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Caps 4, Thrashers 3

The Capitals overwhelmed the Thrashers the way you would expect them to smother a team at 29th place in the NHL. The score was closer than the actual game was, especially when you consider that Atlanta recorded just 11 shots the rest of the game after the Thrashers' Rich Peverley scored at 3:56 of the second period.

*The power play continued it's hot streak going 3-for-8 and is now 6-for-18 in the past three games. Despite the three extra-strength goals, the Caps (24.2 percent) couldn't edge past San Jose (24.3 percent, 2 of 4 tonight against Ottawa) to boast the second-best unit in the league. Detroit has the top unit at 27.8 percent.

"I thought we were really good early" on the power play, Bruce Boudreau said. "We get cute. 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."

*All in all though the Caps played a much more disciplined game than they did in the past two games when they were called for a combined 16 penalties. Their skill advantage and puck posession forced Atlanta to take repeated obstruction penalties.

"If we continue to work teams down low we should be able to draw some hookings and some holdings," Eric Fehr said. "We've got some really quick forwards down low and I think that's going to be key for us going down the stretch, just to make sure we can punish the other team's D."

On to the rest of tonight's notes and quotes...

*Mike Green scored his league leading 16th power play goal to tie the franchise record for the most extra-strength goals by a defenseman, which was set by Scott Stevens in 1984-85. He passed Buffalo's Tomas Vanek with the goal to claimed sole possession of the NHL lead, and recoded his 17th multiple-point game of the season to pass his mark of 16 last season.

"We're just moving it simple," Green said of the power play. "When we shoot pucks things usually open up. I thought tonight we made very smart plays. When we play our system and don't try to do it ourselves we're successful."

*As you may have noticed there were long stretches in this game when Michal Neuvirth didn't exactly have a lot to do...for example that second period when the Thrashers had all of four shots in the final 16:04 of the frame.

"That was kind of a different story than the first game in Tampa," Neuvirth said. T"he first game there was a lot of shots, lot of stuff to do. This game there just was like no shots at all. We played pretty good and just offense whole time...There were tough saves, 2 on 1s and breakaways though. So I'm glad we won."

*What was apparent early on though was that Neuvirth wasn't giving up a lot of rebounds in just his second NHL start, and his teammates appreciated it.

"As a D-man when your goalie is covering them up it makes it that much easier because you don't have to worry about guys coming and banging one in," Green said. "What's great about him is he's so calm for a young guy. Most young guys are really tense. With him he's really calm and I think that's why he's going to be very good when he gets older."

*Boudreau, who was pleased overall with Neuvirth's performance, said that Jose Theodore will start against Boston Saturday afternoon.

*Nicklas Backstrom extended his point streak to eight games, the longest current streak in the league. He has 11 points, (3G, 8A) during that stretch.

*With his three points tonight, Alexander Semin now has 17 points (8G, 9A) in 18 career games against Atlanta.

*Eric Fehr now has seven goals and 12 points in his last 13 games. It was his second game-winning goal of the season.

*The Caps recorded 40 shots for the eighth time this season. They are 4-4-0 when they eclipse the 40-shot mark.

*With his assist tonight Alex Ovechkin secured his fourth-straight point-per-game season. He has 75 points in his last 51 games for 1.47 per game (42G, 33A). Tonight's closing comments go to Boudreau, who was asked if he was worried about Ovechkin when the star started a scrum in the first period after he was high-sticked.

"I was nervous for the other guy," Boudreau said. "As a player to get high sticked like that and no body sees it, which is pretty amazing in itself, that sometimes if they're not going to call it you take it into your own hands. I thought he had a moment there that he lost it and then he calmed down.....I hate to bring up comic books, but he's like the Hulk. The madder he gets, the more energy he's got and everybody else watch out."

By Katie Carrera  |  February 26, 2009; 11:16 PM ET
 
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Next: McPhee on a possible Pothier return: 'I wouldn't rule it out'

Comments

great win by all of the caps tonight

Posted by: capsfan8 | February 26, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: ludeman95 | February 26, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Ovie: you wont like me when im angry!

Posted by: DER27 | February 26, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

The folks on the Caps board are saying that Boudreau stated in his postgame interview that Neuvirth is starting Saturday. Do we have any real confirmation one way or the other (recognizing that a statement one way or the other plus $2.159 will buy a gallon of gas).

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 26, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

@1995who


read the quotes...boudreau said it himself

Posted by: capsfan8 | February 26, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

"read the quotes...boudreau said it himself"

If you read what I posted, the folks over on the Caps' boards were saying that Boudreau had said otherwise. Now apparently they're saying that someone misquoted Boudreau's answer.

Either way, my latter point remains valid--until he submits the lineup, anything can change. It would take cojones grandes to throw Neuvirth out there on Saturday, though!

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 26, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Neuvy is very talented but Varly is much better and I hope they bring him back. Neuvy was good at the rebounds but he was not that challenged tonight and let in 3 goals. Don't get me wrong. He is very good but seems a little young and nervous for this level to me. I would feel much more confident with Varly in the playoffs.

