As a fan the tough thing about games like this is remembering that it is, in fact, an early season game against LA, and not game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. You get all excited, you jump up and down, maybe you spill an adult beverage or two. And it doesn't really help things when your top line combines for 4 goals and the collective future of your franchise chips in three. And then, the fighting. All in all, one of those rare games when your favorite team clicks on so many levels.
Jump for some thoughts.
Ran into Thrashers GM Don Waddell while in line for fries, said "wassup." True story.
The first period pretty much went like this:
Thrashers: "Hey guys, we like to circle in a wheel here in this corner while one of our forwards drifts to the high slot over there. We pass it to him and then he shoots it right at the crest on your goalies' sweater."
Kings: "Sweet! We like to do the same thing!"
(20 minutes pass)
Thrashers: "This is boring. Let's do something else."
Kings: "How 'bout we just fling the puck around the ice for a little while?"
Okay, so that's not really how it went, but that's what it felt like. Really sound hockey being played all around; plenty of rushes, nice puck movement, great scoring chances by both teams, but no goals.
Ondrej Pavelec was superb trough he entire game - he looks more and more like a veteran every day.
There were a couple of times in the first when Evander Kane would look like an extra 10-15lbs of muscle would help him not get pushed around quite as much behind the opposition's net. Between that and Kane being targeted pretty heavily by LA checkers, I was beginning to reconsider my retraction from yesterday. Then he scored with that sweet wraparound.
I'm not gonna recap all the goals here - there's only so much space I can take up. Just watch this:
Slava Kozlov had a number of good looks tonight, but like the LA TV guys said, just couldn't buy a goal. Don't grip the stick too tight, let the bounces come to you, etc. Kozzy will get his.
The Kings really didn't give in until after the 4th Atlanta goal. Up until then, they hung in and played some excellent hockey and kept the Thrashers in their own zone.
The line brawl at the end of the second? That, my friends, is trucculence. My question for Eric Boulton: how do you manage to get a roughing minor when an opposing skater is lying on top of you, pinning you to the ice?
Kovalchuk - Nik Antropov - Maxim Afinogenov. I'm going with Russian Front for that line. Who's with me?
Ilya Kovalchuk with the fist pump to Chris Thorbun after the melee: Leadership. Mike Richards, take notes.
Scary moment in the third watching Ondrej Pavelec writhe around on the ice. You know you're a Thrashers fan when a sight like that starts giving you heart palpatations. Fortunately, no groins were 'sploded, just a puck off the knee.
7 goals on 21 shots. Unreal.
A note to the Thrashers promotions people: is it really a good idea to have have Chik-Fil-A family night on the night of a Flyers game?
I don't know if I'm entirely sold on Christoph Schubert. He did a good job getting under Justin Williams' skin, but in a different game it probably would've cost us. It seems about every other game I'm thinking, "Shoes, what's with the stupid penalty?"
Next up on the Thrashers Western Conference show case:
The Kevin Lowe Flying Circus, the Edmonton Oilers.