Now that’s more like it.
The Thrashers bounced back from their worst loss of the season with a 6-1 victory over Ottawa on Tuesday. Maybe more important, they had success in several areas that have been lacking of late.
*The Thrashers got off to a good start with three first-period goals -- something they’ve done only one other time this season.
*They got goals from their defense -- Pavel Kubina and Tobias Enstrom scored.
*They got goals from secondary players -- Eric Boulton, Todd White and Bryan Little scored.
*They got a goal from their star -- Ilya Kovalchuk broke a three-game scoreless streak.
*They got a solid effort from their goaltender -- Ondrej Pavelec had allowed four or more goals in four of his past five appearances.
“The things that we have been working on finally came to fruition,” Thrashers coach John Anderson said. “The things that they were doing [right], were the things we’ve been asking them to do.
“The little things that happened today that didn’t happen before are the things that win and lose hockey games.”
The victory was the Thrashers’ second in three games -- sandwiched around Saturday’s 8-1 home loss to Washington. They’ve won two of three after a nine-game winless skid. Tuesday’s victory snapped a streak of 20 games without a win in regulation, dating to Nov. 30.
The Thrashers (20-19-6, 46 points) made up ground in the conference standings. They are 11th in the East but trail the three teams tied for the eighth spot, including the Senators, by only two points. The Senators (22-21-4, 48 points) lost their fifth straight.
Pavelec stopped 30 shots, several on Senators’ breakaways, to get the win.
“Especially for me it was a big game,” Pavelec said. “It was a big win for us. We needed every point.”
The Thrashers host Buffalo on Thursday in the third game of a four-game homestand. After playing the Sabres, second in the conference, the Thrashers play the next five games against teams currently below them in the standings.
Boulton opened the scoring with his second goal of the season, a power-play goal assisted by Slava Kozlov, 3:36 into the game. It was Boulton’s first career power-play goal and first goal since the second game of the season. Kubina, who has a point in four consecutive games, and Kovalchuk added goals 1:39 part in the final three minutes of the first period. For Kovalchuk it was his 26th goal of the season. He is tied for fifth in the NHL in goals. The captain was also a plus-3 after a minus-7 stretch the past three games.
“Anytime you can chip in and help offensively it feels good,” Boulton said. “Hopefully it won’t be that long again.”
Boulton did get a fight in, getting the better of Chris Neil in the second period.
“Me and him have a bit of a history,” Boulton said. “We battle hard every year. He was trying to get his team going, and I was trying to get the crowd into it and keep the boys going.”
The Thrashers chased Senators’ starting goalie Pascal LeClaire after the first period, holding a 14-5 shots-on-goal advantage.
White, who missed much of the first period after injuring his right leg, scored 2:02 into the second period. It was his fourth goal of the season and first since Oct. 29. Entrom added a second-period goal for his 106th career point. He stands just a point shy of tying the franchise record for points by a defenseman (Yannick Tremblay, 107).
“It was a tough stretch not getting any goals,” White said. “I think the longest of my career. I’ve always been a streaky scorer, so hopefully I can put a bunch together and get back on a role.”
The Thrashers won despite losing defenseman Christoph Schubert, a former Senator, to a game misconduct 5:01 into the game. Schubert was called for boarding for a hit on Jonathan Cheechoo. The Senators, with the worst power-play in the NHL, failed to score on the ensuing power play.
Little scored a third-period goal, his sixth of the season. One of the assists went to Pavelec, his first career NHL point.
“I’m the goalie, so I don’t really care,” Pavelec said of his assist. “I didn’t even know I got it, but I don’t play for points, I play for wins.”
Peter Regin scored a first-period goal for the Senators.
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC