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Caps Thrash Atlanta, 5-3

I know it was only one game, and it was against a weak opponent that played the previous night. But that was a pretty impressive performance for the Caps, especially considering all of the injuries and new faces in the lineup.

Speaking of injuries, the team might have suffered another one in tonight's 5-3 win over Atlanta. Details are sketchy but Caps defenseman Tom Poti missed the final eight minutes of the game, and was not on the bench (from my viewpoint, anyway). He was also spotted limping out of the building.

While we won't know for sure until tomorrow morning, it's something that certainly bears watching.

*Ovechkin's first hat trick since March gives him 24 points (10 goals and 14 asissts) in the past 11 games. He passed Alexander Semin for the team lead and is closing in on the league leaders. Slow start? What slow start?

*Backstrom's point streak ended at nine games. But he's the weird part: Ovechkin, his linemate, had four points. How is that possible?

*Fleischmann's point streak reached a career best three games (1 goal, 3 assists) after he helped set up one of the prettiest goals of the season. Eric Fehr finished a beautiful display of passing that began with Fehr dishing to Michael Nylander, who made a touch pass to Fleischmann, who sent a cross ice pass to Fehr.

*Karl Alzner was solid but not spectacular. He logged the second highest amount of ice time (21:06), behind only Ovechkin (21:32).

Alzner never looked out of place, and every time his name was announced over the public address, he received a warm welcome from the fans.

"It feels like I'm at home, and that's nice," Alzner said. "I know the fans always count on high picks to be impact players."

I asked Alzner to grade himself and he gave himself a "low B". I agree.

*Graham Mink, playing in his first NHL game since Dec. 9 2005, took four shots, three of them coming early in the first period. Chris Bourque logged three shots and Sami Lepisto, who played the point on the power play, set up Ovechkin's first goal.

"I think Karl and Sami moved the puck really well," Boudreau said. "It's what we wanted them to do. The forwards get the puck and consequently we get five goals."

*Boudreau singled out Viktor Kozlov for some praise after the game. He had a goal and two assists, including a breakaway that was set up by a heads-up pass through center ice from Ovechkin.

"He's the silent one on that [first] line," Boudreau said. "Kozy just goes about his business. But when he is on, he is a really a good player."

*Boudreau on the team's success at home (the Caps are 8-0-1): "The fans give us the advantage, that's one thing. ...We want to be a dominant team at home, we want teams to go, 'Uh-ho, we're coming into Washington. We want our building to be an intimidating factor."

*The Caps have scored a power play goal in eight straight games, their longest stretch since November 2006.

*The Caps have scored three goals in a period eight times this season, including in the opening period tonight.

*Jose Theodore was good early, and made some big saves when the game was still close. But after yielding three goals on 18 shots, his season stats didn't get a whole lot better. He's got a 3.24 save percentage and a .885 save percentage. In fact, he's given up three or more goals six times in his seven wins.

*The 18 shots yielded by the Caps were the fewest since giving up franchise low 10 vs. Vancouver last month.

*Another side effect of all the injuries: Ben Boudreau, one of Bruce's sons, signed a contract with the South Carolina Stingrays yesterday.

That's it for tonight. I'll check in from KCI tomorrow morning.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2008; 11:03 PM ET
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Tarik -

Can't tell if the public can attend practice tomorrow (Thurs) or not. Any insight on this?

Posted by: capsgrl | November 26, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

good for ben

Posted by: QuintenD | November 27, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

That's a great question. I'm pretty sure KCI is closed to the public tomorrow. But I wouldn't swear to it.


Posted by: el_bashir | November 27, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I can't take credit for unleash the Hershey, but I dig it!! :-)

Posted by: Boo- | November 27, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

From the KCI website:

Posted by: Boo- | November 27, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Okay, so if Poti is out and Green is still hurt, who's the next call-up for the weekend? The logical choice after a quick look at the Hershey roster would seem to be Godfrey, but do we have cap room without putting Poti on LTIR? If not, who with a minimal cap hit is up next?

Posted by: KurtNYC | November 27, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Alzner rated himself a low B? He had one good shift the entire game. A D+ is more like it. I thought Schultz was bad until I watched KA. I'll welcome Schultz back in and keep Lepisto

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 27, 2008 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Cstanton you are kidding right. The kid was very good out there. Solid performance for a kid that just turned 20 in his first NHL game. In three weeks he will be an impact player.

Posted by: terpcap6 | November 27, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Fehr continues to improve
Bourque was ok
Lepisto was better than KA
Where was mink?

Posted by: wendel2 | November 27, 2008 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Enough with the stupid. The King was solid and he is here to stay forever. Bank on that. Lepisto was mediocre at best.

