The Carolina Hurricanes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening period, but coasted the rest of the way as they allowed one of the worst teams in the league to dominate them during the final 10 minutes of the game, and Atlanta would score four times during that time span to defeat Carolina, 5-3.
A win would have pushed the Canes up into seventh place, but instead they remain in ninth, with Pittsburgh knocking at the door. If the Hurricanes fail to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season, they need look no further than at this performance for the reason why.
The game started out well as Eric Staal made a perfect pass to Tuomo Ruutu for the contest's first goal. Sergei Samsonov would score the next one as he skated in from the side and somehow squeezed the puck past Kari Lehtonen.
The second period was pretty uneventful until Ilya Kovalchuk scored on a fluky attempt which ricocheted off of Dennis Seidenberg with just 36 seconds left on the clock.
The Hurricanes would give themselves back a two goal cushion early in the third though when Anton Babchuk scored on another scorching shot while on the powerplay, making the score 3-1. It was the fourth marker in six games for the tall defenseman.
The team apparently felt that Babchuk's goal would be the game winner because they pretty much took the rest of the night off after that.
At about the 10 minute mark, Rich Peverley would score on a puck which Cam Ward probably felt that he had frozen under his arm. Peverley was allowed to continually poke at the puck, and no one laid a glove on him. Next, a wide open Todd White would score on a loose rebound right in front of the net. Then Peverley would score yet again on a powerplay goal with just a minute and a half left, for the game winner.
Tim Gleason had been called for slashing in the offensive zone with about three minutes left in the game, to set up that opportunity.
The Hurricanes pulled Cam Ward and put on some nice pressure in the final minute almost scoring on a Sergei Samsonov attempt, but it would be too little too late and Kovalchuk would eventually bury an empty netter to ice the game.
Next up will be a game in Washington on Tuesday night.
There was very little physicality in this game as the team combined for a total of (9) hits. Tuomo Ruutu had four of them himself.
It seemed like the Thrashers were skating at will in the Hurricanes zone all night. Ward made several splendid saves, but could not hold the fort when it mattered most.
It's inexcusable to allow a player to continually slap at the puck when your goalie is down and trying to keep possession, yet no one touched Peverley as he whacked away at it until it went in the net for the Thrashers second goal.
Eric Staal did not register a single shot on goal, but he did have two assists. He also finished with a -2 which means his defense was suspect at best.
Tim Gleason's needless slashing penalty, the timing of it, and where he was on the ice when he took it, is all mind-boggling. Unfortunately for the Canes, it is not the first time this season something like that has happened with Gleason.
We have said this before on the blog but we will repeat again, there seems to be no leadership on this team. At times they seem like 20 individuals, all on different tangents. And when the going gets tough, no one attempts to grab the bull by the horns and tries to right the ship.
In case you were wondering who this new superstar Rich Peverley is, the Thrashers claimed him off waivers in January from the Nashville Predators.
On the Mike Maniscalco show after the game, one caller said that the team played a "feminine" game. If I was coach I would put that up on the bulletin board.
Speaking of coach, is it still Maurice's philosophy to play a defensive first game?
Cam Ward probably said it best in his post game presser:
In the third period, it looked like they were the team fighting for a playoff spot, not us.