Friday, February 20, 2009

Thrashers-Coyotes Recap: Atlanta Loses Duel in the Desert

For a less traditional recap of this game, check out the running diary that I wrote about the game on The Hockey Writers (my other website):

"Thrashers Invade Desert, Lose to Coyotes"

The Thrashers went in to Phoenix looking for a franchise record fifth straight road win, and the Coyotes were looking to avoid a seventh straight home defeat, which also would have been a franchise record.

In a game that featured its fair share of physical play and questionable officiating, the Coyotes beat the Thrashers in the shootout by a score of 4-3. The shootout, which lasted eight shooters on each side, finally ended when Daniel Carcillo made his first career shootout goal to get Mikkel Tellqvist the win.

Erik Christensen got the scoring started six minutes into the contest with a power play goal. The hero of the Los Angeles game, Eric notched his fifth goal and continued his solid production of late. Perhaps he's auditioning for other teams to try to trade for him? Stay tuned on that front.

About three and a half minutes later, Joakim Lindstrom scored to tie the game at one on another power play goal. The Coyotes ended up outshooting the Thrashers in the period, with Atlanta only getting three shots in on Mikkel Tellqvist.

Phoenix struck twice to start in the second period, with Viktor Tikhonov and Steven Goertzen scoring goals for the Coyotes.

Just when it looked like the Thrashers were in for a long night, they struck with eight minutes to go in the period, when Ilya Kovalchuk found Bryan Little on a fantastic centering pass to make it a one goal game. It was Kovalchuk's eighteenth point since being named captain of the Thrashers, and it was Little's 24th goal of the season.

The third period was a defensive struggle throughout, with the teams trading scoring chances that their defenses snuffed out. The Coyotes did an especially good job of shutting down a lot of Atlanta's offensive attacks, and I was impressed with their effort throughout the period.

Just when it looked bleakest, Kovalchuk did what he does best: he took the game over. With 53 seconds left, Kovalchuk pounded home a juicy rebound off the blocker of Tellqvist to tie the game at three apiece. As the Coyote crowd groaned its disapproval, the Thrashers ensured that they would get at least a point in a game that they had trailed in for 37 minutes.

The overtime was a physical battle that saw few scoring chances, and the defensive struggle continued even into the shootout, as both goalies exchanged save after save, before Daniel Carcillo finally scored to give the Coyotes the victory.

It was a good physical game for the Thrashers, who are playing some of their best hockey of the season right now. It may be too late for them to salvage a run at the playoffs, but they are setting themselves up in prime position to make a good run next season.

The Thrashers' next game will be on Saturday at 4pm EST against the Sharks. It can be seen on Sports South.

No comments:

Post a Comment