Capitals 6, Thrashers 4
Scoresheet - Post - Times - AJC
The Washington Capitals finish their regular season home schedule with a 29-9-3 record, the second most wins at home in franchise history. Not too shabby. They win their final home game with some secondary scoring as the Atlanta Thrashers did all they could to spoil the party. But the Caps prevailed and handed the Thrashers their 39th loss 6 to 4.
The goal scorers were Tomas Fleischmann (breaking a 15 game goalless streak), Eric Fehr (who has scored in every game against the Thrashers this season), Micheal Nylander, Alex Semin, Brooks Laich (had the empty netter) and Keith Aucoin (more on him later). The Caps' five on five play seemed to pick up a notch in the third period after a lethargic first two.
The Caps got the opening goal from Flash who looked to the sky in relief after he scored. But then the Caps seemed to get too cute with the puck and played too cavalier and the Thrashers took advantage. The Thrashers got the lead on a short handed goal when the Alex Ovechkin's pass was picked off in the neutral zone.
Aucoin tied it back up with a power play tally, his first power play goal in the NHL. Bruce Boudreau seemed unhappy with his power play unit and he mixed up the power play unit. After some listless efforts in the previous four man advantages and he threw in Aucoin.
The best player of the night was Keith Aucoin who made a serious attempt at staying in the nation's capital throughout the playoffs. His hard working attitude was creating chances and giving the Thrashers fits. But the Thrashers came back and were clearly out working the Capitals at the end of the second period.
The Caps had a much better effort in the third period and it showed on the scoreboard as they scored four goals in the final frame. Laich had a three point afternoon with a goal and two assists. Ovechkin had some shooting problems all game long and he seemed resigned to setting up his team mates instead. He finished with two assists.
Nylander, who scored the game tying goal in the third, had an outstanding game. He seemed to be in perfect position and has amped up his game. Semin also played well and now has goals in his last two games. His goal came off of Aucoin turnover who passed it to Flash breaking through the slot, Flash dropped it for Semin who was going in the other direction and he backhanded the puck past the Thrahser goaltender.
Jose Theodore played well, but was beat on a couple of softies. One of the goals the Thrasher scored came giftwrapped on a bad clear from Theo. It looked like he wanted to score on the empty net, but he didn't get the puck up and it landed right on the tape of Vyecheslav Kozlov who buried it into the wide open net.
The Caps end their home schedule much better than they have been playing at home. They now have to finish their season on the road, facing the second home and home with Atlanta, then facing Tampa before their season ends in Florida. They have claimed second place in the East Conference for now.