The hat-tricker and the catalyst celebrate their line’s third goal of the night. (Photo credit: Nick Wass)
As the Capitals entered tonight’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Semyon Varlamov could not make his scheduled start due to a flame-up of his #brittlegroin. Caps regulars Boyd Gordon (rest) and Marcus Johansson (hip flexor) could not dress due to nagging pains. And Tom Poti was a late scratch with an undisclosed injury.
The Caps, who had just lost two straight games to the Boston Bruins rather unimpressively, were forced to go with a patch-work lineup which included minor league call-ups Mathieu Perreault, Jay Beagle, & Dany Sabourin as well as a not-at-full-strength Mike Green.
When the puck dropped and the first period came to a close, the Capitals resembled the same struggling team that had lost Tuesday and Thursday. They were down 1-0 and the Thrashers outshot them 13-4..
Things quickly got rectified in the Caps lockerroom, however. “Kanoobs had a little speech,” Michal Neuvirth explained post-game. “[After his talk] we were getting better every minute. …We dominated in the third period. He just wasn’t happy with our effort. …We’re getting outshot on home ice. It just can’t happen.”
The Capitals then came out and outshot Atlanta 40 to 14 the rest of the game. Riding an Alex Semin natural hat trick, two assists from fan-favorite Mathieu Perreault, and a clutch backhand gwg from Flash, the Caps trash the Thrash in OT, 4-3.
To the bullets!
Maybe after tonight, it’s time for us to think this team still has it. Maybe we’ve all been spazzing out a bit too much. Maybe we’ve all gone over the deep end. The Capitals lose two straight games against a respectable team and we all panic. Maybe after last year, we’re spoiled.
The Capitals are off until Wednesday when they travel down to RBC Center and take on the Carolina Hurricanes. At that point, the Caps should have many of their injured soldiers back including Boyd Gordon, Tom Poti, and MG52 at 100%. Hopefully, tonight’s game will be the catalyst to more consistent Caps’ efforts. And hopefully, it’ll mark the end of Mathieu Perreault’s AHL career. At least for the immediate future.
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