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Thrashers 5, Caps 1

There really isn't much to remember from the Capitals' performance in Atlanta tonight. They were outworked by the Thrashers, who have now set a franchise record with six straight wins. Atlanta received a solid performance by goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who faced 50 shots and made a few spectacular saves at key junctures to make sure the Capitals could never really get involved.

How big of a setback is this loss? After winning two tough games on the road against Nashville and Philly after ending that four-game losing streak, was this game a fluke, or perhaps a sign of more significant consistency problems?

Tarik will have his regular post-game wrap-up shortly, so be sure to stay tuned. Thanks again to everyone who participated in our inaugural live chat. Be sure to let us know what you thought of the in-game chat in the comments.

By Katie Carrera  |  March 16, 2009; 9:40 PM ET
 
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Next: Boudreau: 'It Was a Lot of Effort Issues'

Comments

We're looking at another first round bounce

Posted by: cplcespod | March 16, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't even think we will even make the playoffs. The Caps are the worst team in the league... haha, idiots!

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

We couldn't even buy ourselves a win. Lehtonen was tremendous!!!!

Hopefully this loss will give them some firepower for tomorrow night's game.

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | March 16, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

We'll do fine; this will embarrass the guys and it definitely brings them down to Earth (I mean, ATLANTA? Holy friggin floppy fish man).

Also, although tonight wasn't Theo's fault, I remain convinced that he is inconsistent and he has lost a step in speed of reaction. I say leave Varly in for the rest of the regular season, and then keep him in during playoffs if he's doing good--that way, he gets real preparation, and if he fails, Theo will have some MAJOR motivation to succeed, somehow (as if, say, his career depended on it...)

I still love my Caps. Gotta get pricked with a few thorns to get to the roses.

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 16, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

We'll do fine; this will embarrass the guys and it definitely brings them down to Earth (I mean, ATLANTA? Holy friggin floppy fish man).

Also, although tonight wasn't Theo's fault, I remain convinced that he is inconsistent and he has lost a step in speed of reaction. I say leave Varly in for the rest of the regular season, and then keep him in during playoffs if he's doing good--that way, he gets real preparation, and if he fails, Theo will have some MAJOR motivation to succeed, somehow (as if, say, his career depended on it...)

I still love my Caps. Gotta get pricked with a few thorns to get to the roses.

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 16, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Could tell the Caps weren't interested in this game from the first minute. They must just not care about teams like Atlanta. I think the playoffs will be different.

Posted by: BigMogilny | March 16, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

It just always seems that goalies play unbelievably well against us, making every save, while ours can't keep us in a game by making some saves to bail out our stinky defense... as far as I know the goals scored were a little more on Theo than the D. It just kinda scares me, that we're capable of laying a stinker like this and playoffs are right around the corner. We need to stand in front of the net! I don't understand why there is NO ONE standing in front of the opposing goalie... on one standing in front makes it easy for any goalie. So what happens if a goalie is as hot as Lehtonen was tonight in the playoffs? Do we just say "oh well"? and hope the next game he isn't so hot? There has been so many games where we've shot like crazy and haven't got anything through.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 16, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

-The scoreboard says otherwise, but I don't think Caps played all that horrible. The difference maker was Lehtonen... And as I type this Caps score! WOOT, no shutout for Mr. Kari! XD
-The special units and the defense was the downfall tonight. Credit to Atlanta for playing as well as they did.
-All that said, the most important thing for me tonight, was seeing Potheir play. Yeah the lost sucks, but seeing Pothier out there and play as well as he did tonight, just gives me hope that he can perform the way he did before getting injured, and give this blueline a bit more depth.

Posted by: elicea | March 16, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

@Wutzthedeal - Great post.

I'd love to see Varlamov get more action. But I love how a few more folks take the doom and gloom. The team woke up too late but it came out and hit a few posts early too - those posts become goals - maybe it's a different result. Instead Atlanta got goals and the rest is history. Nice physical play by Ovie to try and get the team rolling again.

Defense - haha Tom Poti - i said it before and I'll say it again. When this team was banged up earlier in the season i.e. Poti and other regulars out of the lineup they were FAR BETTER defensively. MUCH MUCH better. If I were Boudreau I'd bench Poti tomorrow night if Green was well enough to be back in the lineup - send a message. He won't knock the guy off the puck on the first goal. It was sad. I think more changes are coming on the blue line even when the postseason gets here.

