Last night the Atlanta Thrashers hosted the Atlantic Division New York Rangers at the Phillips Arena. If there was an ideal time for Craig Ramsey’s troops to put together a solid 60 minutes and collect a valuable two points, it was last night. The Thrashers entered the game 6-1-1 in their last eight meetings with the Rangers.
It was time to get that positive energy back in their game, find ways to do that and good things will come out of it. First period action saw Anthony Stewart find the back of the net for his 14th tally of the season, with helpers coming from rookie forward Alex Burmistrov and Evander Kane. This is exactly what the Thrashers needed to do, take a 1-0 lead and build on it from there.
From a physical standpoint, Thrasher tough guy Eric Boulton dropped the gloves with Rangers forward Brandon Prust during the first period, and seemed to have the upper hand, in what was a part of fight night in the National Hockey League.
The New York Rangers tied the game in the second period off a wrist shot by defenseman Marc Staal. From there, the Thrashers needed to keep working, getting pucks deep and putting pressure on Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist. A 23-22 advantage in shots heading into the final frame for the Thrashers.
1:11 of the 3rd period, Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky fired a puck past Ondrej Pavalec to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. For a team that hadn’t found the win column in February heading into last night’s matchup, the Thrashers kept their composure and continued to battle.
Eventually, Evander Kane would find the score sheet for his 15th goal of the season coming at the 14:09 marker. Anthony Stewart and defenseman Ron Hainsey had the assists. Evander Kane wasn’t done however, as he beat goaltender Lundqvist on the man advantage with just over two minutes to go in regulation.
The Thrashers went on to defeat the New York Rangers by a final score of 3-2. Their first victory in February, the Thrashers are back in the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. The Thrashers managed to grab two crucial points from the Rangers currently in the 7th spot.
Defenseman Tobias Enstrom returned to the lineup last evening, after missing time with a fractured finger. Enstrom assisted on Evander Kane’s game winning goal.
Defenseman Zach Bogosian had a game high 7 shots on net.
With the NHL’s trade deadline just over two weeks away, General Manager Rick Dudley will undoubtedly look to improve the Thrashers parent club and add talent to the organizational depth chart. Just who Dudley and his staff have in mind, remains to be seen, but that doesn’t stop us from taking an in depth look at who might fit the current needs in Atlanta. Stay Tuned.