The Penguins eliminated the Thrashers from postseason play with a victory at home against Atlanta last Saturday. The Thrashers returned the favor on their home ice, defeating Pittsburgh 1-0 and spoiling the Penguins hopes of an Atlantic Division title.
The Penguins played a strong game, but just couldn’t get a puck behind Johan Hedberg. The Thrashers netminder turned aside all 33 shots in the game for the shutout.
With the loss, Pittsburgh will finish in the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference (the same position they opened with last year in its championship run) and will host the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the playoffs.
ATLANTA (AP) - Bryan Little scored a goal, Johan Hedberg made 33 saves, and the Atlanta Thrashers ruined the Pittsburgh Penguins' hopes of claiming the Atlantic Division title by beating them 1-0 on Saturday night.
SHOT OF THE NIGHT
Eric Godard and Eric Boulton trade blows in the longest fight of the season (photo by Getty)
What Went Well: Staying Tough The Thrashers wanted to play physical from the moment the puck was dropped. The Penguins didn’t back down. There were many post-whistle scrum and a few fights in the contest. Eric Godard and Eric Boulton had one of the longer fights of the year.
What Could Have Gone Better: Solving Hedberg For the second straight game former Penguin Johan Hedberg frustrated Pittsburgh with some spectacular play in net. He stopped all 33 Pittsburgh shots for the shutout. The Penguins had a lot of great opportunities but couldn’t get one past “The Moose.”
Jordan Staal had one of the strongest games of the season against Atlanta. He was skating hard, driving hard, creating offense, suffocating in his defense and looked inspired. Staal finished the game with four shots and three takeaways in 23:54 minutes of ice time.
The Thrashers score the game’s first goal halfway through the second period. Bryan Little took a shot on net. Marc-Andre Fleury dropped to his knees to stop the puck. Little found his own rebound and lifted it over Fleury. Atlanta 1, Pittsburgh 0.
There were two scary moments for Penguins fans. First Matt Cooke appeared to lose consciousness after his head hit the ice following a fight with Evander Kane. Cooke stayed on the ice for some time and the stretcher was brought out. However, Cooke being the tough guy that he is, was able to get on his feet and skate to the locker room. He did not return. Brooks Orpik skated hunched over to the bench in the third period but accounts were that he is OK as well.