Friday, March 21, 2008

Caps travel to Atlanta to take on downtrodden Thrashers

Washington Capitals at Atlanta Thrashers
Friday, March 20th, 2008, 7:00 PM
Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia

Last Meeting: 3/14/2008, Caps win 4-1

For a post that covers similar ground, see A View From the Cheap Seats' "Know Thy Enemy".

After the Capitals' last game it was apparent that the team was tired, likely both mentally and physically and Bruce Boudreau gave the team Thursday off from practice in an effort to help them clear their heads and come back focused. Having a day away from the rink to collect their thoughts should help the team move on after getting dismantled against Chicago. A win against a struggling Atlanta team would help even more.

There's no reason the Capitals can't win against the Thrashers who, frankly, are a bad team. Really bad. Like, getting national attention for how bad they are. Here's a look at what the Caps' Friday night opponent has done in their last ten games:

  • March 2nd, 3-2 overtime loss to Pittsburgh. At the time this was Atlanta 7th consecutive loss.

  • March 5th, 6-3 loss to Carolina. Atrlanta put the Hurricanes on gthe powerplay seven time, contributing to the 37 shots against.

  • March 7th, 3-2 win against Minnesota in the gimmick shootout. Atlanta was outshot 39-26, but did go 2-4 on the powerplay.

  • March 8th, 3-2 overtime loss to Florida. Were it not for Kari Lehtonen this one would have been close; the Thrashers were outshot 43-27.

  • March 11th, 5-2 loss to Colorado. Johan Hedberg allows five goals on 23 shots.

  • March 13th, 6-4 win against Calgary. The Thrashers rally from a three-goal deficit to send a tired Calgary team home with a loss.

  • March 14th, 4-1 loss to Washington. The Caps dominated the Thrashers, outshooting them 37-12. Only Kari Lehtonen's stellar play kept this from being a complete blowout.

  • March 16th, 3-1 loss to Florida. The Thrashers learned two things the Capitals know all to well: (1) the NHL's referees aren't very consistent and (2) Tomas Vokoun is really good.

  • March 18th, 3-2 loss to Philadelphia. The score may have been 3-2, but the shots were 47-19 in favor of the Flyers.

  • March 19th, 5-3 loss to Carolina. A Slava Kozlov goal with 39 seconds left made this one look a little better on paper and although the Thrashers played one of their stronger games of this stretch, actually out shooting the Hurricanes 34-33, this game was over at the first intermission when Carolina took a 3-0 lead to the locker room.

During this ten game stretch the Thrashers:

  • Won one game in regulation, won one game in a shootout, lost twice in overtime and lost six times in regulation.

  • Allowed an average of 35.6 shots per game against and averaged 26.1 shots for.

  • Were outshot six times, outshot their opposition three times and matched their opponents once.

  • Went 6 for 35 on the powerplay (17.1%), but scored powerplay goals in only three games.

  • Killed just 29 of 40 shorthanded situations (72.5%).

  • Saw their goalies post a combined .896 save percentage.

Simply put, the Capitals should not lose this game. In fact, it shouldn't even be close.


J Ballot said...

For this Thrashers fan, your analysis is depressingly accurate. The team is bereft of talent and in dire need of a shakeup.

Another factor you didn't mention: Ovechkin absolutely owns us. In 11 career games at Philips Arena he has 21 pts (12 G, 9 A)! He's very likely to reach the 60 goal mark tonight.

My prediction is 5-2, Caps.

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