Posted by: caraveli | February 26, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe the Pens traded away Whitney -- he was very good in the playoffs last year and I think a guy that brought up through their system. That kinda loyalty will hurt the lockerroom -- like trading away a hometown hero, Malone.

With how good Boston, Philly, and New Jersey are looking, time for the Caps to get some veteran defensive help and a gritty winger for the garbage goals and screening the goalie

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 26, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Boo, Yeah, I was talking about the game. It didn't really stand out in my mind as "wow! now that was a game!" I guess as Tarik said, the score makes it sound a lot closer than it was. Is this the opposite of the trap? Just don't let them get past their own blue line?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 26, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Depends on how Varly recovers from another knee injury. The kid has great reflexs and instincts, but he is not as technically sound as Neuvy. It's a good predicament for the Caps future -- too good, young goalies.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 26, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

From previous posts (like 2 ago)

reading comprehension.

no one here ever tried to say laraque was better than brashear in any way. the other two "arguments" you are assessing come straight from wendel, so "they're" not reaching since it's only one guy.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 26, 2009 5:56 PM

Amazingly, richmondphil, the world doesn't revolve around you and wendel. There are others, quite a few others, that have complained about Brashear. I thought I'd cover several bases with one post.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 26, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

amazingly greg s, no one was talking about laraque except me. I clearly stated that laraque aint no brashear.

then you tried to say someone made the argument that laraque is better? well that is just horrible reading comprehension.

im not an idiot, i know you were directing that at me. but carry on, calling out people by putting words in their mouths seems to be your calling card.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 26, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Not a great night tonight with the Devils and Bruins winning strong. I think the Caps have to take their game on a completely different level from now on. I wish we could have the 6-0 and 4-0 differential that Boston and the Devils had.

Posted by: caraveli | February 27, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

1995hoo:
Tarik will have to clarify that one. Just watched the post-game interview and Tarik is asking BB a question. It sounds like, "As well as Michael played ... this weekend ... ?" (That's all I could hear.) BB responds, "He'll get Saturday." I can't tell if Tarik mentioned Jose in there or not. If he did, then BB must be talking about Jose getting the start (but since you can only hear TEB say Michael at first, people must be assuming that is who BB is referring to). Regardless, if Tarik posted Jose above, then I would think that's what BB said. Check it out for yourself at www.nhl.tv.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 27, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

man, how good is Nick Backstrom gonna be in a few years? Wow. Mindblowing.

Posted by: brooklyncapsfan | February 27, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Well count me in as one who would love to see Pronger here. If anybody here doesn't want him here you obviously haven't seen this guy play much and especially in the playoffs. He is a winner and he has the hardware to prove it. I've read many times on this site that people are complaining that we don't clear anybody out of the crease, Pronger would solve that problem. He would solve a lot of problems as well as our PK which I believe to be the biggest problem. If our PK isn't fixed by the trade deadline then you can dream of getting out of the Eastern Conference but that's all it will be is a dream. I don't know the last time a team went to the finals when their PK was in the bottom 5 of the league.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 27, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

@brooklyncapsfan

How good is Nick Backstrom now?? :)

Posted by: Matt_L | February 27, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

How quickly some things change. A year ago us Caps fans were just happy to win. Now we have posts saying we need to win by a larger margin.
A year ago the Caps were looking for a player to help them make the playoffs, this season they are looking for one to take them to the Cup.
Last season John Erskine was slow and oh, right some things dont change!

Pronger would be great here as long as the cost for him isnt too high (He isnt worth selling the farm).

Posted by: OustedSoul | February 27, 2009 3:17 AM | Report abuse

Nick Backstrom is the highest scoring swede in the NHL right now, consider that!

Posted by: Ovechwin | February 27, 2009 5:41 AM | Report abuse

lets hope that McPhee can land Pronger. What a coup that would be.
Our PK stinks and will be ouor doom. We cant kill them off and take too many penalties

Posted by: phrdlick | February 27, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

It was a win and I'll take it, but there needs to be a little more "killer instinct" in this team. Three times they had a power play while up 2 goals, and they wen't 0-for-3 and allowed a shortie make it a 1 goal game.... If they had converted on either of the two PPs in the 3rd when they were up 2, the Thrashers would have given up, instead they got some life...

Neuvirth didn't have much to do last night, and he sure didn't do much. He was 21-24 for a .875 save pct. Not very good, but as with all back up goalies, the job is to not lose the game, not necessarily win the game.

About 1/2 of the Thrashers have pretty much given up for the season, since about 1/2 of them will be playing elsewhere next week. I hope one of them is their goalie Kari Lehtonen... he was playing hard for them and he deserves better than this sorry Atlanta organization...

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | February 27, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Pronger...we don't need the guy. Maybe I am basing my judgement on principle, but I would like to see GMGM let the trade deadline pass without making any moves. The boys in DC have had a great season (with a little help from Hershey). They have earned the right to carry the team into the playoffs. Keep the chemistry in tact and I'd be willing to bet we'll see them rise to the challenge. Pronger is a DUCK. Granted, he can play, but who's to say he won't be a bust like when we picked up Jagr. It takes more than a trade to earn the right to wear a Caps sweater in the playoffs - you work your tail off in the regular season.

Posted by: gonchpup | February 27, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

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