Thursday, February 26, 2009

Closer Than It Should Have Been

Capitals 4, Thrashers 3
Scoresheet - Post - Times

The Capitals get off to another quick start but squandered it once again. If the Thrashers had a little more umph, the outcome could have the Caps letting another 2-0 lead dissipate into another loss at home. But Mike Green came to the rescue scoring on a potent Caps' power play to help finish off Southeast rivals Atlanta 4-3.

Alex Semin had a good night scoring the night's opening goal and had two more assists. Brooks Laich scored not long after that and the Caps quickly jumped to a 2-0 lead before the first period was even seven minutes old. But the Caps allowed the Thrashers some breathing room by being too cute according to head coach Bruce Boudreau.

"We get cute," Boudreau addressed the media. "Once you have a little bit of success instead of bearing down and doing the things that got you that success we sort of ad lib a little bit and it gets us in trouble as it did in the third period."

The Thrashers closed the gap on a power play goal off a rare Alex Ovechkin roughing call. Ovi just moments before was clearly hit with a high stick as he crossed zone with the puck. 18,275 people saw it, the two that didn't (or did see it and refuse to call it) were the ones in orange arm bands.

Ovechkin was a more than a little peeved at the non call and took his frustrations out on the only thing he could take it out on, anyone wearing white. He hit Marty Reasoner high and started a raucous at the bench. Ovi lost his cool, and those kind of penalties always come back to hurt you.

And it did, Ilya Kovalchuk scored on the ensuing power play and in the second, the Thrashers to tie up the game. In fact, Rich Peverly scored that game tying goal. Peverly was the one that high sticked Ovechkin.

Mike Green gave the Capitals the lead back in the second off a laser beam of a shot in the high slot. It capped a good Capitals' power play that had the Thrasher squad scrambling all night.

"We're just moving it simple," Green talked about the power play's success. "When we shoot pucks things usually open up. I thought tonight we made very smart plays.

Eric Fehr gave the Caps some insurance early in the third and they needed it as the Thrashers came back to score on them shorthanded.

Overall the Capitals dominated play, they even kept down their penalties. But if they had played this way against more talented teams, they are going to lose a lot of games late, blowing 2 and 3 goal leads.

Puckhead's player of the game would have to be Michal Neuvirth. The twenty year old goaltender got his second win on his second start. And in the first he was gobbling up rebounds like a poor man catching a quarter, once the Thrashers shot it, they never saw it again.

This all sets up for a Eastern Conference showdown between Boston and Washington. It's a busy weekend for the Caps as they travel up to beantown for a tilt there then turn around for home to face a very tough Florida Panther squad that is trying to keep a hold on a playoff spot.

AP Photo, Luis M. Alvarez.

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