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Capitals 6, Thrashers 4

Eric Fehr scored 5:04 into the third period to help lift the Caps to a 6-4 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers in their final home game of the regular season.

Alexander Semin sealed the win on a nice pass from Tomas Fleischmann, and the Caps cruised from that point on.

Washington had no shortage of that often-elusive secondary scoring today, as call-up Keith Aucoin, Michael Nylander, Fleischmann and Brooks Laich (empty-netter for his 20th of the season) also tallied for the Caps. And then there's this little stat: Every Capital who scored also had an assist.

Tarik will have more a bit later on today. Until then, tell us what you think:

If you answered "yes," whose spot would Aucoin take?

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 5, 2009; 5:31 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Today's Lineup: Thrashers at Caps (Updated)
Next: Aucoin a Keeper?


anyone else excited to see brooksie get to 20 goals AND 50 points today? :)

Posted by: kellobellow | April 5, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Not as excited as I am to see Ovie get his second 50+/50+ season.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 5, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Panthers Ballard just over ended Malkin with a hip check and then Crosby went after him and Ballard kicked his butt in a fight


Posted by: CTCapsPhan | April 5, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

and get 2 pts closer to malkin!

Posted by: kellobellow | April 5, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Aucoin is the same size as me! ;) He's so tiny. :D

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope Geno gets zero points today against the Panthers! Ovie can definitely catch him!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

kieth is really making an argument for being kept up in the playoffs. so much for not being able to bridge the gap between the ahl & nhl.

Posted by: am_jim | April 5, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I love Hockey!!!!!!! :D and I love Aucoin!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Well if Alexandre Giroux could score 50+ goals in the AHL, why isn't he up here?!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I voted yes and he should take Nyls place.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | April 5, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Aucoin for Nylander - No brainer.

Posted by: thefingernator | April 5, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Keith Aucoin fights for every puck and is productive. So hes for the stay come PO.

Good game today with some lazy plays and an attempt from Theo to score an empty netter that lead to a goal from Slava Kozlov.
Nylander was awesome today defensively and offensively.

Posted by: Hazz | April 5, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Nyles played a fine game today. He went to goal a few times, chose to shoot instead of pass, and had a goal and an assist. I'd be glad to see him stay on it.

Aucoin was fine as well -- he's done a great job these games and I love to see him play. During the post-game ceremonies the fans gave him quite the ovation.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 5, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Theo was definitely thinking to score a goal. Maybe if he could have lifted it, but it's tough wielding that big stick. Bad judgment.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 5, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Quick question brainiacs.

If Ovie finishs level with Malkin on points at the season, who gets the Ross?

Is there a tiebreaker like the player with the most goals or the player who played less games, because Ovie wins on both those counts. Or do they just share it?

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | April 5, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Nylander actually did play well today, that line was great tying it up and getting us the lead early in the 3rd. But I do think Aucoin should be up here for the playoffs, he's got grit hahaha.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 5, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Flash-Nylander-Fehr. So much for "third line fail" "ugh" eh?

Posted by: BigMogilny | April 5, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

FLA 3-1 up on PIT with 20 to go. Malkin without a point as yet.

If the Pens lose tonight and Montreal win tomorrow the Pens drop to 7th......

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | April 5, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Aucoin should stay.

Well ... if Aucoin's a center ... and Nylander is a center ...

I guess he could take Steckel's spot in the lineup too.

Posted by: Cerealman | April 5, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

What's the word on the forgotten Karl Alzner?

Do we think he'll be one of the starting six come playoff time?

Posted by: Cerealman | April 5, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Aucoin stays and takes Brashear's spot.

Posted by: capsfan01 | April 5, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse


The NHL rules stipulate three tiebreakers in case two or more players are tied in points:

1. Player with most goals
2. Player with fewer games played
3. Player scoring first goal of the season

Number 3 is stupid

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Cheers Rachel,

So Ovi only need finish level with Malkin to win the Ross.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | April 5, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

If you answered "yes," whose spot would Aucoin take?

