Capitals 4, Thrashers 1
Scoresheet - Wash Post
The Thrashers might have been a little tired from the game the night before where they mustered a comeback win at home against the Calgary Flames. The wear and tear started to show. But in a playoff race there is no mercy for the wicked and the Caps pulled a giant win and played the possession game to a tee. If there was any doubt about the lopsided tilt just look at the shots: Capitals 37, Atlanta 12.
Brooks Laich is the man with two goals and Alex Ovechkin and Matt Cooke added tallies as the Capitals steam rolled the Dizzy Birds. Ovie scored his 57th and added an assist to keep him atop the league leader board for both goals and points and puts him near the century mark for points with 99. Sami Lepisto scored his first NHL point (an assist) and nearly scored his first NHL goal moments later but his shot rang off the crossbar. The Verizon Center horn even thought it was a goal. Cooke's goal was a shorthanded tally at a crucial point in the game, the Thrashers will still in it on the power play, but that goal was the knife in the heart of any comeback like the night before.
Olie Kolzig won his 301st game, it might have been his easiest of the previous 300. He only faced 12 shots and made 11 saves, that included only 2 shots in the first and 4 shots in the second. Sergei Fedorov also played his best game as a Capital. Although he only had an assist, Fedorov seemed to have a lot of jump in his legs and looked that of a Red Wings Fedorov from years ago.
The Caps took full advantage of a tired Atlanta Squad keeping the puck deep in their zone and peppering Kari Lehtonen with shots. When the Capitals put their mind to it, they are a down right scary team. The Caps relied on all four lines tonight and the Thrashers had little answers to stop the Caps momentum. The only reason this wasn't a 8-1 or 10-1 slaughter was Lehtonen in net. Despite a tired team in front of him he did manage to make 33 saves on the night and at times doing it on top of his head.
Both teams I told you to cheer for tonight lost, what does that tell you about my smarts. The Panthers were able to keep pace with the Caps by beating the Rangers and Buffalo broke out of whatever slump they were in to crush the Hurricanes. So now the Caps find themselves 5 points behind the 'Canes and just three points from Philadelphia for the 8th place spot in the Conference and still a point under Buffalo. But if the Hurricanes have hit a sudden rut, the Caps could once again be looking at a chance at Southeast Division leaders. If they can just shake Florida.
If this is giving you a headache, I will simplify it for you. For the Caps to make the playoffs, they must keep winning, period. Lose more than 2 games down the final stretch and the season is done for the Washington Capitals.