Commenting on games as they happen is some of the most fun I have as a fan. Everyone talks to friends and such during the games and yells at the television when bad calls are made, so that's what these type of posts from me are going to be.
Just as a side note, if none of you checked out the Thrashers' homepage yesterday you missed a gem. You can tell when your team is either A) not good, or B) out of the playoff race when the lead story on the team's site is for cheerleader auditions.
I'm not even kidding, but I did appreciate the scenery of the Blue Crew girls. If you check the site out right now before the game starts it's the second story in the feature box. Good times.
The Thrashers currently sit 13th in the Eastern Conference with a slim mathematical chance of making the playoffs, but in all reality we know the season is over. These final games are just going through the motions and trying o play spoiler.
The Canadiens enter tonight's game amid a massive tailspin that has gotten their coach fired and owner to debate selling the team. The Habs are clinging to the eighth spot in the East with 81 points. The Panthers also have 81 points, but Montreal has less games played and one more win.
The Habs have lost five straight games and the Thrashers have won seven of their last nine.
Slava Kozlov and Todd White have been on fire lately. Kozlov has 12 points in his last eight games (4G 8A) and White has 21 points in his last 17 games (6G 15A). If the Thrashers can land some people via free agency this offseason, they could contend for a playoff spot no question. There is a semblance of a core developing, which is a good sign.
In net tonight, Kari Lehtonen for the Thrashers and Carey Price for the Canadiens.
19:08 – Price comes up with a huge save on Colin Stuart after a great pass from Marty Reasoner in the corner. Stuart fired the one-timer and Price robbed him with the glove. Good start so far.
16:13 – 2-on-1 for Montreal that's broken up beautifully by the lone Thrasher back as the boos start from the home fans.
14:42 – After some good offensive zone work by Peverley, the puck finds its way to the point and Bogosian lets it fly into the chest of Price.
13:36 – Kovalchuk launches a one-timer that cleanly beats Price, but the goalpost makes the save for him. The Thrashers have the early jump in this game and Montreal looks very flat and scared.
12:39 – 1-0 Habs – Spoke too soon. Tanguay dances around a sprawled out Hainsey and avoids Stuart who clipped Lehtonen on his way by after losing an edge. Tanguay takes it across the rease and banks the puck off Lehtonen's skate and in. Pretty goal.
9:32 – Powerplay coming to the Thrashers. Time to quiet the house boys. Holding on Plekanec leads to the man-advantage. Thrashers to trot out the 10th best powerplay in the league.
7:32 – Couple of solid chances that were turned aside by Price. One thing I would suggest is to move the puck a little more and have more player movement to create confusion. Thrashers were standing in their assigned spots and making the PK easy for the Habs.
5:59 1-1 Tie! – 3-on-2 with some nifty passing from Exelby and Peverley that left Crabb wide open on the backpost for he easy tap-in goal. Price made a valiant effort, but that was some horrible defense by the Habs there after Hamrlik got caught up ice trying to pinch. Habs fans let out a collective grumble and sigh as the red light comes on. Gotta love it.
4:53 – Kovalchuk springs Little for a one-on-one and Price makes a great pad save to keep the game tied.
2:08 – Komisarek takes an interference minor. Big moment in the game coming up. A Thrashers goal here would be huge.
End Of Period 1 – The powerplay failed to generate a shot on net, but there were a couple chances that just missed. The Habs did a good job of not allowing the Thrashers to set up in the zone though.
All in all it was a good period for the Thrashers. They responded quickly to the goal against and pretty much dominated the period. Lehtonen barely broke a sweat as the shots in the period were 10-4 Atlanta.
19:29 – 2-1 Habs – Awful defensive beakdown leads to a chip and flip by Metropolit. The Thrashers were caught in a bad change and Metropolit was wide open in front of Lehtonen for the quick little flip to the back of the net over Lehtonen's shoulder.
19:03 – Koivu goes off for holding the stick. Thrashers with a chance to tie it up again.
17:19 – 2-2 Tie! – Kovalchuk takes the puck at the left point and takes a couple steps toward the net and lets a wicked wrist shot go. Price gets a big piece of it with the glove, but it trickles through and bounces over the line. The Habs fans start grumbling again as if they've seen that type of soft goal before…
Eric Perrin gets an assist on the goal and it's his 100th career point in the NHL. Congrats Eric!