Brash.....he doesn't want to fight anyway

Posted by: toymechanic | April 5, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Yep Aucoin should take Brash's or Gordon's place

Posted by: Hazz | April 5, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I really hope Ovie goes crazy the last three games and collects a lot of points.

Remember when a Pens fan came on here and said getting assists were harder than scoring goals?! Then why is there no tiebreaker for "most assists?" Dumb Pens fan.
Anyway, I really hope Ovie can pull this off. If anyone could do this, it'd be Ovie.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Steckel stays. We need him to win faceoffs. We also him to throw that big body around. I can't sitting that kind of role player--especially for the playoffs.

If Boyd can return for the playoffs, he will take over that 4th line center spot. Despite his good play, our favorite "rookie" Aucoin might very well be the odd man out.

Posted by: Terptwin | April 5, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Anyone listening to Pierre McGuire on Caps radio? Steve Ray just asked him if he thinks the Caps can win with their defense.. he says our defense is not our problem, it's the goaltending... he said "the defense it not the problem, the goaltending is inconsistent."

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, getting an assist is harder than scoring a goal. Five guys on the ice, one guy scores, half of the other guys can get an assist. That must be soooo difficult.

What can you expect from a Pens' fan when the Pens' top two scorers have moree assists than goals.

Posted by: rw-c | April 5, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from the game. Really exciting to see such dramatic come-back from sleep-walking to playing like the explosive team the Caps have become. But the first 37 minutes were really AWFUL. The Caps couldn't even hold on to the puck during power plays. I think it was at the third goal against that Green stood by Theo just staring at the puck as it went in. It was Nyl's goal that changed the dynamics. Here are my main observations:

--Ha ha! What do the Nyls haters have to say after his performance today?
-- Keith Aucoin rocks. He would have had two goals if one had not been disallowed. Anyone can tell me why this goal was disallowed? I saw it go in very clearly.
--Ovie had a lot of misses today--either turn overs or net misses. Not sure why. Still, he is only 2 points away from Malkin
--Theo, once again, mediocre--competent but not stellar, play-off type. You can justify everyone of his goals (except the last one) but in the end he let in 4 goals on 24 shots.

Posted by: caraveli | April 5, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, I agree. Aucoin should take Brash's place. He could also take Gordon's place and I would even trade Bradley for Aucoin.

Posted by: caraveli | April 5, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Nyls scored a PRETTY goal today, But it doesn't make up for his terrible season.
Aucoin for Nylander, think of all the money we'd save

Posted by: masterx09 | April 5, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Backie for MVP

Posted by: BigMogilny | April 5, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Rachel: I agree: "the defense it not the problem, the goaltending is inconsistent." Goaltending may be consistent at 83-85% but not at 90+ percent, which is what we need. But what can you do? They missed their chance during trade deadline.

Posted by: caraveli | April 5, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Go Thomas Vokoun! Keep Geno off the scoreboard!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Needing to score 5 or more to win is going to bite the Caps in their collective a$$es come the playoffs. I love the wins, but Caps need to tighten up -- giving up too many goals. One goal-tender needs to stand up and play like a playoff calibre goalie. They also have to stop the cutsie passes on clears that are costing them goals

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | April 5, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

5 points is the magic nubmer for #2 seed.

Fla up 3-2 on Pens if Fla wins they'd be level with the Rangers. Would be nuts to have 3 Southeast teams in the playoffs.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 5, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Caraveli: Well, I didn't really say that, Pierre McGuire said that. I think our defense is a big problem. I think Theo is inconsistent, he can be really good sometimes and then all of a sudden he can be really bad. But in NO WAY is Theo the entire problem, as Pierre Mcguire insisted, it is both the defense and Theo.

