When you play the Washington Capitals there are two things that you need to do to enhance your chances of winning. One is to keep the NHL’s leading goal scorer Alex Ovechkin from adding to his total…now at 55…and the second is to stay out of the penalty box. This is especially true when your team’s penalty kill unit comes into the game ranked 29th in the league at 75.6%.
Tuesday night Atlanta did both…but it still wasn’t enough. Alex the Great was held scoreless…although he did help out with a pair of assists…and the Thrashers spent only 47 seconds of the game a man down. The Cap’s one and only power play was cut short by a Sergei Fedorov boarding call with 1:13 remaining on it.
The Caps took both games of the home-and-home series over the past few days…winning 6-4 Sunday and 4-2 Tuesday night. Both games were close entering the third periods…but Washington outscored Atlanta by a combined 5-1 in the last 20 minutes of the games. Recently the Thrashers have been enjoying the role of “spoiler”…but I guess Ovie & Co. just don’t spoil so easily.
Young Ondrej Pavelec made his first start for Atlanta since that forgetable outing against Pittsburgh in the middle of December. He came into the game with a saves percentage of .884 and a 3.55 GAA. After the performance, the first stat went lower and the second got higher, which is not what you wanna see. However, as coach John Anderson stated after the game, he seems to have gotten stronger as the game went on. Of the first ten shots he faced, three got past him. Conversely, only one of the next 16 did.
On the opposite end of the ice, young Simeon Varlamov moved his record to 4-0-1, improved his GAA to 2.37 and his saves percentage to .918. The Russian goalie, who will be 21 in the 27th of this month, performed very well for Washington, showing why the Caps chose him in the first round of the 2006 entery draft, (23rd overall).
The 4-2 loss dashed any hopes the Thrashers had of finishing the season with a winning record at home. They are now 17-20-2 with only the two more games remaining in Philips Arena. Sunday’s loss in Washington finished the road schedule for Atlanta with a record of 17-20-4.
And Now, Some Other Suff For You…
It’s not easy being green…but Philips Arena has become the first NHL or NBA arena to achieve LEED certification.
The son of one of Slapshot’s Hanson Brothers scored the first goal of his NHL careerTuesday night during Toronto’s 4-1 in New Jersey. Christian Hanson…son of Dave Hanson…lifted one past none other than Marty “The Magnificent” Brodeur at 15:56 of the first period.
Adam Proteau of The Hockey News writes that Ilya Kovalchuk is Atlanta’s MVP, (DUH5). But beyond that, Bryan Little is the Thrashers’ NMVP…NEXT MVP.
Among other would-be award winners…ESPN’s John Buccigross makes his casefor Evgeni Malkin for MVP.
Howard Berger remembers Quinn vs. Orr 40 years laterin this entry on Hockeybuzz.