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Washington
Capitals
50-24-8
Atlanta
Thrashers
35-41-6

43 SOG
31 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
WSH
ATL
game recap

Thrashers 7, Capitals 4

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:24 AM

Associated Press

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Thrashers 7, Capitals 4
Washington Capitals 4, Atlanta Thrashers 7

ATLANTA (AP) -As his first game as an NHL coach neared, John Anderson feared his lessons weren't sinking in with his Atlanta players.

The rookie coach's nerves were so bad he "had about 10 Rolaids" before his Thrashers provided real relief with a surprisingly strong offensive showing in their opener.

Bryan Little had two goals, including the go-ahead score in the third period, and the Thrashers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4 on Friday night.

Maybe Atlanta's players were listening to the new coach after all, even if it didn't show in a 1-5 preseason.

"With so many new guys and so many different things we are doing out there, it's hard to change the things the guys are used to doing," Anderson said. "It's a work in progress, but the way we are scoring goals, that's what I've been trying to talk about all summer."

Anderson, who said his stomach "was not good" before the game, soon felt better as the Thrashers scored the first three goals.

Little said Anderson "was just as excited as a player out there, and that is what is special about him."

Capitals goalie Jose Theodore didn't make it through the second period of his debut with the team, giving up four goals before he was pulled. However, Mike Green scored two goals on one power play in the second period as the Capitals rallied from deficits of 3-1 and 4-2 for a 4-4 tie.

The tie held until the Thrashers scored two goals in a span of 29 seconds in the third period.

The 20-year-old Little, who scored one of the three first-period goals against Theodore, gave Atlanta a 5-4 lead with a shot from the right circle with 6:03 left in regulation. Colby Armstrong also beat Washington backup goalie Brent Johnson with another shot from the right circle. Todd White scored on a pass from Ilya Kovalchuk later in the period.

The Thrashers won their opener one year after an 0-6 start led to a last-place finish in the Southeast Division.

"The way we started last year we wanted to come out and get our first win of the season with our first game," Little said, adding the opener against the defending Southeast Division champs "could not have gone any better."

Washington coach Bruce Boudreau called the loss "unacceptable."

"There were too many guys not doing their job," Boudreau said. "When you don't do your job, anyone can score seven goals."

Theodore stopped only 13 of 17 shots.

"The last thing you want to do is pull your goalie on opening night," said Boudreau, who called the fourth goal allowed by Theodore "pretty weak."

"We were still in the game at that time," Boudreau said. "I thought Brent would give us a lift, and he did for the next 20 minutes or so."

Johnson gave up three goals in the final 6:03.

"We can't have third-period shortcomings like that when the game is tied," Johnson said, adding he didn't expect to replace Theodore.

"You don't want to be in that position," Johnson said. "You don't want that to happen to your partner."

Theodore was not available for comment.

Washington star Alex Ovechkin was held without a point on six shots.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 39 shots for Atlanta.

Ron Hainsey and Marty Reasoner, two of Atlanta's eight players added since the end of last season, and Little scored for a 3-0 lead against Theodore, the 2002 NHL MVP with Montreal who was Washington's only offseason addition.

Alexander Semin answered with a goal late in the period for the Capitals, and David Steckel scored a short-handed goal in the second period, tipping in a rebound of Tom Poti's shot, to cut Atlanta's lead to 3-2.

The 32-year-old Theodore, who signed a two-year, $9 million contract with Washington, was pulled after giving up Slava Kozlov's goal at the 9:30 mark of the second period, only 20 seconds after Steckel's goal.

The Capitals, trailing 4-2 after Kozlov's goal, took advantage of a 4-minute high-sticking penalty against Reasoner midway through the second period to tie the score on two goals by Green.