Whatever.. why the heck am I even listening to what Pierre McGuire has to say? Wasn't he the one who said it was 50% Caps fans and 50% Flyers fans last year during the playoffs? :/

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

@ caraveli

That other one from Aucoin clearly hit the post and bounced back. Replays were incredibly clear about that

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | April 5, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Phew! I just saw the score change to 3-2 Panthers! Thank God, Geno didn't register a point!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

@ dave

Rangers still hold the tie break with more wins

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | April 5, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Besides the obvious puck-handling gaffe late in this one I don't think Theo could be blamed for much today. Maybe the 3rd goal having it go off his body but it was Kovalchuk who's been absolutely on fire lately. That's not an excuse but we didn't help him out much today. We'll see how he does down the stretch.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 5, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Fla up 4-2...that's a dagger to the Rangers.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 5, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Sure they hold the tiebreaker...but they've looked shaky the last 2 games getting spotty production. Henrik might be enough to sneak them in but if Fla gets on a run they could grab it. What if we have the #2 seed locked up by that last game of the season? Might rest some guys that would favor Fla.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 5, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I would keep the lineup just the way it was today. Re: Pierre McGuire, I've never been that impressed with his "insights".

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 5, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Fla wins 4-2

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 5, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Aucoin over Brashear. There's no fighting in the playoffs, so Brash's main purpose is moot. He doesn't skate well, can't shoot and can't pass.

Posted by: capsfansteve | April 5, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Id say Brash, but i think we would need toughness against the Pens and Rangers

Posted by: arcassells | April 5, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Montreal has a game in hand on Pitt now...we might end up with Pitt at #7. I personally would love to see that series.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 5, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Malkin: Zero points today! :D

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Yes, thats why we need 5 points for second.

NJ currently can get to 108 max if they win their remaining 3 games.5 more points gets us to 109 and makes us uncatchable.

Malkin held without a point as FLA wins 4-2. Ovi within 2 points with 3 games each to play.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | April 5, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Misread your post! Thought you said NJ holds the tiebreak over us as they have more wins - sorry for any confusion - its late I'm off to bed!!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | April 5, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

With NJ's schedule, I do not think we will have #2 locked up. I think it will come down to the end of the season. It will take us winning the next two and NJ losing one of the next two. Their schedule is pretty easy. Home against Toronto and at Ottawa. They end Saturday at home against Carolina

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | April 5, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I think Aucoin has cracked the lineup. However, who sits is really dependent on who we play in the first round. If we get someone tough like the Flyers or Pitt - I think Aucoin sits the first round because we'll need Brash's toughness. If we get Florida, Carolina, or even the Rangers at this point - I think Brash sits for Aucoin.

Aucion shouldn't replace Nyles. Nylander has a ton of playoff experience and I think he'll be golden for us in the puck possession low scoring type games the playoffs are sure to bring. I also wouldn't mind an experiment with Aucion, Nylander, and Flash (or Fehr) on a third line.

Last comment of the post - Poti needs to step it up. He was just awful today. Schultz outplayed him...thats how bad he was.

Posted by: patrone | April 5, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd take Aucoin for Kozlov in the lineup at this point. He's been a total stiff since the all-star break and he was invisible in the playoffs last year.

Posted by: BurningBeard | April 5, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have a link to the Malkin hit and the Cindy Crosby fight? I would love to see the kid get a whippin'.

Posted by: crooks_c | April 5, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

crooks_c: Crysby really got into a fight? I think Malkin got hit and he stood up for him. Maybe that's a great way for Cindy to earn the respect of his teammates! At least he did something courageous for once. I would like to see that, but I can't find it, maybe cause the game ended just a while ago.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

crooks_c: Never mind, I found it. Here is the link:

Posted by: rachel216 | April 5, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

If I remember right, during one of the NBC games earlier this season, McGuire said Washington was his favorite place to come do a game.

Nylander: Great shot. That's what we need more of from him. What we don't need is when he is alone on the goalie, with position on his defender, 5 feet from the net, passing to someone who is 20 feet from the net. That said, Nylander may well be the kind of person in the room that a playoff team needs. His experience can't be undervalued.

