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Lehtonen Earns Thrashers a Point

The Thrashers lost of Florida in OT but picked up a valuable standing point nonetheless. Atlanta had some major PP opportunities right off from the start but could not score. The PK was better this game but the PP hurt them.

In game one of the season the offense really carried the team to victory as Lehtonen appeared to struggle in a few spots. In game 2 of the season Lehtonen made a series of crucial saves in the first half of the 3rd as the Atlanta was out shot 10-1. The OT goal was partly Kari's fault as he didn't handle it cleanly which led to an put back rebound goal.

Kovalchuk had another great pass to set up Kozlov's goal. Williams and Hainsey showed some veteran mojo by connecting on a clean face off win and point shot for a great looking tip in front. I thought the Thrashers got some fairly favorable calls and got away with interference on a couple of occasions.

What went wrong in this game? The Swedish D pairing had a poor game. I'm a big fan of Tobias Enstrom and this was arguably one of his worst games as a Thrasher. The stats confirm this as the Enstrom-Havelid pairing was badly out shot at even strength: -14 for Enstrom and -11 for Havelid. The coaching staff leaned heavily on Hainsey and Schneider this game and Bogosian again played few minutes. If Bogosian doesn't show some improvement I would not be surprised if he was returned to juniors before he plays 10 NHL games.

Atlanta was out shot 22-5 in the 3rd + OT. There's no good excuse as both teams were on played the night before and traveled. Back-to-back games were a disaster for the Thrashers all of last season and they must be stronger in that area this season.

Another bad habit from last year--the stagnant PP--returned this game. Some stretches where they just passed it back and forth--eventually Hainsey and Schneider fired it at the net but the forwards were just standing around down low--they need to move to create lanes and mis-matches.

Time on Ice/Player/ES Shot Differential when on the ice
27:41 Hainsey +1
25:20 Schneider -5
20:26 Enstrom -14
20:30 Havelid -11
19:49 Exelby +7
13:28 Bogosian -3

I've been pretty hard on Exelby, but on this night the team had success when he was out there in terms of shots. There was a lot of special teams ice time so Bogosian played fewer minutes.

Time on Ice/Player/ES Shot Differential when on the ice
22:29 Kovalchuk -3
18:38 White -4
18:15 Williams +2

The top line was not dominant at even strength. That has to get better over the long term. Kovalchuk has put up huge numbers in the past because he received lots of PP ice time. That is no longer the case which means he will have to be more productive at ES.

20:30 Kozlov -9
16:45 Christensen -9
14:25 Little -9

2nd line was badly out shot. I assume they were out there for many shifts with the struggling Swedish D duo.

15:37 Perrin +3
17:30 Reasoner +4
14:53 Armstrong +1

Another good game for the 3rd line.

11:10 Slater +1
4:46 Boulton -5
6:36 Thorburn -1

The 4th line was badly out shot in the home opener. In game 2 they hardly saw any ice time with all the special teams play. Slater got more minutes because he was on the PK unit.