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Friday Roundup/Gamenight: Caps @ Thrashers

[SeSo Open Thread]

Tonight's the game blood-thirsty fans from Atlanta to Washington have been waiting for - the big rematch with the Thrashers. For a number of reasons, I wouldn't expect many fireworks. As I've said before, these events are always over-blown by the media and the fans. Players and coaches move on - they have games to win. Also, Andy Sutton - the catalyst for last game's festivities - is out of the lineup with Brashearitis a foot injury. Finally, I'm sure the teams have gotten the word from above to behave themselves. There may be a symbolic fight early on - perhaps Eric Boulton and John Erskine throwing down - but it wouldn't surprise me if the game was major-free.

That said, I'd expect a very tightly-called game so the refs can feel they're in control. Who does that favor? Well, Atlanta has a top-10 power play and a bottom-10 penalty kill while the Caps are in the middle of the pack in both categories. Therefore it favors... whoever makes the most of their special teams opporunities (I know, bold statement).

I'll have more thoughts on the game throughout the day over on SeSo, and please stop by the Open Thread and make yourself heard. I know Ilya Kovalchuk will be ready for tonight's game - will you?

Finally, in yet another example of reality encroaching on our fantasy world of sports entertainment uninvited, tragically sad news out of Delaware where Joshua Freeman, a member of the Caps ownership group, died in a helicopter crash yesterday. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Steve Sullivan (3G, +2, 4 SOG, 2 hits)
  • Ross: Steve Sullivan, Brad Boyes, J.P. Dumont, Paul Kariya, Rick Nash (3 points each)
  • Norris: Karel Rachunek (2G, +2, 4 hits)
  • Vezina: Chris Mason (22-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Steve Sullivan (3G)
  • Calder: Anze Kopitar (2G, +2, 5 SOG, 2 hits)
  • Aiken, pt. I: Ray Emery (L, 6 goals allowed on 14 shots against in just 31:54 of work)
  • Aiken, Pt. II: Patrick Marleau (-4, 0 points, 40% faceoffs won in 4-2 loss)