Posted by: ThisGuy | November 27, 2008 2:32 AM | Report abuse

alzner -B
borque -C
Lepisto -D
Theodre- D


Posted by: ergoroc | November 27, 2008 6:38 AM | Report abuse


Pretty much spot on in your grading. I think that Morrison had his best game of the year. Flash & Fehr----B+ to A-

Posted by: sidehillman | November 27, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

After 1 game we are ready to predict the futures of 4 kids?

Apparently some people in here had several frontal lobe lobotomies.

Why don't we wait to see how they settle in? I'm happy we won, I thought the youngsters did fine under the spotlight. Mink was buzzing around the net early. Sami seems like he'll fit perfectly in our system. Alzner was quiet last night on the ice, but there was nothing wrong with that. Bourque looks like he can flat out play in the league.

Let them get past the first couple of game of the year without us casting doubts or high praise on them only to look like morons at a later date.

Posted by: JSchon | November 27, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

And E.Fehr is my boy.

Posted by: JSchon | November 27, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Commenting on & grading a performance is not equal to a prediction.

Posted by: sidehillman | November 27, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks sidehillman for that...

Have you read all the posts from the past couple of threads? Did I point anyone out?

I'm making a general statement to all.

Let the kids play and learn and hopefully flourish. I've been one of the idiots clamoring for the youth movement, but I'm not ready to crown anyone a STUD or a BUST, yet.

Posted by: JSchon | November 27, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

The silver lining to all these injuries is certainly the ice time that the youngsters are getting. Fehr has every opportunity to cement himself as a regular and eliminate the healthy scratch.

I wonder how long Clarke's "stress fracture" will take to heal????

Posted by: CBT2 | November 27, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse


I agree that there are too many wild & crazy comments on here that have no basis in fact.I guess all the nasty comments re Flash last year are a good example. Who knows, maybe all the similar comments re Schultz may be words to eat in the future.

Posted by: sidehillman | November 27, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Ouch - sorry for that typo on Clark's name. I spelled it the crappy flyer way.

Posted by: CBT2 | November 27, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

It was good seeing the Fehr line getting so many scoring opportunities. As BB said after the game, Fehr will be a playah! The Dmen, last night, were good at moving the puck out of the zone. And the energy the callups brought, was great. All in all, it was fun game to watch.

Posted by: Max23 | November 27, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse


Of course! And this surprises you...why?

I thought it was a good performance by them, but this was Atlanta. Not a, oh say, Montreal?

That Nylander-Flash-Fehr goal was sweet. That line seems to click lately. Fehr is really making it difficult to keep him off the ice.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 27, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

A call up for Poti will be difficult. The best Bear defender now is probably Godfrey, but he is young. That means a lot of inexperience against a very good Canadians. I'm hoping that Green can come back and Poti's injury is very slight.

Oskar Osala is the real deal in Hershey. That kid is going to be great for the Caps.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 27, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

New thread, boys!

Posted by: Boo- | November 27, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

@C2B2 - why are you putting stress fracture in quotes? The way Clark was playing, it's fairly obvious to me that he actually IS hurt, and casting doubt like that just makes it look like you're part of the big conspiracy theory crowd.

For the record, a stress fracture NORMALLY takes 4-8 weeks to heal properly, but a bad one could take up to 16 weeks, particularly if Clark continues to use it, so I'm glad he's stopped. The pain very likely got unbearable towards the end, there, which would explain why he was playing one-handed in his last game. He just could not hold the stick.

Posted by: irockthered | November 27, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I thought Mink looked great first two shifts then penalties altered rotation. Given time this guy will adjust to speed and score goals. He has at all levels.

Posted by: david85 | November 27, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

@ stanton

Huh? Did you actually watch Alzner? He is NOT Mike Green - he was drafted to be like (LIKE) a Rod Langway. Be in position, take the puck, give up the puck with a good pass, don't make mistakes in our end. That's what he did. He rarely turned it over and made good outlets most of the time. Sorry, but a D+ is ridiculous - a B is a good grade in any class. Happy Thanksgiving Caps Fans!

Posted by: Roose | November 27, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

I must have watched a different game then you did. I think Alzner was solid, good position for the most part, good poke checking.No bad at all.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 27, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Some of the grading on here proves some of the points I've made earlier this week. Some people have switched to hockey from football like 6 months ago and actually think they know what they're talking about. D for Alzner or Lepisto = ridiculous.

Back to reality. They all did well. I would like to see Mink get more ice time and with better offensive players. I thought he looked awesome in his first shift. Hit the post and got both backhands from in close up, which shows a scorer's hands. People who wonder where he disappeared should check the box score. He got less than 10 minutes of ice time, the least of anyone on the team.

Posted by: ranndino | November 27, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

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