Thrashers' Pavelec stops 50 to beat Senators
Ondrej Pavelec made 50 saves and Rich Peverley had a goal and an assist to lead the visiting Atlanta Thrashers to a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon.
Pavelec earned plenty of praise for securing the victory.
"He was fabulous," Thrashers head coach John Anderson said. "One of the best games I've ever seen in goal. He made us win."
"We didn't play well at all," Peverley said. "At times it felt like we were just standing around. [Pavelec] handed us the win, he was tremendous."
Ottawa outshot Atlanta 51-21 but couldn't score until 4:27 remained when Mike Fisher converted on a five-on-three power play to make it 2-1.
"We did some good things and worked hard, but just didn't get some of the breaks we needed to," Fisher said. "[It was] one of those games where you run into a hot goalie and can't do anything about it."
But Atlanta's Max Afinogenov quashed any thoughts of a comeback by beating Senators goalie Pascal Leclaire on a breakaway — set up by Peverley — with 91 seconds left.
Leclaire gave up three goals on 21 shots but he was the victim of a few unlucky bounces and could hardly be blamed for the loss.
Zach Bogosian scored in the first period to help Atlanta (5-4-1) snap a streak of four consecutive losses, all by one goal.
Ottawa (6-4-2) dropped its second straight as it opened a four-game homestand.
Senators forward Jason Spezza sat out his second game in a row due to an upper-body injury. Bruising defenceman Anton Volchenkov is out a while with a bad elbow but it may not have mattered against Pavelec.
The 22-year-old Czech made 38 saves over the final two periods alone — more than a full game's worth for most goalies.
"Right now I feel like Jacque Plante 50 years ago," said Pavelec, whose helmet flew off after taking a puck to the face.
That included a whopping 25 in the final frame, highlighted by a wild goalmouth scramble in which Ottawa peppered the net in search of its first goal but couldn't get one past Pavelec and his sprawling defencemen.
Atlanta's attack looked punchless for long stretches.
With top goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk out of the lineup with a foot injury, the Thrashers managed just eights shots over the final 40 minutes. But they scored on two of them, with Peverley having a hand in both.
Midway through the second period, the Atlanta points leader redirected Nik Antropov's delivery off Ottawa defenceman Chris Campoli. Then Peverley helped Afinogenov put the game out of reach by poking the puck up to his teammate for the back-breaking breakaway goal.
with files from The Canadian Press