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Caps try to get back on track vs. Thrashers

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

John Kreiser - Columnist

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Caps try to get back on track vs. Thrashers
Atlanta Thrashers vs. Washington Capitals

THRASHERS (3-4-0) at CAPITALS (4-3-0)

TV: CSN-Washington

Season series -- The Southeast Division rivals are meeting for the second of six times this season. The Thrashers won 4-2 at home on Oct. 8 in the season-opener for both teams. Washington swept the six-game series last season.

Big story -- Neither team is coming into this one playing well. The Capitals dropped both ends of a home-and-home series to the Bruins, including a 4-1 loss in Boston on Thursday. Atlanta might be glad to be getting out of town after a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday that came two days after a 4-1 loss to Buffalo.

Team Scope:

Thrashers -- It's hard enough to win after spotting the opposition an early lead. The Thrashers have spotted their last two opponents a three-goal advantage -- and not surprisingly, they were beaten soundly by the Sabres and Lightning.

Two of the three early goals by Tampa Bay came on the power play, a fact that frustrated coach Craig Ramsay.

"When you put teams on the power play that often, they're going to score, especially teams as talented as they are," Ramsay said.

Capitals -- Washington reeled off four consecutive wins after the opening-night loss to the Thrashers, but this week has brought the Caps back to earth. They were outscored 7-2 in back-to-back losses to Boston, and Alex Ovechkin went without a point in both games.

"Sometimes you watch TV and the chances to score are 18-14 or whatever," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. "We had chances that were 10-bell chances. They were chances where you go, 'Holy smokes, how the heck did he stop that?' We've got to bear down more."

Who's hot -- Washington's penalty-killers had been hot; they killed off the first 25 power plays they faced before getting smoked three times in four tries in Boston. … The Thrashers scored just three goals in their last two games.

Injury report -- Atlanta defenseman Zach Bogosian has missed the Thrashers' last four games with a shoulder injury. Goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who collapsed early in the season-opener against the Capitals, sustained a concussion and has yet to return. … Matt Bradley (lower body) has missed Washington's last four games. Defenseman Mike Green (upper body) practiced Friday and is day-to-day.

Stat pack -- Washington was tops in the NHL in scoring last season, but is 15th so far in 2010-11. Only once in the first seven games of the season have the Capitals managed to score more than two goals in regulation.

Puck drop -- The Caps' power play led the NHL during the regular season in 2009-10, but went just 3-for-33 in the playoff loss to Montreal -- and the extra-man unit's struggles are continuing. Washington's power play enters the game just 4-for-30, 15.4 percent.

"We have to get better on our special teams," Boudreau said. "Our power play is sort of in neutral right now, and that's why we worked on it all day today. I thought we played two not bad games, and we came away with nothing."

2010-2011 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 26 '11 WSH 0 at ATL 1 N. Antropov
Dec 04 '10 ATL 3 at WSH 1 A. Burmistrov
Nov 19 '10 WSH 0 at ATL 5 B. Eager
Nov 14 '10 ATL 4 at WSH 6 J. Erskine
Oct 23 '10 ATL 3 at WSH 4 - OT T. Fleischmann
Oct 08 '10 WSH 2 at ATL 4 E. Kane
A. Ladd8358+2210
T. Enstrom8257-5220
D. Byfuglien8246-52121
E. Kane8505-2601
A. Stewart8415-5020
C. Thorburn8314+41310
R. Peverley8044-1600
B. Little8033+0200
J. Oduya8033-2200
N. Bergfors5033+1200
B. Eager8112+12900
F. Modin7101-7000
J. Slater5101-3400
B. Sopel8011+2400
N. Antropov7011-3400
A. Burmistrov8000+0600
R. Hainsey8000-2200
N. Dawes6000-6000
F. Meyer5000-2400
Z. Bogosian3000-1200
E. Boulton2000+0000
C. Mason83-4-1262833.54.908
P. Mannino10-0-01161.58.938
O. Pavelec10-0-0000.00.000
A. Semin8538+4810
A. Ovechkin8448-1802
J. Carlson8156+32000
B. Laich8325+6411
T. Fleischmann8325+5401
E. Fehr8224+0610
N. Backstrom8134-3211
J. Chimera8213-3700
M. Knuble8112-3200
M. Hendricks8022+01400
M. Perreault1022+3000
M. Johansson6101-1200
J. Schultz8011+4200
T. Sloan6011-2000
M. Green5011+4700
B. Gordon4011+1000
K. Alzner8000+0000
J. Erskine8000-31700
D. Steckel6000-3200
T. Poti4000-1200
M. Bradley3000+1500
D. King3000+0500
J. Beagle1000-1200
B. Fahey1000-2000
M. Neuvirth85-2-0161972.53.919
S. Varlamov20-1-05482.91.896