14:02 – Peverley picks off an outlet pass in the slot and elects to try and pass it to the backdoor instead of shooting it. Habs avoid disaster again. With how the Habs are playing, if the Thrashers lose this game they have no one to blame but themselves. They are absolutely dominating right now.
11:40 – Bogosian takes a hooking call after losing position on Kovalev.
11:23 – 3-2 Habs – Lehtonen makes a great save in close, but the rebound bounces right to Kovalev in the slot and he doesn't miss from there. The Habsonly have a couple of scoring chances, but they're all going in.
9:18 – Lehtonen has a puck flip up on him as he tries to clear it to the boards and sends the puck over the glass. Powerplay coming for Montreal.
7:20 – Lehtonen makes a couple key saves to keep the Thrashers alive after causing them to be short a man.
6:46 – Kovalchuk screams into the zone on a 2-on-1 and fires a shot to the glove side, but Price makes a rainbow glove save to preserve the lead.
6:44 – Little takes an interference penalty right off the faceoff and gets a unsportsmanlike minor tacked on resulting in a four minute powerplay for the Habs.
6:14 – 4-2 Habs – Tanguay unleashes a bomb from the high slot that beats Lehtonen on the ice through the 5-hole. Thrashers still have to kill the second minor to Little now as well.
4:36 – 5-2 Habs – Kovalev finds another loose puck in the slot and fires it to the shelf over the sprawling Lehtonen. The Habs cash in on both penalties to Little to break this one open. Story of the season really with the lack of a successful penalty kill. I wouldn't be surprised to see Moose Hedberg in net for the third period at this point.
:42 – Price stops Thorburn on the rush to keep the Habs up by three. Not an overly difficult stop, but he's been giving up soft goals all year so why not test him?
:25 – Price gets mauled by Little during a goalmouth scramble and a scrum ensues. In Little's defense, he got shoved into Price. Komisarek starts taking liberties with he defenseless Little and Kovalchuk jumps in to protect his teammate. Little and Komisarek head to the box and we'll play 4-on-4.
End Of Period 2
Well, that was a bad period to say the least. It's likely that the 4-minute double-minor to Little will be the turning point of the game baring a monster comeback in the third. The Thrashers have looked like the better team for most of this game, but the penalty killing aspect has been dreadful. I'm not overly surprised by this, but you have to feel for Lehtonen a little for being hung out to dry.
19:36 – 6-2 Habs – Yet another puck squirts through Lehtonen. Koivu finds himself wide open at the top of the crease and tips it home. I give up.This is just one of those nights where you play well and have everything go wrong.
15:51 – White denied nicely by Price with the glove. It looks like both sides are content to just run out the clock at this point.
4:18 – Koivu heads off for hooking for his second penalty of the night.
12:18 – Penalty over and Josh Gorges is hurting big time after blocking a blast by Kozlov. He was forced to gut it out and stay on the ice and kill the rest of the penalty.
11:47 – 6-3 Habs – Bogosian picks up a loose puck in the slot and beats Price shortside just inside the post to cut the lead to three.
10:07 – Lehtonen makes a solid save on Koivu from point-blank range. Too little, too late.
8:37 – Metropolit takes a hooking penalty. A goal here would make things a little interesting anyway.
6:37 – Penalty over with barely a sniff around the net.
5:23 – Bogosian heads to the box for hooking. This can't be a good thing with how awful the PK has been tonight….
3:19 – Penalty killed! However, another penalty coming to the Thrashers for tripping. Kovalev picks himself up and blast a one-timer off the crossbar for good measure. Luckily, it stays out of the net.
2:30 – Fans chanting the Thrashers to the bus. As if there's a need. If I'm a Habs fan, this is a game you have to win. Period. These are two teams heading in different directions. One is a playoff team, the other is heading to the lottery.
:43 – Thorburn drills Gorges into the boards and Kostopolous feels the need to stick up for his teammate by attempting to jump Thorburn who has having none of it. Thorburn sees him coming and tackles him to the ice like a linebacker. Linesmen jump in and separate the two and the clock runs out on this bad game for the Thrashers.
The Habs get a big two points in the standings to pull them two points clear of idle Florida. Both teams now have the same number of games played.
Up next for the Thrashers are the Rangers on Thursday at home. The Rangers are another team in need of as many points as possible to secure their place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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Written by Casey Shea