Notes: The Capitals had a 43-31 edge in shots on goal. ... Lehtonen deflected Ovechkin's penalty shot 4:01 into the third period. The shot was awarded after a Thrashers defender closed his hand on the puck in the crease. ... D Zach Begrosian became the youngest player in Thrashers history to appear in a regular-season game. Begrosian, the team's first-round pick, is 18 years and 87 days old. Kovalchuk was 18 years and 172 days old when he made his debut on Oct. 4, 2001. Begrosian earned the first penalty of the game for holding after he had been on the ice only 24 seconds. The rookie's initiation ended when he was pounded by Washington's Donald Brashear in the final seconds as Brashear earned a penalty for roughing.

scoring summary
1st Period
08:20
ATL
PPG - Ron Hainsey (1) Tip-in - ASST: Todd White (1), Jason Williams (1)
1 - 0 ATL
11:24
ATL
Marty Reasoner (1) Snap shot - ASST: Bryan Little (1), Eric Perrin (1)
2 - 0 ATL
13:48
ATL
Bryan Little (1) Snap shot - ASST: Niclas Havelid (1)
3 - 0 ATL
14:11
WSH
Alexander Semin (1) Snap shot - ASST: Sergei Fedorov (1), Mike Green (1)
3 - 1 ATL
2nd Period
09:10
WSH
SHG - David Steckel (1) Tip-in - ASST: Tom Poti (1), Alexander Semin (1)
3 - 2 ATL
09:30
ATL
PPG - Vyacheslav Kozlov (1) Snap shot - ASST: Niclas Havelid (2), Tobias Enstrom (1)
4 - 2 ATL
13:47
WSH
PPG - Mike Green (1) Snap shot - ASST: Michael Nylander (1), Nicklas Backstrom (1)
4 - 3 ATL
14:39
WSH
PPG - Mike Green (2) Tip-in - ASST: Alexander Semin (2), Viktor Kozlov (1)
4 - 4 Tie
3rd Period
13:57
ATL
Bryan Little (2) Snap shot - ASST: Vyacheslav Kozlov (1), Erik Christensen (1)
5 - 4 ATL
14:26
ATL
Colby Armstrong (1) Slapshot - ASST: Eric Perrin (2), Ron Hainsey (1)
6 - 4 ATL
16:07
ATL
PPG - Todd White (1) Snap shot - ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (1), Niclas Havelid (3)
7 - 4 ATL
penalty summary
1st Period
01:52
ATL
Zach Bogosian  Holding against  Sergei Fedorov
08:06
WSH
Tom Poti  Tripping against  Vyacheslav Kozlov
11:43
WSH
Viktor Kozlov  Holding against  Tobias Enstrom
15:31
WSH
Alex Ovechkin  Interference against  Vyacheslav Kozlov
15:45
ATL
Mathieu Schneider  Tripping against  Alexander Semin
17:54
ATL
Kari Lehtonen  Tripping against  Tomas Fleischmann
18:38
WSH
Michael Nylander  Hooking against  Todd White
2nd Period
02:45
ATL
Zach Bogosian  Hooking against  Brooks Laich
08:08
WSH
Shaone Morrisonn  Interference against  Zach Bogosian
10:11
WSH
Alex Ovechkin  Hooking against  Erik Christensen
12:52
ATL
Marty Reasoner  Hi stick - double minor against  Tom Poti
17:32
WSH
Jeff Schultz  Hooking against  Vyacheslav Kozlov
3rd Period
03:38
ATL
Colby Armstrong  Slashing against  Viktor Kozlov
14:57
WSH
Viktor Kozlov  Hooking against  Eric Perrin
17:44
ATL
Eric Boulton  Fighting (maj) against  John Erskine
17:44
WSH
John Erskine  Fighting (maj) against  Eric Boulton
19:40
WSH
Donald Brashear  Roughing against  Zach Bogosian
19:40
ATL
Zach Bogosian  Fighting (maj) against  Donald Brashear
19:40
WSH
Donald Brashear  Fighting (maj) against  Zach Bogosian
19:48
ATL
Chris Thorburn  Fighting (maj) against  Matt Bradley
19:48
WSH
Matt Bradley  Fighting (maj) against  Chris Thorburn
goalie stats
Brent Johnson
SA: 14TOI: 30:30
Saves: 11EV: 8 - 10
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .786SH: 0 - 0
Jose Theodore
SA: 17TOI: 29:30
Saves: 13EV: 8 - 10
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 7
SV%: .765SH: 0 - 0
Kari Lehtonen
SA: 43TOI: 60:00
Saves: 39EV: 25 - 26
PIM: 2PP: 10 - 12
SV%: .907SH: 4 - 5