GAME: Washington Capitals (21-40-8-2) at Atlanta Thrashers (27-34-7-3).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
Technically the Atlanta Thrashers are still in the playoff hunt. But they
aren't putting up much of a fight.
Sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, 12 points out of the final
playoff spot, the Thrashers will try to end their four-game winless streak when
they take on the Washington Capitals.
Beginning a four-game homestand, the Thrashers' only real chance of making
the postseason is a complete collapse by the eighth-place New York Islanders
and the ninth-place Buffalo Sabres. The Capitals also trail the 10th-place
Florida Panthers by three points.
The Thrashers are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on
Friday, dropping them to 0-2-1-1 during their slide.
Shawn McEachern and Patrik Stefan scored for the Thrashers and Pasi Nurminen
made 20 saves.
"Pasi was very good tonight. It's not his fault - goalmouth passes,
one-times, screened shots," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "I felt he gave
us the chance to win."
Next to last in the Eastern Conference with 52 points, the Capitals have
dropped three straight and six of seven, including Friday's 4-3 loss to the
Jeff Halpern scored on the power play in the first period for Washington,
but the Capitals couldn't solve Chicago goalie Adam Munro on a five-on-three
power play inside the final two minutes.
"On a five-on-three you have to score," Halpern said. "As good or bad as
you play, you have to score on that. It cost us at least a tie."
STANDINGS: Capitals - 52 points, 5th place, 43 PB, Southeast Division.
Thrashers - 64 points, 3rd place, 31 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Halpern, 13 goals, 19 assists and 32 points; Darcy
Verot, 106 PIM. Thrashers - Ilya Kovalchuk, 36 goals, 39 assists and 75 points;
Francis Lessard, 132 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 11): Capitals - Power play: 18.9 percent (55
for 291), 6th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (273 for 335), 26th.
Thrashers - Power play: 14.7 percent (51 for 348), 21st. Penalty killing: 85.2
percent (276 for 324), 5th.
GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (18-32-7, 2 SO, 2.87 GAA); Sebastien
Charpentier (0-5-0, 3.29). Thrashers - Nurminen (23-26-6, 2, 2.80); Frederic
Cassivi (no appearances).
SEASON SERIES: Capitals, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 16; Capitals, 5-0. At Atlanta, Maxime Ouellet made 37
saves in his second career start, and the since-traded Robert Lang posted two
goals and two assists.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 10-20-3-1 on the road; Thrashers - 14-15-4-1