post, the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech came out which puts everything into a much different perspective. As a teacher I can't imagine how terrible it would be to have some bring a gun into my classroom with evil intent. Is there a good way to segue into talking about a hockey game? Not really. If you need a diversion from today's tragedy keep on reading.

  • Kovalchuk was much better this game (and I'm not just saying that because he scored a goal). I watched the game tape very carefully and counted scoring chances for both teams (see list below) and at the end of the game I had Ilya with 5 scoring chances which is more than any other player. That give and go with Tkachuk is something I would love to see more of.
  • The checking line was strong again creating 5 of the team's 17 scoring chances. In fact Dupuis finished 2nd on the team with 3 scoring chances in the game.
  • The Rangers are not dominating this team. Go take a look at the DET-CAL series if you want to see a one-sided affair (I think DET is outshooting something like them 90-33...ouch!). The difference was a bad goal in game one and a bad luck goal in Game 2. I still believe this series is there for the taking, but the Thrashers must bring their A game because they now will have to win 4 out of 5 games to advance.
  • Hedberg played fantastic. I don't blame him at all for the 1st goal. I have been watching NHL hockey for over 18 years and I've never seen a puck take that kind of a bounce in a playoff game. To his credit Moose didn't let it bother him at all and was stellar the rest of the way.
  • Zhitnik/Holik/Hedberg shut down Jagr which is pretty impressive. Unfortunately Shanahanhad three very good chances and Avery had great games.
Heard on NBC
Some people on the boards claimed that the NBC broadcast was pro-NY and I have to disagree. They said many glowing things about the Thrasher players and their fans. The negative things they said where just good analysis in my view. "There is confusion on the Atlanta powerplay--they need to get the puck into the middle of the ice. Guys are getting in front of the Rangers net, but pucks are not finding them." Is it just me or did Ray Ferraro get an eyebrow reduction?

  • The excessive passing killed this team in the first two periods. They repeated failed to take available shots in an effort to find a perfect or at least better option. That simply doesn't work in the playoffs. The real crying shame of it is that Lundqvist was struggling with his rebounds. By my count 5 of the Thrashers scoring chances came off of rebounds. I honestly believe that if they would have throw the puck on net all game--like they did in the 3rd period--they probably would have won the contest. You are not going to win many games with a roster of 3 shooters and 15 passers.
  • I was prepared to say some rather harsh things about Hossa but after watching the game tape I do see him working to try and make something happen. But nearly every shot he took either was wide of the mark or was blocked, tipped or deflected by someone else. I still think he needs to be more aggressive in driving the net on the powerplay.
  • Kozlov was invisible again. Hartley took him off the powerplay unit and put Dupuis in his place. I like Slava as a player but this team needs more than what he is providing right now. Kozlov has 42 career playoff goals but you'd never know it the way he is playing right now.
  • Exelby played a great game, but he never saw Shanahan slip in behind him on the game winner. I'm not going to put it all on him, if Hedberg handles that puck behind the net who knows how things would have turned out.

Scoring Chances Tally (17)
5 Kovalchuk
3 Mellanby
1 Tkachuk
3 Dupuis
1 Holik
1 Larsen
1 Belanger
1 Hossa
1 Zhitnik

Rangers Scoring Chances Tally (18)
3 Jagr
4 Avery
4 Shanahan
1 Cullen
1 Rozival
1 Giardi
1 Ortmeyer
1 Callahan
1 Prucha