April 6, 2009

Thrashers Vs Capitals 04/05/2009 Review

Eric Fehr celebrates his third period goal with Brooks Laich.
April 5, 2009 photo by Alex Brandon / AP Photo.

Thrashers 4 - Capitals 6

In their final home game of the 2008-2009 NHL season, the Washington Capitals win combined both secondary and even strength scoring. With those features, so rare during the second half of the season, they defeated the Atlanta Thrashers and stay two points ahead (with 104 points) of the third place New Jersey Devils (102 points) in the Eastern Conference.

Tomas Fleischmann scored the first goal of the game early in the first period. Fleischman swatted down a bad clearing attempt by Atlanta's Nathan Oystrick, and sent the puck past netminder Johan Hedberg for his first ever goal against the Thrashers and his 18th of the season. Colby Armstrong answered back at 7:48 with his 20th goal of the season, getting one by goalie Jose Theodore, after Eric Fehr turned over the puck in the neutral zone.

Jim Slater put the Thrashers ahead at the beginning of the second period, while the Caps continued to play sluggishly, as they did for almost the entire first period. Just before the midpoint of the game though, they got a little boost when Keith Aucoin tipped in a cross ice pass from Alex Ovechkin, that went right through the crease to Aucoin for the back door goal. About six minutes later, Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk sent the puck over Theodore's glove side and into the net for his 42nd of the season, making the score 3-2.

By the start of the third period, Washington had gotten back into gear. They started heating it up, the red light, that is. Four of their six goals came in the final frame. The only wrinkle in the third was a clearing attempt blunder by Theo, less than a minute before the end of the game. The mistake resulted in Slava Kozlov netting the Thrashers' fourth and final goal.

The rest of the scoresheet for the third period was all Caps. Michael Nylander started the relentless assault, when he fired one in from the top of the left faceoff circle for his ninth goal of the season, and only his second at home. It was an astonishing sight, somewhat because he shot the puck toward the goal on purpose instead of passing. But the most shocking and wonderful thing to see was the rather enthusiastic celebration he exhibited right afterward. Eric Fehr battled hard to get the next one for Washington, thwarting a tripping attempt while making his way toward the net, and then getting knocked down immediately afterward. Alexander Semin put in his 31st of the season at 8:20. I can't help but wonder how many he could've had, if he were able to avoid injury this season. Brooks Laich scored the final goal of the game, with an empty netter 12.8 seconds before the final horn sounded.

The Thrashers looked like they had a good chance at taking one from the Capitals in the first half of the game, but by the third period, Washington had switched into domination mode. They really should try to play more like that for the whole 60 minutes. They can do it. I've seen it before. Focusing on what they're supposed to do, forechecking, backchecking, driving to the net, clearing the crease in front of their own goalie. They will face the Thrashers one more time, when they hit Atlanta on Tuesday.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...