Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pseudo-Live Blogging: Colorado Game

I couldn't watch the game live since I had something else going on, but I decided to write up the game as I watch it on the DVR on my couch.

1-0 ATL: Great work by the checking line. Holik hit leads to a rush. Mellanby gives young COL defensemen the spin move behind the net and dishes to Larsen who was open in the slot. Good goal produced by hard work. Too often ATL wins puck possession down low but there is no one free to shot in front of the net, but not this time. Assist to Theodore for not coming out enough to face the shooter.

2-0 ATL: Hossa carries behind the net and sends the puck to the left face-off dot. Kozlov snaps it home with a nice one-timer. Again Theodore sits back in his net leaving more to shoot at for ATL.

Another anemic ATL power play. Too much passing, not enough shots.

Sim drives the net to create a nice chance.

3-0 ATL Kovalchuk passes out to Exelby who just takes a quick hard shot on net which was redirected right in front of Theodore by either the COL defensemen or Metropolit. (I slowed it down and I couldn't tell who touched it.) The thing I really like about this chance is that even if the Exelby shot had not gone into the net, Hossa and Metro were on either side of the net ready to pounce on a rebound in either direction.

Sutton gives up a 2-on-1 chance after Brad May gives him a bump at the blueline--Save Kari.

Then COL gets two quick shots on Lehtonen in the last 10 seconds.

You know you're in the south when a furniture store has a TV featuring a furniture line named after a NASCAR driver.

Budaj replaces Theodore. I remember back when COL and MON exchanged Theodore and Aebischer (and exchange of struggling goalies) that I though COL took the bigger risk. Neither of the two goalies has played all that well this year. Both COL and MON have had success because of their other goalies Budaj and Huet.

Failed pass by Havelid gives Hejduk a good chance that Lehtonen stuffs out.

Exelby gives us some razzle-dazzle hit on Paul Statsny and then Mick McGeough gives XLB a high stick as he tries to protect himself from a following hit by a COL player. Once again, it looks to me like McGeough should retire as a ref. If that is a penalty on Exelby where is the obstruction call on COL for hitting an ATL player when he clearly doesn't have the puck?

On the PK Sutton tries to push a loose puck into Kari's pads and nearly scores one for the other team.

Again on the PK, Hossa single handily creates two good chances as he uses his speed to cut to the crease. Then he flat out steals the puck from a lazy COL player at the offensive blueline and goes behind the net for a wrap around chance.

Nice flashback on TV to the previous ATL visits on the SportsSouth broadcast. Nice to see the highlights of some memorable wins.

4-0 Metropolit wins a lose puck battle and makes a short dish in tight from the right face-off dot to Hossa who is cutting laterally across the crease area and Hossa goes in tight and upstairs on the right side of Budaj instead of his usual left wing side. Nice pass and goal.

Kovalchuk and Sim have great chemistry. Rucchin shows almost zero offensive flair--again.

4-1 COL goal off of a hard work down low and behind the net. Both Havelid and Sutton are trapped behind the play as they chase the puck, but the puck is centered and Larsen can't get there quick enough to cover the open man.

Great chance by Ilya after a quick stop frees him of his defender. Rucchin is available on the doorstep but Ilya shoots. I don't blame him, I would have done the same presented with those options.

Rucchin is tagged with a late high hit to the head by Guite. That sort of hit is what has been banned by the OHL because it makes contact with the head area and not the shoulders or other part of the upper body.

5-1 PP Goal. Thrashers try the pass across crease from Hossa to Mellanby which Scott misses, but on the ensuing recovery Hossa moves to the left side and dishes back across the crease to Kozlov who settles the puck and then rips it home.

5-2 Another PP Goal on a back door goal as the ATL defensemen sneaks down and recieves the pass and puts it into a half empty net. That is a skater goal. You MUST protect your goalies blind side. In my opinion it was Larsen who missed the pinch by the defenseman.

5-3 Atlanta's PK lets Colorado get back into the game. Sakic shots misses wide but the rebound comes out hard. Sutton's coverage is good as he eliminates his man next to the net. But the extra man zips in from the wing and snaps the loose puck home for a goal. Frankly this was a bad luck goal as much as anything. I don't see any glaring mistakes by the Thrashers PK unit here. Colorado has an extra guy and the puck bounded right out to that guy. I need to sit down and look at which Thrashers are best at the PK because this is becoming a real problem.

6-3 EN goal by Hossa.

Summary: The Thrashers played with great energy, effort and intelligence. The Thrashers benefited from some below average goalie play by Colorado--but to their credit they took advantage instead of shooting wide, hitting posts or failing to generate shots--all problems in some previous games. Metropolit received about 17 minutes of ice time (for the 2nd game in a row) and his line scored 2 even strength goals so I'm happy to see the team try one of my 5 suggestions for improving the team.

Special teams remain an issue. The PK allowed the opposition back into the game. The PP remained stale at times. The one PP goal happened because the Thrashers moved out of their usual positions. Mellanby moved up the wall, Hossa rotated over and Kozlov slipped down into Hossa's spot. All that player movement created problems for Colorado's coverage and they were able to move the puck effectively over to Kozlov who was wide open with plenty of time to settle the puck and shoot. We need more player movement on the PP in my opinion.

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