Oh well. I'm sitting 7 rows behind the Caps bench in Florida tomorrow night with my red Ovie jersey on. Here's to a better effort tomorrow night. LET'S GO CAPS. :)

Posted by: Jonathan6 | March 16, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

elicea: I guess you're getting it late... the game ended a while ago. ;)

Posted by: rachel216 | March 16, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

as far as I know the goals scored were a little more on Theo than the D. of course you do.
What happens if Theo gets hot in the playoffs? Are you saying that WILL NOT happen? I wish I could see the future.
Why do the Caps play better against playoff bound teams? Does that mean they are going to lay an egg in the playoffs? If the Caps are not going to go deep into the playoffs, what's the point of watching. If you already know the end result, what's the point?

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

So, every game this season, Theo has sucked and the d has been just as bad - am I understanding this correctly?

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

haha. No. I just kind of forgot to hit the submit button... XD

Posted by: elicea | March 16, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I said this before - as soon as Varly gets lit up, people will be calling for his head. Can't wait until the Caps become the perfect team... winning every single game... 82 shutouts and 16 more in the playoffs. When that happens, it's going to be sweet.

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

@ Tarik:

Regarding Pothier's eyes. I have had bad asygmatism in one eye, but still run around without glasses when chasing kids sometimes. I never get the symptoms that are described of Pothier. I have to believe that it is still related to his concussion.

How did Pothier do tonight?

Posted by: crooks_c | March 16, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

@ crooks_c

I thought Pothier played pretty well, considering he's been out for 14-15 months. Moved the puck pretty well, footwork was a little off and he seemed slow at times but I think that'll all work itself out as he gets more playing time..

Posted by: elicea | March 16, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Almost everything you post is sarcastic. Trying to say this nicely but stop being such a smart aleck.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 16, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

rachel216, I try to post reason's to support the team, however, that does not work. So, I have to point out what could be if the Caps were like what you and others want them to be. The Caps are what we have - that's it. Theo is the goalie, Varly may get a few starts from here on out, but that's it. I doubt Varly will even see any time in the playoffs. Theo is a good goalie and has proven that through out the season. But, when a game like this comes along, everyone seems to point fingers. And yet, when they do well, people seem to ignore that. So, it's like everything else in life... you don't hear about the good stuff that happens, people are always the first to jump on bad things that happen.
The Caps did not make it this far by just barely squeaking by... they have not played good teams well by just barely squeaking by. They are a young team and will make mistakes - that's the bottom line.

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

They are a young team and will make mistakes

Summarizes how I look at this team. Well said, 828.

Posted by: elicea | March 16, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

828-
I think Theo is a DECENT goalie but not a good goalie, hes a middle of the pack if that. Youre right hes all we have. The biggest 2 problems i see with Theo is his Vision in traffic and his recovery time is down right awful. Varlamov should be given a chance, he should def start in FL tomorow, team just seem to rally around him. I think it was wrong for Boudrau to throw Varly out there that late in the game. I say let Theo suffer and take that loss on his record, instead varlamov ended up getting it along with that awful GAA.

Posted by: madboost35 | March 16, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

If my dear grandmother were still living and if she were a hockey fan (both very unlikely scenarios), she would sum up this game very simply: "OY VEY"!!!

Posted by: stevehoffman | March 16, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

madboost35,
BB took Theo out to spark the team - basically saying "you have embarrassed Theo, now fight for yourselves." Theo is a small goalie but has the capability of playing extremely well and has shown those capabilities during the season. When he's hot, he is extremely good. Now,if BB let Theo suffer, how is that going to help in the future?
Varly has only played 2 1/3 games - lets hold off on saying he is the savior until he plays 40+ games in a season. I don't exactly see his GPA and record extrememly stellar down in the AHL. I guess I just believe in Theo... but again, what else can I do?

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Varly did not get the loss and his GAA for the night was just under 3.

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

We were down 3-0 or 4-0, can't remember which and the camera picked up a couple of members of our bench (OV and Kozlov?)smiling at something up on their jumbotron. That says to me they weren't taking it seriously. Well, we were.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | March 16, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Varly doesn't take the loss and the goals unless the game becomes tied while he's in.

4 Goals and the loss go on Theo's record/GAA.

1 goal in 5 shots or whatever it turned out to be goes on Varlamov's SV percent.

Posted by: threesilhouettes | March 16, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, how many more crappy games are we going to play against crappy teams before *someone* wakes up on that team? It's becoming a trend, not a fluke.

