Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Saying Good-Bye To The Home Crowd

Capitals 6, Thrashers 4

The Caps finally get to play the role of spoiler as they dashed the hopes of the Atlanta Thrashers’ playoff dreams. And the Capitals did it with some flair. Matt Pettinger gets his 20th goal, Rico Fata scores his first at the Verizon Center, and the stands actually had people in their seats.

In a must win game for the Thrashers, the Caps came out and played their aggressive forecheck and maybe relied a bit too much on veteran goaltending from Olie Kolzig. When the Caps face big games, they seem to show up. And what a win against the Thrashers that pretty much owned the Capitals this season.

The Capitals seemed to have trouble taking Division points from their rivals this season. Lately the Caps have been more up to the challenge against their Southeast foes. In this game there was a “never say die” feel to the Caps play. They were already down one goal in the first 11 seconds, but kept coming back in a game that saw its share of goals.

Peter Bondra looked to have the Thrashers up for good in the second after a strong move to the net that beat Kolzig. But the Caps didn’t panic and even killed off a few penalties before Alex Ovechkin tied the game in the third with a yawning open net shot for his 52nd goal of the year.

Dainius Zubrus probably played one of his most physical games I have seen. He got into good scraps and wasn’t afraid to assert his position. Zubrus has really come out of a shell this season playing wing with Ovechkin and even though his goal numbers are low, his play has been really impressive. Both Zubrus and Ovechkin have shown they have good chemistry this year that I am sure will spill into next year.

Overall Grade: B+

Last home game, and the Capitals club honored Ovechkin both before the game and after. Wash Post gets the inside story of the night. And if you were curious also check out the Atlanta’s Journal Constitution take on the Thrashers quest for a playoff spot was crushed over a “struggling Dunham.”

Caps have one more game before they call the season quits and hit the links. They face Tampa Bay on the road. The Caps won’t play spoiler anymore as Tampa Bay looks to comfortable back into the playoffs this year. However, the Caps must again send a signal to its divisional foes that next season the Caps will not be a push over.

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