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Thrashers-Capitals Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Thrashers-Capitals Preview
Atlanta Thrashers vs. Washington Capitals

If anything else, a return home might be what the Washington Capitals need to regroup from a disappointing road trip.

The banged-up Capitals try for a sixth consecutive home win while looking to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss as they face the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday night.

Washington (11-7-3) lost 4-3 at Minnesota on Monday to conclude a 1-3-1 road trip after going 6-0-1. Already playing without leading scorer Alexander Semin, top defenseman Mike Green and veteran Sergei Fedorov, the Capitals lost forwards Chris Clark and Boyd Gordon and defensemen John Erskine and Jeff Schultz to injuries during the game.

"We just have to go back and regroup and get it done," said Washington coach Bruce Boudreau, whose team allowed 26 goals on the trip.

While the team's overall health remains a concern, the Capitals should be happy to return home, where they are 7-0-1 and have allowed 16 goals.

Both healthy, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom each scored Monday for the Capitals, who scored the game's final three goals to rally against Minnesota.

"This is an explosive team," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said of the Capitals. "If you give them a little life, they're coming, they're coming."

Ovechkin has at least one point in eight consecutive games, recording seven goals and 10 assists during that span. Backstrom, meanwhile, has five goals in seven games while recording a point in nine straight contests.

Backstrom had an assist in a 7-4 season-opening loss to Atlanta on Oct. 10. While Ovechkin went without a point in the most recent contest with the Thrashers, he has 20 goals and 20 assists in 25 games against them.

Jose Theodore made 29 saves against the Wild, but fell to 6-4-1 with a 3.26 goals-against average this season. He is 11-4-0 with a 2.40 GAA against Atlanta.

The streaky Thrashers (8-10-2) won 6-3 at Toronto on Tuesday to avoid a fourth straight loss after posting a five-game winning streak that was preceded by six consecutive losses.

Todd White scored two goals, Ilya Kovalchuk added one and Slava Kozlov recorded two assists as the Thrashers scored one more goal than they did in their previous three games total. Kovalchuk, among the team leaders with seven goals and 11 assists, even faced off with Toronto defenseman Ian White in a rare fight.

"That's the most enthusiasm I've seen him have all year," said coach John Anderson of Kovalchuk, who's spent his entire seven NHL seasons with Atlanta. "He's got a bit of a bloody nose for it, but I think he'd trade that for a win any day. I think it lifts the rest of the team."

White, who scored for the first time in six games, and Kozlov each had a goal and an assist against Washington in October. Kozlov has two goals and two assists in his last three games versus the Capitals.

Johan Hedberg made 32 saves Tuesday for his fourth victory in five starts. With the back-to-back scenario, though, he could give way to Ondrej Pavelec, who is 2-2-0 with a 2.32 GAA since being called up from the minors while Kari Lehtonen remains out with back stiffness.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 07 '09WSH 4 at ATL 2A. Semin
Apr 05 '09ATL 4 at WSH 6A. Semin
Mar 16 '09WSH 1 at ATL 5V. Kozlov
Feb 26 '09ATL 3 at WSH 4E. Fehr
Nov 26 '08ATL 3 at WSH 5A. Ovechkin
Oct 10 '08WSH 4 at ATL 7B. Little
V. Kozlov2112820+01441
B. Little21101020+8622
I. Kovalchuk2171320-21721
T. White2161319+2630
R. Hainsey213912-6220
J. Williams216410-5442
C. Armstrong21358-12400
E. Christensen20178-7800
M. Reasoner21437+21800
M. Schneider16257-81810
T. Enstrom21167+02001
J. Slater21235-3600
E. Perrin21145-3400
N. Havelid21055+61400
C. Thorburn21112-41800
N. Oystrick13112+0400
G. Exelby21022-44300
E. Boulton19022-34200
B. Sterling3101-2000
Z. Bogosian8000-21300
B. Valabik5000+1800
J. Hedberg84-3-0262253.88.884
K. Lehtonen92-5-2313193.44.903
O. Pavelec62-3-0151482.84.899
A. Ovechkin20121729+142231
A. Semin16131427+171213
N. Backstrom2251520+71020
M. Green187916+101261
T. Fleischmann228513-7431
M. Nylander2121113-11210
B. Laich225712-1831
V. Kozlov173811-1600
S. Fedorov13459+61610
T. Poti17347+4801
J. Schultz21077+0600
D. Steckel19336-22000
E. Fehr11246+3201
B. Gordon19156+0601
M. Bradley22314+01201
T. Sloan14134+0400
M. Jurcina22123-31800
C. Clark20033-51400
D. Brashear20022-34500
J. Erskine19022+22900
S. Morrisonn16011-21800
S. Lepisto1011+1000
C. Bourque2000-1000
G. Mink1000+0000
K. Alzner1000+0000
J. Theodore147-4-1433743.24.885
B. Johnson105-3-2252772.79.910