The Caps probably outplayed the Thrashers a bit more than a 4-3 final would indicate, but yielding a couple of breakaways in a night full of offensive zone domination will do that. Here are few notes and quotes in the aftermath:
* Washington’s power play went 3-for-8, and looked pretty sharp for much of the night. For the second consecutive game, the Caps forced a lot of penalties and allowed their dangerous power play to flex its collective muscle.
“When we’re getting our power plays, it’s from working hard down low and causing the other team to make mistakes,” Mike Green said. “I mean, if we’re not working hard then we’re not getting the power plays and we’re not gaining momentum and we’re not going to win.”
As was written in this forum this morning, more games like this can only be a good thing.
* Green had another pretty big night with a goal and an assist. He now has 23 goals (most among NHL defensemen) and 16 power-play markers, which tops all NHL players at any position. That number also ties a franchise record previously set by Scott Stevens.
“He’s a good player,” Bruce Boudreau said of Green. “Before he’s done he’s going to break a lot of records. … I’ve got to lasso him sometimes to get him back because he’s like a fourth forward. When he comes from behind and he’s playing defense [first], he’s very good.”
* The Fleischmann-Steckel-Fehr line had a pretty good night, and Eric Fehr ended up with the eventual game-winner to show for it. Fehr now has 12 points in 13 games. Fleischmann hasn’t been as noticeable of late, but he made a few pretty slick plays and just missed a goal with a shot that went wide.
* Michal Neuvirth was solid early, and was exposed a couple of times to breakways in between long stretches of boredom. In the end he stopped 21 of 24 shots and is now 2-0 as an NHL goaltender. His biggest stop came on a point-blank shot after Green crunched Rich Peverley with an open-ice hit, but a 2-on-1 became a 1-on-0 after Alexander Semin went to the ice to try to cancel out a pass.
Neuvirth has a .932 save percentage (55 of 59) in his two starts. That’s 4-for-4 for the kids in net this season counting Simeon Varlamov’s two victories.
“We don’t mind playing in front of those guys at all,” Fehr said. “They’re sharp back there. [Neuvirth] was cutting off angles all night and he wasn’t letting up any rebounds.”
* Semin had a pretty goal to open the game and ended up with a three-point night. He has 10 points in the past seven games.
* Nicklas Backstrom collected his 50th assist of the season. He now has points in eight straight contests.
* This was the 10th straight sellout for the Caps, which ties a team record set between the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons.
* Alex Ovechkin had a relatively quiet night, but nearly had another sensational play when he jumped over/past a defenseman and fell to the ice but still managed to put a shot on net from his stomach, and Viktor Kozlov had a shot at putting home the rebound.
He nearly got himself in big trouble late in the first period and it led to Atlanta’s first goal. Ovechkin was high-sticked (and it was pretty obvious and in open ice) but all four officials somehow missed it. He took out his frustrations on Marty Reasoner near the benches and was tagged with a roughing penalty.
“I was nervous for the other guy,” Boudreau said. “He doesn’t usually get mad like that … To me, as a player when you get high-sticked like that sometimes you take in into your hands. He had a moment there when he lost it, but then he calmed down and went, ‘Whoa, OK.’
* Not exactly breaking news, but Boudreau was willing to tell us that Jose Theodore will be in net Saturday against Boston.