A despondent Braden Holtby looks on after giving up the third goal of the night. (Photo credit: John Bazemore)
When Joe B. and Locker finished their pre-game intros and CSN cameras zoomed in for the opening face-off, it was hard not to notice the rows and rows of empty seats in Phillips Arena. The Capitals, seemingly aware of their surroundings, lacked energy and focus and proceeded to play down to their opponents. After giving up three quick goals to Ben Eager, Nik Antropov, & Evander Kane respectively, Braden Holtby was quickly summoned to the Caps bench by an enraged Bruce Boudreau.
Michal Neuvirth was steady in relief, but unfortunately for the Capitals, they were never able to locate their game after the switch. The offense was blessed with quality scoring chance after quality scoring chance but all resulted either in a missed shot, a ping off the post, or a solid save by Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
Evil cheeseburger-eater Dustin Byfuglien then put the game officially out of reach, closing the second period with a nifty short-side wrist shot past Neuvy. And let’s not even talk about that Burmistrov goal. I’m still angry at Jeff Schultz, who stopped skating, got deked out of his jockstrap and resembled a giant, awkward pylon on the play. Whatever. Thrashers win 5-0.
Your Friday night bullets:
One of the things about the Caps that I love is that no opposing team’s lead is ever really safe. Last year, the Capitals offense came back from several three goal deficits and seemed capable of magical things. Tonight, however, they wilted. They looked defeated. At no point during the game did they ever have momentum. No one stepped up. They just took their beating and emotionlessly walked out of the Phillips Arena’s doors with their heads held low.
Tomorrow night, they will play at home against Conference foes the Philadelphia Flyers, where they’re 10-1-0. Will Bruce tinker with the line-up? Will our heros return with swagger. Does Mike Knuble still even have a chin?
I suppose we’ll find out tomorrow. Until then, enjoy your weekend!
Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg.
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