The Capitals haven't seen the Atlanta Thrashers since Turkey Day, when Ovie had a fabulous hat trick outing. As HM said before, this is not a team to be taken lightly as the Thrasher's Ilya Kovalchuk (the peace ambassador who recently brokered the truce between Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin) has scored 9 times in his last 11 games.
A big plus for the Caps this evening is the return of another key player as big Viktor Kozlov returned from a groin injury. Baby-faced Michal Neuvirth got his second start in goal, saving Theo for the looming Bruins and Panthers this weekend. Every time HM sees young Neuvirth, he is sporting the wool fisherman's hat - always! Reminds me of the dude from Fat Albert - remember him? What was his name anyway?
Another big plus is that the Capitals are first in the Eastern Conference on the power play and third overall in the league on the PP. And the boys took advantage of their power play prowess early in this one! The first period saw a power play goal from Alex Semin. Mere minutes later, it looked like Mike Green was going to light the lamp, but Brooks Laich snuck it in as Thrasher's goalie Kari Lehtonen looked like he was headed out of the goal to go grab a brewski and a pretzel!
And I'm not sure that the refs weren't daydreaming about brewskis when they missed that blatent high-sticking call against Ovechkin. What in the sam-harry-hell was that ref? When Ovie retaliated in frustration, he was sent to the bin putting the blue men on a power play. Unfortunately for the boys in red, this resulted in a Kovalchuk goal that not even Clark Kent could have stopped.
Things got interesting in the second for sure. We haven't seen a good bout from "the Donald" in a while but this evening he had a nice long dance with the Thrasher's Eric Boulton. Boulton looked like all he really wanted to do was dance as he pretty much hung on to Brashear's jersey for the most part but Brash got in a few power-packed shots. Seriously, you must have a screw loose to want to take on that man in a brawl...but we Caps fans love him!
Atlanta tied it up in the second to Neuvirth's dismay. But thanks to the many Thrashers' penalties, Mike Green took the lead back with a rocket of a slap shot.
And Eric Fehr apparently didn't wear that hand out signing the hundreds of autographs at the Hockey & Heels Cocktail party last night as he scored on a wicked score in the third to double up the score 4 -2. And of course in hockey, the momentum can change in an instant and things got a bit scary when Atlanta's Todd White scored a short-handed goal to come within 1 goal with less than two minutes left in the game. But Neuvirth held on in the closing seconds to earn the win with a final score of 4- 3 Whewh! (HM wipes brow)...
HM couldn't be at the game tonight but Craig & Joe made a nice mention of the Cap's Club Scarlet; I saw there were lots of ladies in the house cheering on the Caps at the Phone Booth this evening. Speaking of Club Scarlet, there's been a lot of buzz (mostly positive) about the first female-only fan club in the NHL but I think that this blog post pretty much says it all.
If you haven't read this one -this is a fabulous piece by the Washington Post's Mike Wise spreading the Cap's love. Next up, the big bad Bruins at their house on Saturday...