I'm not going to hide it, and I've never hidden it - I was a huge supporter of Manny Legace making the Thrashers this season. Partially because I really like the guy, and partially because I believed that Pavelec wasn't ready quite yet and Kari was basically toast. I felt badly for him regarding the way that it ended for him in St. Louis (despite the emo factor) and I wanted him to succeed.
Vindication was mine and Manny's tonight. A 4-0 shutout of the Thrashers was the result of his return to Blueland. One of my fantasy teams thanks you, and one of my real life teams kind of would have preferred that you would have sat in favor for Justin Peters. Of course, *I* could have held off the four goal onslaught that the Thrashers unleashed in the first period, and I haven't been in a goal since I was 7, when, oddly enough, I was Legace's height. The Thrashers pulled the SOG total a little closer, ending up at a 33-27 deficit.
The highlight of this thrilling game for the 15,306 in attendance (probably not that much, but the crowd looked pretty good) had to be the 8 penalties taken at various and sundry inappropriate times, leading to two powerplay goals. If last night was an example of the refs calling penalties that were questionable, tonight was a fantastic example of the Thrashers bringing it upon themselves. If they feel the need to make the playoffs, it would be helpful if they would win instead of depending on the teams ahead of them to lose. To win, you have to play a disciplined hockey game, and that was not what I saw tonight.
Ondrej Pavelec hasn't given up less than four goals since February 2nd against Tampa Bay, which was a break in the chain. He's given up 4 goals in four of the five previous starts. He hasn't won since January 19th. He is playing himself into the backup role to a backup this year. I like the kid, and I think he has great potential. I still maintain that he needs another year of experience in the minors, but his space has been taken in Chicago by Peter Mannino, who has a 20-3-0 record. He's stuck in the position that he and his agent wanted for him, filling a void left by Lehtonen and his wonky back/groin.
Hedberg had a bad game last night, but there were quite a few factors at play that didn't help. Pavelec didn't look sharp tonight, and the team didn't do him any favors either. Honestly, though, looking at his record along with his GAA (12-16-5, 3.47 GAA, .902 SV%), he's not passing muster yet this year. Legace, on an inferior team, hasn't had the chance to put up an actual full season of stats to be statistically compared to Pavelec's, but they're on par with Hedberg's, though Moose's SV% is higher (last night's game really didn't do Moose's stats any favors).
This team has the ability, when disciplined, to score in high amounts and to have some solid goaltending, mostly coming from Hedberg with the occasional brilliant game from Pavelec. We can make the playoffs - staying in the playoffs is the problem. When demoralized, as we were last night in Tampa, it takes us too long to climb back on the horse, and tonight's game was a horse we should have been all over like white on rice. Instead, the li'l guy that we passed up on got his just desserts and was named number one star of the game.
Karma isn't a bitch. Karma is a 5'10" ginger.