The last two games the team has been incredibly lazy defensively, and it's not just the defenders. Such play will result in a first-round elimination if it continues, and it matters not who they play. It's all about work rate, however, so it can be picked up. The Caps just have to do so.

It was fun beating Hedberg.

Posted by: writered21 | April 5, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the link. Very sorry that Cindy comported himself well there. That fight is just the kind of retaliatory fight that some people are trying to do away with.

That was a SICK hit on Malkin. I hope that Hart voters remember that when considering Ovie vs. Geno. Ovie lays out hits like that; Malkin absorbs them.

Thanks to all the posters that commented on the game. I missed it all between the kids swimming and yard work. We need more 7:00 games so kids are in bed after the first period.

Posted by: crooks_c | April 5, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Crosby turtles while standing up, gets knocked in the head several times before bowing out of the fight by throwing himself to the ground... what a joke. He also got an unsportsmanlike penalty for keeping his visor on. That hit on Malkin was insane!

Posted by: CapitalIdea | April 5, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Having grown up in Nebraska - in the days of the triple option in Lincoln vs. the wishbone in Oklahoma - I finally put it all together while sitting at Verizon today. The Caps are essentially the hockey equivalent of the wishbone: high risk, high reward. Mike Green may be the poster child for it. Now that I've sorted it all out in my head, I'm much more at ease. We know the Caps can win some slugout 2-1 games - we saw it last month - and we know they'll be in some 5-4 games come the playoffs. Risk. Reward.

I'm ready.

Posted by: saintex | April 5, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Tarik: Does Alzner move back into the top six D for the playoffs? As I recall, he did very well before being sent down to stave off restricted free agency an extra season.

Lindsay: please post a poll to get posters opinion on whether Alzner should be a playoff defenseman for the Caps. The wisdom of crowds should give a good idea if Alzner is better than the other top six (seven) d-men we have. As I recall, he was a real steady defenseman, better than some of our current guys, but not too physical.

Posted by: crooks_c | April 5, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

That hit from Ballard on Malkin was 100% clean, but the allmighty "Captain" desided to punish Ballard by grabbing and pulling his shirt down... no real fight there.

Posted by: Hazz | April 5, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Very exciting game! I was there! The jinx for me attending games has been broken. (I had watched several wins in a row, then the loss to Columbus, then a win vs Detroit, and after that, it was all losses -- until now. I was there for our division clinching OT loss against Buffalo where all sorts of obnoxious Buffalo fans were there.)

The team's track record with me watching in person was getting so bad, I was wondering if I should get rid of my playoff tickets. Admittedly, I can't make a lot of the first round since we're using spring break to visit colleges.

But, woo hoo, we win with me there.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 5, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

While Ovi didn't have his best day, he did chip in an assist. I discovered that neither Crosby nor Malkin scored at all. No goals. No assists. Nada! So Ovi gained ground in the overall points race.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 5, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I haven't officially voted but I say AuCoin has earned his way to a regular slot. He has moved up to the second line for even strength. And, in a true sign that you're on Boudreau's A team, he's now on the main power play unit, along with Ovi, Semin, Backstrom, and Green.

There was some foreshadowing at yesterday's practice. When Fed went out, Aucoin centered the first line for most of practice.

I'd say, he should replace Brashear. It seems that Brashear, while he had been a good citizen for us, for the most part, has outlived his usefulness. He now gets injured in most of his fights. (See Philadelphia in Dec and Tennesse in March.) Of course, if we play Philthy in the playoffs, then some other person can sit instead of Brash.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 5, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm also very excited about seeing Brooksie get to 20 goals and 50 points, especially after the refs took away his goal in the Tampa Bay game after Nylander's incidential contact with the goalie. His emptynetter goal was scored right in front of me at the game.

Aucoin deserves a spot on the team in the playoffs - he has earned it. Sit Nylander even though he had a good game today.

Glad to see Fleischmann and Fehr contribute with some secondary scoring. They were due with their consistent effort in games.

