The Small Three Defeat The Thrashers in a Shootout

Peter BojarinovAnalyst IOctober 20, 2009

MONTREAL- OCTOBER 17:  Brian Gionta #21 of the Montreal Canadiens skates during the NHL game against the Ottawa Senators on October 17, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Senators defeated the Canadiens 3-1.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Tonight’s game was an intriguing one; the hot Atlanta Thrashers were in the Bell Center to face off against the Montreal Canadiens.

The game was full of action and played more of a run and gun style, which was right in both teams alleys. Much like the last few games for the Thrashers they came out in full force, with strong pressure and many chances within the first ten minutes of the match. But unlike the last few games, they had nothing to show for it.

Slowly the game turned more in favour of the Canadiens, with more shots and pressure as the game went on. Just after the Eric Boulton penalty for tripping, the Canadiens were unstoppable with constant persistence.

Then the “little three” came on the ice, and scored a goal. For the lack of a great nickname the top line of Montreal (Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, and Scott Gomez) for all standing less then 6 feet tall, had scored the first goal of the game. A nice feed from Cammy to Gionta down low, for a quick shot between Ondrej Pavelec’s pads for the goal.

Though it was an up and down game with chances, both teams defense played well, the strongest line for the Thrashers on this night scored the tying goal in the third period. Rich Peverley and Evander Kane cycled the puck behind net and in the corners till they found Colby Armstrong for the centering pass. Colby then fired a wrister by Jaroslav Halak.

The game went into overtime where, Gomez would carry the puck in the zone, he would be cross-checked from behind by Slava Kozlov, who rarely even commits a penalty. Gomez would lie on the ice for two seconds, and then jump up and find Kozlov to quickly throw three punches before anyone else had got there.

After a long break, the referees decided since the hit was a light hit, but from behind and looked ugly going into the boards that Kozlov should get a five minute boarding penalty and a 10 minute game misconduct, and Gomez would get just two minutes for roughing.

In my mind, if you not look at the hit, what Gomez did would defiantly get an two minute instigator penalty and a fighting major for what he did, or even get kicked out of the game. I’m still not sure how Gomez could not get at least a fighting major.

Then somehow, and I have yet to see this, the powerplay started on the next drop of the puck. If there were a two minute penalty on the Canadiens and a five minute penalty on the Thrashers, wouldn’t the powerplay for Montreal start in two more minutes of ice time? Instead the Canadiens had a three minute powerplay with just under three minutes left in overtime.

Ondrej Pavelec would make great save after great save in the final minutes in the game, to force a shootout.

The “little three” were the shooters for the Canadiens, and I knew this would not be good. Ilya Kovalchuk would shoot first for Atlanta, and go backhand, but would be stopped by a nice save from Halak. Then both Gionta and Gomez would score to give Montreal their first home win of the season.


BRIGHT STARS: Ondrej Pavelec, Colby Armstrong

DARK STARS: Ilya Kovalchuk (was not to be found tonight, and missed on a few chances)

BLUE COLLAR: Ondrej Pavelec, Zack Bogosian, and Nik Antropov (both with a solid overall effort, good defensive game, and four or more blocked shots)