The game started wide open, but then Canada’s capital city clamed down Hotlanta’s offense.
Ottawa jumped on Atlanta early, as it took only 43 seconds for Alexei Kovalev to snap in his first goal of the season and as a Senator. Then, less then two minutes later, Chris Kelly set it up for Jarko Ruttu, who finished off the play by wristing the puck past Ondrej Pavelec.
Finally, the Thrashers would turn it around again thanks to another well-timed fight from Eric Boulton. Though Matt Carkner might have won the fisticuffs, Boulton helped his team.
Right after the fight, Nikolai Antropov would deke past the defenseman and shoot a cross-ice pass to a streaking Ilya Kovalchuk. Another laser of a shot from No. 17 would would cut the lead in half.
With less then two minutes to go in the opening period, Pavel Kubina would pass it over to Bryan Little, who would find Ron Hainsey to wrist it into the net.
To start the second period, Ottawa’s defense would tighten up in the neutral zone, not allowing many scoring chances.
The lone goal of the period would come from a power play, itself a result from Anssi Salmela’s interference penalty. The strong play of Peter Regin would get the puck over to Mike Fisher for the backhand goal for Ottawa.
In the third period, Atlanta would give Ottawa a few chances off small errors. Chris Neil would score the only goal in the period on a wrist shot.
Ottawa’s counter-attacking style worked well against the run-and-gun from Atlanta—which has yet to out-shoot its opponents—and give them their first defeat of the season.
The effort from the Thrashers just wasn’t there.
“I don’t think we showed up for this game” Ilya Kovalchuk said.
He was exactly correct. The team that showed up for this game didn't work nearly as hard as the team that showed up in their prior two outings.
It was also difficult for fans, who had to listen to the game on the radio, as it wasn’t available on television.
BRIGHT STARS: Ron Hainsey
DARK STARS: Anssi Salmela (two lack of effort penalties, one of which proved costly) Todd White, Slava Kozlov
BLUE COLLAR: Eric Boulton