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."
February 26, 2009; 11:16 PM ET
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