Capitals 5, Thrashers 3
Scoresheet - Wash Post - AJC
With eight players in the injury column the Washington Capitals, they were looking for a little help from chocolate town. And did they get it. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Caps gave four from Hershey a change with the big squad and it helped spark Alex Ovechkin and company for a much needed win at home 5 - 3 against the Atlanta Thrashers.
Ovi recorded his sixth career hat trick, two goals on the powerplay, and finished with 4 points on the scoresheet (all of Ovi's first 3 shots went in). Eric Fehr finished a pretty three on one for his second goal of the season. Viktor Kozlov, who finished with 3 points, rounded out the scoring at 5 for the Caps after the Thrashers collapsed on Ovechkin leaving Kozlov open for the break away goal. Micheal Nylander finished with an assist and Tomas Fleischmann finished with a pair of assists himself.
The Capitals, upon getting the news that now 8 players filled their injury list, called up four from Hershey. Karl Alzner, Graham Mink, Chris Bourque and Sami Lepisto were bekoned to the District. Mink was lined up with on the checking line with David Steckel and Donald Brashear and that line energized the Caps early. After nearly scoring on the first shots of the game, it seemed the team rallied around their effort.
The much awaited arrival of Karl Alzner did not disappoint. He played well logging a little over 21 minutes and was defensively sound, even with a bit of a black eye. Sami Lepisto seemed to channel Mike Green (still out with a sprained shoulder). In fact, I had to do a double take a couple of times when Lepisto took the defensive side next to Ovi on the power play. He had an assist and finished a plus one.
As far as the recalled forwards, Chris Bourque had a pretty solid game. He recorded 3 shots on net but finished a -1. His hard work did draw a penalty in the first which led to Ovi's second goal. Graham Mink probably had the best game of the four. Mink played less than ten minutes, but his line often kept the Thrashers on their heels and had four shots on net (although I thought he had more than that). Mink's experience served him well and his line's early jump was the catalyst for the Caps' quick start.
The power play, that seemed to hinder the Caps on the road, was in fine shape tonight. They tallied two goals in four chances. However, the penalty kill was weak allowing two goals on three chances.
Jose Theodore had a big save early, after that he played pretty solid wearing his brand new mask. Honestly, he looks better in his new helmet and even played better. The Caps defense is still making the little mistakes that are costing them goals. Some Thrashers were scoring when the defense let their, well, defenses down. It was a good win, but by no means a perfect game.
The Caps obviously are much more comfortable wearing their red uniforms. The recalls definitely helped the cause as well. The Montreal Canadiens will take the ice at Verizon on Friday as the Caps continue to stay unbeaten in regulation at home, now 8-0-1. It looks like the kids will stick around until then too.
Hightlights by NHL.com: