[AP Recap - Game Summary - Event Summary - WashingtonCaps.com Recap]
In professional sports, when adversity hits, teams need their best players to be their best players, and that's exactly what the Caps got from Alex Ovechkin last night - three goals (including the game winner), an assist, a plus-two rating, and game highs in shots, hits and takeaways. Ovechkin and something resembling the Caps flat out took care of business in a 5-3 win that wasn't as close as the score.
A few more thoughts on the game:
- Karl Alzner led all Caps defensemen in total ice time at 21:06, which speaks to both the coaching staff's faith in King Karl and their shift management (easier to do, of course, in a game that was never all that close). In those 21 minutes, Alzner looked as good as could be expected - efficient, smart, solid, but physically overmatched once or twice along the boards.
- Alzner's fellow call-up, Sami Lepisto, didn't look as good (he also had the second-worst Corsi Rating on the team for the night, behind only... Shaone Morrisonn).
- On the other side of the Corsi spectrum, Tyler Sloan rocked it, with a game-high plus-12 rating. But c'mon... 19-plus minutes for Tyler Sloan?
- Know what's worse than "the wave" at a hockey game? NOTHING. Stop it.
- Once the game got to 4-1, the Thrashers wanted to go home - no fight, no energy, no effort.
- Viktor Kozlov is such a good hockey player when he wants to be, and Tomas Fleischmann continues to impress with his skills... in the offensive zone.
- The Caps power play stays hot, while the penalty kill has gone ice cold (and with Boyd Gordon, Jeff Schultz, John Erskine out - to say nothing of Sergei Fedorov and Alex Semin - that doesn't look to get much better any time soon).
- Graham Mink had four shots on goal?
Chris Bourque was a ball of energy all night, but needs to play a bit more under control (and he was terrible on the third Atlanta goal). Still, it's nice to see someone other than Matt Bradley whose idea of forechecking involves more than stick lifts.
- Tom Poti's set up on the third Ovechkin goal was suh-weet.
- For all the complaining about the ice at the Verizon Center, it was good last night, and damn, did it show on the gorgeous Michael Nylander to Fleischmann to Eric Fehr goal.
- Ovechkin now leads the Caps in scoring. Anyone think he'll be caught?
So the Caps get a much needed win against a crappy team, but will be better tested on Friday night when the Canadiens come to town. Until then, however, enjoy your turkey and savor last night's two points.
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