Posted by: alpca3877 | March 16, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't hang the loss on Theo, but damn if we had Lehtonen, how good could we be? Even when Theo is on, he's scrambling around his crease and making us nervous. Lehtonen is never out of position, he looks huge in the net, and he doesn't over-commit.

I'm still very scared about Theo in the postseason.

Posted by: donknutts | March 16, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

stevehoffman: That's funny -- when MY dear grandmother was alive we used to drag her to the Capital Center for games and I'm sure she would have summed-up the same way. OY VEY!

Posted by: uncatim | March 16, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

And a broken record...Schultz was terrible. In the first period he was like a pylon out there, it's like he gets stuck in his skates.

Time for a healthy scratch?

Posted by: donknutts | March 16, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

828
Yes yes BB took Theo out because he didnt want to embarass him or spark the team, Theo should be embarased along with #3. Theo let in some incredibly soft goals, one comes to mind is #4 any goalie should be able to stop that.
As far as varly getting scored on, well that is what happens when you face 6 shots damn near 1/2 of game. His #s arent stellar in AHL now, not to mention bears are playing like some "you know what" right now + he just coming off an injury. His numbers were top 10 before the injury and when the team was actually playing somewhat decent around him. Thanks for clearing up the GAA, still 2 GAA he still dosent deserve.

Posted by: madboost35 | March 16, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Let me point out Theos 3 worst atributes.
1.Vision in Traffic----horrid
2.Shot recovery----even worse
3.Rebound control----worserrrrrrrrrrr
Only reason theo has OK numbers is because the team would spend most of the time on offense.

Posted by: madboost35 | March 16, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

crooks_c, it depends on the severity of it, I think. My astigmatism had changed drastically between vision checks and trying to focus my eyes on things (the sidewalk, someone's face, my computer screen, or a textbook) made me dizzy. I don't think it was the motion itself that caused the dizziness, but the having to change focuses quickly.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 16, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

@madboost35

Have you watched any game from December up until tonight? Theo has put up all star type numbers during that span, get a clue. Varly will get a game or two before the end of the year and that is all he deserves. You don't just hand someone a job, they have to earn it....see Corey Price this year and the major mistake Montreal has made. You really want Varly to turn out like that?????

Posted by: ThePat | March 16, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

The 2+ GAA will be easy to make up. If you get one goal scored on you in a period, that is 3 GAA, the more you play, that number goes down. 2 periods with 1 goal against is a 2.00 GPA and then if the goalie has one goal against in 3 periods, that's a 1.00 GAA. Theo's GAA was probably somewhere under 8 (7.28 to be exact)

Varly should be #1 in the AHL if we expect him to make the difference now. Maybe Theo's numbers would have been better if the Caps weren't on the PK for the first 2 periods. Who knows - what's done is done... time to think about tomorrows game.

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course they were smiling at that point...Atlanta was SO LUCKY until then...the game could have eaasily have been the other way around....
The first Atlanta goal was scored on a turnaround that was a NO CALL on Atlanta...then they score...of a bounce off a skate...the Thrashers were very lucky tonight...if there was a fourth period the caps would have won...sometimes the players need to laugh and keep their morale going especially when Luck is SO onesided..this was one of the most wack lucky games...it goes along with that Minnesota 4-3 lost and that INCREDIBLY lucky 7-1 loss to Philly *AIDS*...We'll do fine...Congrats Atlanta have fun on your extra long summer vacation...the only one with talent on that team is Kovalchuk...Lehtonen was as lucky as a Million dollar lottery winner tonight...most of the shots he never even saw...they jjust happened to hit him...it's ok at least we didn't loose 8-0...GO CAPS...and please move Schultz down to Hershey until he steps it up...We have Pothier now

Posted by: masterx09 | March 16, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I've watched every Caps game this year, and my worries on Theo have nothing to do with numbers. He's getting wins, and yeah, he's made some clutch saves, but the simple fact is that his style of goaltending does not inspire confidence. I'm not saying stick Varly in now and make him the playoff starter, I'm just saying that every time we face a really competent goaltender (like Lehtonen tonight), it really exposes our comparative weakness between the pipes.

Posted by: donknutts | March 16, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Lemme guess, another "stinker" ?

Poti sure stunk up the joint tonight. And ovechkin and fehr were the only forwards even trying to crash the net and make things happen.

