With the game being marred by Ondrej Pavelec’s terrifying collapse early in the game, both the Atlanta Thrashers and Washington Capitals did continue playing the game and did find a way to keep things somewhat focused. You could argue that the Capitals didn’t do much of that in looking lethargic against an energized Thrashers team as Atlanta won 4-2.
If you’re thinking that Pavelec going out of the game the way he did was a rallying point for the Thrashers, you’d be right.
Thrashers players were told during first intermission that Pavelec was okay. [Dustin] Byfuglien stood up and told team to win it for Pavelec.
If you can’t rally for a fallen teammate after learning he’s OK, that doesn’t make for much of a gut check for the squad. For the Thrashers, however, it was difficult to get through the game.
“It was awful,” Mason said. “You imagine [Pavelec’s] family across the sea. They are probably following the game, and something like that happens. It must be a helpless feeling. It was tough. To be honest, I had trouble focusing when I first got in there. I couldn’t stop thinking about him.”
The rest of the team found out at the first intermission that Pavelec was OK.
“We got through the first period, and that was the hardest part,” Mason said. “It was hard trying to focus and play a game and have that killer instinct and game mentality when you can’t stop thinking about your teammate.”
Leading the charge for Atlanta was Evander Kane who netted a pair of goals, including a penalty shot goal in the third period to make it 3-1 Atlanta. Andrew Ladd and Fredrik Modin had Atlanta’s other goals while Chris Mason stopped 29 shots in relief of Pavelec.
Brooks Laich and Mike Knuble scored for Washington while Michal Neuvirth did well despite what the box score says stopping 27 shots. Washington heads back to D.C. for their home opener against New Jersey on Saturday, while Atlanta goes to Tampa Bay to help the Lightning open their season.