For the Atlanta perspective, please visit Bird Watchers Anonymous
Bryan and Nathan must've known this game was going to suck, so they left me with the gamer for a second straight game. Very funny guys!
How did the game go? Short answer: Yuck. Long answer: Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
Last season, the Wild started the season so badly that they were never able to recover, despite having a very solid stretch halfway. They learned from this, and had a much better start this year. However, they didn't seem to learn that if you start a game slowly, it can have the same effect.
The first period was dismal (or at least the last 10 minutes was, I missed the first 10, but it couldn't have been much different). The Wild came out extremely flat, getting out-shot 5-0 at one point. First period ended 2-0 Thrashers with goals by Ben Eager and Jim Slater.
The second period was a rather uneventful one, save for another Thrashers goal, scored by Andrew Ladd, who's been one of the Thrashers' top players so far this season.
In the third period, the Wild were finally looking like they came to play. A ray of light in the form of an Antti Miettinen PP goal came but was almost immediately taken away by a shorthanded goal courtesy of Fredrik Modin. After that, the Wild had lost all hope, and reverted back into a mediocre team. All goals against the Wild tonight were the result of awful defensive coverage, especially by Cam Barker, whose play tonight was the cherry on top of the rancid, smelly sundae of his time with the Wild so far with a -3.
Ondrej Pavelec did a great job keeping the Wild at bay, stopping 32 shots, albeit not very dangerous shots, but he was still there playing an integral part in the win. You know what was wrong with the Wild's game tonight don't you? Wait for it.... Lack of hard work! Sorry Tom. It's true, there was no urgency, everyone seemed to be playing with lead skates, and the Thrashers are a hard-working team, which is why they had no problem getting on the rebounds and winning battles along the boards. Again, sorry Tom.
Answering the question on many a Wild fan's mind, Mittens started the game on the third line with John Madden and Eric Nystrom. The result? All three were -2 in the 1st period. So Mittens was right back on the first line in the following period. The result? They were the only line to consistently buzz around the net with quality scoring chances. Like it or not, Mittens is our first line right wing
You have to wonder if the fact they had a 4 day game-less period had a factor in this embarassing loss. Either way, they've got some work to do if they don't want to start a losing streak, because this game was beyond bad.
Anyhoo, long story short: Embarrassing game, let's move on, please, pretty please.
- I was watching the Thrashers' video feed of the game and the announcers felt like the name Cal Clutterbuck sounds like a guy you would buy used cars from. Hilarious. Speaking of Clutterbuck,
- Cullen's assist on the powerplay gave him 11 PP points. Before the game, James Wisniewski was tops in the league with 11.
- Before Cal Clutterbuck took a 3rd period penalty, the Wild were 2:25 away from recording their 3rd game without a single penalty.
- All four lines scored for the Thrashers. In other words, ideal game for them.
- The Thrashers scored 5 goals, but you wouldn't have known just by the sound of the crowd. Attendance was recorded at 10055 for tonight's tilt.
- The Wild have been out-shot on all but one game this season.
- I'm an idiot for trading away Dustin Byfuglien in the Hockey Wilderness Fantasy League. He had a hell of a night with 2 assists and +3
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars:
1- Dustin Byfuglien (2 A, 5 SOG, +3)
2- Ondrej Pavelec ( Recently came back from a scary episode and notched his first win of the season, stopping 32 pucks)
3- Andrew Ladd (16 points on the season with his 2 points tonight.)
Honorable mention: Alexander Burmistrov... look out for this kid. He got an assist and was all over the net, zinging one off the post at one point. This guy is going to be a good hockey player.
- Can the former Blackhawks (Byfuglien and Ladd) continue to lead the way for Atlanta? Two points each, very solid games by both players.
- Will Military Appreciation Night help Atlanta get more than 7500 in the building since the Dirty Birds are playing across the street? They did get more than 7500, but not much. 10055 was the recorded attendance
- Will four days off and a loosey-goosey practice or two hurt the momentum? It didn't hurt the momentum, it flat out killed it. One of the worst efforts of the season so far.
- Can Minnesota stay healthy? No injuries, which is the only positive we can muster out of this game.
- How will Mittens look post-concussion, and will he end up back with Mikko? He was probably our best player tonight, despite an ugly first period, scoring a goal on the PP and creating lots of chances with his usual linemates Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette.