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.
It felt like a special night. The Caps’ final match with the Atlanta Thrashers had special gravity: Alex Ovechkin trailed Sidney Crosby in goals scored and Henrik Sedin in total points, Nick Backstrom was hovering right under the 100-point line, and 18,772 Capitals fans were hungry for wings.
Everyone got what they wanted from tonight’s 5-2 walloping. Alex Ovechkin’s and Nick Backstrom’s individual achievements delivered a definitive win for the whole team. With the playoffs imminent, isn’t this exactly what we want to see from our team?
After spending the last few days discussing if the Capitals are coasting to the playoffs or not, one thing was certain: Washington needed a win in a bad kind of way tonight. With three straight losses under it’s belt and a Capitals Blogosphere filling with doubt for the first time all year, somebody had to step up and yell “Пора взять быка за рога” (It’s time to take the bull by the horns) . And lucky for the Caps,
Alex Ovechkin Matt Bradley was equal to the task. Caps THRASH Atlanta 2-1.
Me so punny:
This week we look at Alex Ovechkin’s chances of going down as the greatest goal-scorer in NHL history, a break-down of last week’s big Kovalchuk trade, a look at the change in average shift length for today’s players versus those from 10 years ago (with a certain Capital being a rare exception), and busting a few common myths using the Vancouver Canucks as an example.
I had to wrangle these links up quickly, since I forgot what day it was. That’s when happens when you’re snowed in for almost a week without seeing the outside world. At least I had my spreadsheets to keep me busy.
As we prepared for tonight’s Caps/Thrashers game, we were alerted to three crucial things: 1.) The Caps had plane troubles again and had to depart for Atlanta very early this morning (per Capitals Insider) 2.) Japers Rink told us via Twitter that the Caps have never won in Atlanta on a Saturday night (0-3-1) and 3.) Capitals 9th string Goalie Brett Leonhardt made this awesome observation on Twitter: “There is legit spots on the ice in ATL where you can see the cement… guess the teams’ not the only ones mailing it in.”
Wow, huge #verbfail there, Brett.
But with these convenient excuses on hand, we here at the Russian Machine felt like it was a perfect night for our hometown team to have another mindless, letdown game and be done in by the dreaded “Reverse Lock.” Or – at the least – witness Sasha take 6 offensive-zone penalties and see just how hard Bruce could angrily stare at him without his eyes bugging out of his head.
But alas, we were treated to a blowout victory, as the Capitals took the Thrashers to the freakin’ woodshed and won by a Touchdown. … Sorry, it’s Saturday… I’m a little drunk… I’ve gotta do it:
(Ed note: fast foward to 1:47 mark)
On to the bullet points:
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