It’s not like the Washington Capitals have a hard time getting pumped up for a intra-division game. Facing the Atlanta Thrashers at home tonight, the Caps put a season-high 46 pucks on net (with another 20 attempted). But Ondrej Pavelec stood like a giant in the Atlanta net, turning away all but one of those pucks. At least it wasn’t a shutout.
Rich Peverly deflected a monster shot from Byfuglien to create the first goal of the night. Penalty engine Alex Burmistrov recorded the second goal, a brilliant chip shot from no angle. At the end of a long shift in Atlanta territory, Alex Ovechkin ended his nine-game goal drought with a one-timer assisted by the other Alex. After David Steckel took a controversial kneeing penalty, Andrew Ladd took only eight seconds to score the game’s final goal. Bummer. Thrashers beat Caps 3-1.
If Ondrej Pavelec were a car, he’d be firing on all cylinders. Last time we saw a goalie this hot, we had to invent a word for it: Halak’d.
But let’s put the whining aside. Just like last game, poor officiating is not the reason the Caps lost tonight. The refs are not to blame for the paltry offense we’ve seen lately. You can define lately as either “this week” or “since April”. There’s a killer instinct, a Bodhi-like hunger for adventure that is missing from the D.C. forwards. Until the Capitals get back in that zone, feeding free wings to the fans at every chance, they’ll continue to lose marginal games like this one.
Catch you guys on Monday, when the Caps will undoubtedly put the hurting on the wallowing Toronto Make-Believes.
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