I don't think any team fears us in any way. We can beat a lot of teams but there's no real fear factor involved.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 16, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

How disappointing! I know other top teams lose to lesser teams but the Caps seem to be doing it consistently. It's come to the point that I can't guess what team I would like them to play against in the playoffs. Playing against the team with the least points seems as "iffy" as playing against the top team. March sucks so far.

ON THE OTHER HAND....... I checked the stats for the other 4 of the 5 top teams for this month, and it does not seem that the Caps are a spectacular anomaly. Two of the five (Detroit and the Devils have done better than us; but the other two (Boston & San Jose) are the same or worst off than us.

Devils: 5-1-0
Detroit: 5-1-1
San Jose: 3-3-1
Washington: 3-4-1
Boston 3-5-0

It seems that there is a disconnect between the gloom-and-doom scenarios of this group and the picture that emerges from these stats. Am I missing something?

Posted by: caraveli | March 16, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone better then Varly in the AHL???
Isn't Aucoin the top scorer??

Posted by: masterx09 | March 16, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

In sports, isn't wins the most important stat?

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't think any team fears us in any way. We can beat a lot of teams but there's no real fear factor involved.

Why do teams need to fear us? Isn't that where we want them... them thinking it will be a cake walk? As long as we have Ovechkin, I think there is always a chance to win the game and I think that is what teams fear the most... if they fear anything at all. The Caps play better when they are the underdog, wouldn't you agree?

Posted by: _828 | March 16, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, according to the NHL Playoff predictor, even if we bomb the next 11 games, we still have an 80% chance of getting into the playoffs. In fact, we only have to win 2 games to get in. I think we've got 2 wins in us, maybe. :-P
http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Southeast/Capitals.html

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 16, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I was at this game. Here are my comments:

1) Phillips Arena was empty.
2) There were a lot of (very quiet) Caps fans (including me).
3) We couldn't buy a goal tonight.
4) Ovie must have had 20 shots alone.
5) Pothier = Masterton

Posted by: CAP-lanta | March 16, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

@FloridaCaps Fan

I was there tonight and fyi - they were laughing at the now traditional last shot of kiss cam: two players on the opposing bench. They showed Ovie and Kozlov. The whole arena was cracking up, including Caps fans - it was the only fun moment of the night for rocking the red (so lighten up...)

Posted by: CAP-lanta | March 16, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm not even going to bother reading any of your posts before I even respond. Those of you who've decided to crap on our team while they're down, well down. You guys are an embarrassment. Quit acting like spoiled children. They lost. It is never more apparent to them than it is to us. Unfortunately, we can wake up tomorrow and only feel remotely crappy. Them? They gotta' wake up tomorrow, s*ck it up, and head off to another game. Once you're all done wallowing in your own self-pity, quit your whining and get it together to root them on against the Panthers.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 16, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

And the preacher shouted: SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT
So they did, but they

Posted by: opita1 | March 17, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

good post by LeftCoastCapsFan, we lost ,it gonna happen,anyone saying a team is lesser in the NHL is nuts! people act like the so called lesser teams play at the HS level, they are all good, what the hell does not seeing the puck well in traffic mean " is that like Jumbo Shrimp"? you cant stop what u cant see unless it hits you, cut the crap and stand behind our Boys,they deserve it, Theo is gonna be just fine, other teams are creating traffic and we need 2 do the same, just like Brucie said,We Need 2 Get Dirty get in their get some of the cheapie goals, we have all the tools to get the pretty ones but u need variety, can u imagine if we were getting all those chip ins and tap ins off rebounds plus all the pretty stuff, holy sh!*. thats history lets go 2 Florida on a mission!!!! LETS GO CAPS!!!!!

Posted by: TracyMD1 | March 17, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

As I've alluded to before, I don't give a jolly dam if Theo's numbers were absolutely perfect before 2009. He is unpredictable now and he is sitting down (he JUST started staying in net and not leaving constantly) and it takes him 10 seconds to recover. Somebody on here said you have to "earn," a position? So Theo's lost his edge, his game is worse than off, it's in a stock-market-graph-decline (that includes the occasional great game) and are gonna leave him in because he "earned," it? Mmmmmm. If I'm coach, I'm taking a hard look during practices and games and I'm putting in my top performer regardless of who has tenure or the experience edge. Will Theo fix himself? Maybe--the only thing I see that might help him is Varly playing lots... breathing right down his neck...

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 17, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

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