Ondrej Pavelec remembers the last time he faced Ottawa. How can he not?
The Thrashers goaltender made a career-high 50 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Senators on Oct. 31. Thirty-nine of the 51 shots came after the first period.
“I’ll make 50 saves again, if it means we get two points,” Pavelec said Tuesday morning before his third start against the Senators this season.
Pavelec didn't need to make 50 saves, but he did stop 30 of 31 shots for another win over the Senators.
Both teams entered the game with issues. The Senators had lost four consecutive. The Thrashers were 1-7-3 in their past 11 games, including Saturday’s 8-1 loss to Washington.
"The key was the first period," Pavelec said. "We scored a couple, and they only got a couple of shots. ... I thought they would come hard in the second [period], and they did. They had a couple of chances, but they didn't go in."
The Thrashers have worked on their defensive zone coverage in practices since Saturday’s lopsided defeat.
"I hope we don't give up 50 shots tonight," defenseman Zach Bogosian said before the game. "There is only so much a goalie can do. There are five guys in front of him that have to help him out."
The Senators were without forwards Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Jesse Winchester and defenseman Filip Kuba.
"I've got my own struggles. I don't worry about Ottawa," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "They are not spending too much time worrying about us."
His worries for his own team, especially after Saturday’s loss?
“We are human,” he said. “I would think your confidence takes a hit when you outshoot a team 16-6 and you are losing 3-0. There is only so much your constitution can take. I think that hurt us a little mentally. That’s spilt milk now. We’ve got to get back on the horse.”
Thrasher Christoph Schubert faced his old team for the third time after the Senators waived the defenseman before the season. Schubert played 268 games for the Senators in four seasons.
“I know a lot of people over there,” Schubert said. “There are no friends on the ice. I’ve got to do my job, they’ve got to do their job. They are going to finish their hits on me, and I’ve got to do the same. After the game, we’ll be friends again.”
Schubert lasted just 5:01 into the game before getting a game misconduct penalty for boarding.
In the lineup
Defenseman Boris Valabik returned to the lineup Tuesday after being a healthy scratch the past six games. Anssi Salmela, who played the past six games was scratched, along with defenseman Mark Popovic (foot) and forward Nik Antropov (hip). Antropov was a limited participant in practices Monday and Tuesday, but missed his fourth consecutive game with the injury.
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