WHY THE SENATORS LOST
They showed plenty of spirit, but couldn’t close the deal. This game looked like a lost cause when the Thrashers went up 4-2 early in the third period, but the Senators — with nothing to play for but pride — fought back hard to force a shootout. Although Craig Anderson is a huge upgrade over Brian Elliott in that department, there’s still the small matter of scoring a goal. Four Ottawa shooters couldn’t pull it off, thus dropping the team’s all-time record in post-game talent contests to 18-33.
Atlanta’s team offence
If you’re planning to score four goals on Craig Anderson, taking 47 shots is a good first step. The Thrashers, led by Blake Wheeler and Ben Maxwell (one goal and one assist each), did just that, jumping all over Ottawa’s many turnovers and carpet-bombing the Senators’ net.
Ottawa’s team defence
Can’t pick on one player or position when there are as many poor puck decisions and missed assignments as there were in this one. Eight Senators registered minus ratings in this game, with Colin Greening leading the way at minus-three.
Anderson hadn’t allowed a shootout goal in 11 attempts against since donning the centurion, but leave it to the Thrashers’ on and off-ice leader to crack the goose egg. Captain Andrew Ladd sped in, made a quick forehand-backhand deke and roofed a shot over Anderson to put the game away. Ladd also had an assist in regulation to bump up his Atlanta-best points total to 55.
- 2-0-2: Senators’ record against the Thrashers this season.
- 7: Points for Jason Spezza in his last six games.
- 2: Marek Svatos goals, including the 100th of his NHL career.
- 1-23-5: Ottawa’s record when trailing after two.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
Zack Smith extending his fighting streak to three games. After taking on the Rangers’ Michael Sauer Thursday and badly bloodying Washington’s Matt Bradley one night later, Smith was at it again Sunday afternoon against Chris Thorburn. We’ll call it a draw. Smith stepped in to protect Chris Neil, of all players, after Neil threw a clean hit that rubbed the Thrashers the wrong way. While Neil probably could have handled the situation himself, Smith’s move will no doubt further endear him to his teammates.
The Atlanta Thrashers took their second lead of the game on a weird, bad luck play for the Senators. Erik Karlsson made a pass out of his own zone midway through Period 2, only to have it bounce off Milan Michalek and back over the blue line. Because the puck re-entered off an Ottawa player, the Thrashers deep in Ottawa’s zone were still considered onside and had an easy shot at a two-on-one goal. Bryan Little finished off that play after a nice pass from Wheeler.