Capitals shutout for seventh time this season, fall 1-0 to Thrashers
The Capitals did everything they've emphasized in trying to spark their offense out of its midseason hibernation -- they crashed the net, got second chance shots, cycled, created movement in the offensive zone -- and yet they still couldn't find a way to put the puck in the net behind Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec in a 1-0 loss in Atlanta on Wednesday night.
It's the second time this year that Pavelec has shut out the Capitals and he's won each of his past three starts against them, stopping 110 of 111 shots in that span. Pavelec dismissed the idea that it's becoming easy for him to face Washington, though.
"If you look at their lineup, they have great players. I think it's just luck," said Pavelec, who made 36 saves Wednesday. "It's not about me. It's about the team. Every time Ovi and those guys step on the ice, we know where they are."
Where the Capitals were most of the contest though was in the Atlanta zone. There were quality scoring chances for Washington throughout the game and very few for the Thrashers. But one mistake by Jeff Schultz -- he didn't clear a bouncing puck out of the zone, which led to Nik Antropov's goal -- was all struggling Atlanta required to bust a three-game losing streak.
Despite the disappointment of falling to another Southeast Division foe heading into the four-day all-star break, Coach Bruce Boudreau stressed the lack of production against the Thrashers wasn't for lack of want or will from his team.
"When you can't score, you can't score," Boudreau said. "The one thing I can say tonight, it wasn't for a lack of effort, puck control or shots on goal or anything. Even our power play I thought was really good. [We] just can't score goals right now. It's very frustrating for the coaches. I'm sure it is for every player in there when you're trying so hard and you can't score goals.
"We've got a lot of guys playing right now that aren't used to scoring a lot of goals, the guys that are getting the great chances are guys that maybe should be scoring the goals, but they're not," Boudreau continued. "I don't have answers. I can't go out and score, they're trying their ass off but it's not going in. And their goalie played great, I'm tired of saying it, but it's a lot of what happened."
--It's hard to look at a power play that went 0 for 3 as a positive thing in a 1-0 game but for the Capitals, who are 9 for 88 with the man advantage in the last 27 games, having full two-minute stretches where they maintained possession and created quality scoring chances is at least a step in the right direction to getting the unit back on track.
They took seven shots on the power play and no moment seemed more likely for Washington to come back in Atlanta than their second man advantage of the game with Freddy Modin in the box for tripping. Somehow, though, Pavelec managed to stop the flurry of chances in and around the crease as he scrambled along the goal line.
--In his first start since Jan. 14 against Vancouver and first appearance since making 20 saves in a relief outing against the Flyers on Jan. 18, Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves but not many were extremely challenging stops for the young goaltender to make.
| January 27, 2011; 12:02 AM ET
Categories: Atlanta Thrashers, Bruce Boudreau
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