Posted by: theresa21 | April 5, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Fans on the Red Line beware - there was a Metrorail police officer telling fans if they rang cowbells and shouted "Let's go Caps," he would arrest them. "You're in DC and we don't do that here," he told me. When another fan questioned him the cop said "do you want me to arrest you in front of your son?" Good to see that Metro has team spirit along with all of their other customer-pleasing attributes.

Posted by: bmcclos325 | April 5, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Nyls went to goal a few times today, even when he had a pass option.

Schulz played another good game -- second in a row. He had one errant pass that I saw, but that was a lot fewer than did Fedorov, Kozlov, and Ovi (who had one giveaway lead to a goal against).

Ovi was hungry, but haven't seen him whiff like that since the beginning of the playoffs last year.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 5, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Definitely think Aucoin should take Brash's spot. Our boys have proven that they are tough enough to do w/o, even when playing teams like the Pens and Flyers.

Posted by: capsfan01 | April 5, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Thoughts on today's game:

Nice to see the team wake up but this kind of start slow/finish fast effort won't cut it during playoff time. This team needs to be better out of the gate. With this kind of talent - it shouldn't have to take the coach lighting a fire under your ass at the intermission to get going.

Before anyone jumps on me for this one - Feds rocket under the crossbar against BUF was nice but he made that pass in OT to lose that game. Then today - anytime he touched the puck - he was either too cute or he was not smart with it. I don't know if he's just bored and wants the playoffs to get here - but I wouldn't mind seeing him take a seat for a game just to get back his focus.

After today's effort - I'm all for him being on board with the team. Yes it may depend on who the opponent his with the physicality factor. Living in Southwest Florida - I get to see a lot of Florida Everblades games. The Blades are Carolina's ECHL affiliate and Aucoin played here for a while and he, along with Chad LaRose, have a nose for the puck and that speed - they create opportunities. you saw what he can. Plus you all see where LaRose is now - playing with the Canes. Bottomline - Aucoin has to be on this team. I think there's something brewing with him centering Flash and Semin. I liked that combo. I hope he keeps them together these next couple of games on the road.

I hate to say it but there are a few faces that despite playing a lot this year might see their time go away with guys like Aucoin stepping up. Still a lot of decisions to be made. Thank goodness the salary cap doesn't apply for the PO's.

In conclusion - Oh Theodore please no clearing attempts like that come playoff time. On to Atlanta and the road to finish the regular season.

Ice Breakers Goal Shakers.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | April 5, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

In addition to a goal and an assist, I thought Nyls made some crucial defensive moves today, re-directing Atlanta passes and blocking shots.

I also noticed Feds being somewhat off today--not playing very smart.

I wonder what Cindy Crosby looked like in the fight? Did anyone watch it? Is he trying to prove he is as tough as Ovi?

Posted by: caraveli | April 5, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

To answer the question - who does Aucoin replace in the line up if he's kept -- I'd say do on Offense what BB's been doing on D -- rotate, based on game performance. Nyls had a good 3rd period against Atlanta, but Mr. Spinorama has also been Mr. Giveaway in recent games. He's my first pick to sit. Or, just keep Brash on the bench until the Philly or Pens series, when we need a little more toughness.

Posted by: bucknelldad | April 6, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

He hasn't earned it yet, but until someone gets healthy up front (Brash, Clark, etc.) he's in there.

Kozlov is slowly playing himself out of the line-up...he may be injured and not telling anyone.

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | April 6, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Brashear - I love Brash but he doesn't provide any offensive support at all. If secondary scoring is a problem then you don't remove secondary scoring for a guy who has less than 10 points for the year. Use him if things get rough, but otherwise the team can handle itself just fine without our enforcer in the lineup. Keeper!

Posted by: Roose | April 6, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Aucoin should replace Brashear in the lineup. Although Brashear is perhaps the best fighter in the league, fighting is less common in the Playoffs (thankfully) and the Caps are plenty tough without him. I'd take scoring potential and defense and energy over the ability to win a mid-game fighting exhibition any day.

Posted by: thereds | April 6, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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