Jose Theodore (pronounced JOE-say) made his first start for the Capitals tonight in the season opener in Atlanta. As far as first impressions go, tonight was not a good one.
Atlanta started the game looking pretty nervous against the confident Capitals, and it was Washington who drew first blood, technically. Brooks Laich redirected a high shot down through the 5-hole of Atlanta goaltender Kari Lehtonen only to have it immediately waived off by the officials.
I’m thinking that the refs were given new “flavored” whistles (I’m guessing strawberry) for tonight’s game as they couldn’t seem to keep them out of their mouth. I suppose if I were impartial I would say they called a tight game; but since I just hate them so much, I’d have to say that they were pulling some of those calls from a place you would have to point to on a doll in court (“show us on the doll where you came up with that holding penalty”).
The Thrashers scored first if you believe what the stat sheet tells you, and that seemed to help them overcome their initial jitters.
Jose Theodore gave up three goals in the first period. On the third goal it looked like he was trying to avoid getting hit by the puck (“Hey, careful! That almost hit me!”).
Alex Semin finally answered with a goal of his own 0:29 seconds after the Thrashers third goal to make the score 3-1 Atlanta at the end of the first period.
The Caps began the second period by pouring on the pressure. Jose Theodore almost added insult to injury by mishandling the puck a few times and coming dangerously close to playing the puck outside of the trapezoid.
Mike Green got knocked a little silly early in the second period as he caught a helmet with his chin and actually left the game for a few minutes. While he was gone though, David Steckel managed to add to Semin’s goal with a shorthanded bid bringing the Caps to within 1.
Steckel’s goal was followed by a goal from Kozlov…not Victor; Slava. Yeah, it caught me off guard at first. I wasn’t paying attention I hear from the TV “Kozlov’s in and he scores!” and I start to celebrate until I realize that the horn is blowing and everyone in Atlanta seems really happy. Slava isn’t even related to Victor. The Thrashers should not be allowed to have players with the same names as our players.
Unfortunately the Thrashers had returned on that same power play that Steckel had just gotten his shortie on with a 2-1 break and made the score 4-2.
“No way, Jose (pronound HOSE-ay)” was what I would have said if I were Boudreau, but either way that was the end of the night for Theodore who had surrendered 4 goals on 17 shots.
Brent Johnson came in and put an end to the Thrasher’s scoring nonsense.
The game seemed to turn around when Tom Poti caught a high stick just above his right eye and drew a 4-minute double minor. Mike Green, who had managed to shake loose the cobwebs, made good use of that double minor by scoring on both penalties to tie the game at 4.
Entering the third period the Caps had outshot (30-22), outhit (12-8), and outscored (3-1) the Thrashers in the second period.
The third period started out looking good for the Caps who were showing that the best defense is a good offense…until that defense broke down with a little more than six minutes to go in the game. I know I made it sound like Brent Johnson had come in and saved the game, and for a while it looked like he had, until he surrendered three goals in 2:14.
The Caps went down swinging as John Erskine, Donald Brashear, and Matt Bradley were all involved in fights with the game’s final two minutes. Final score: Thrashers 7 Caps 4.
All in all; not a good start for this Caps team who don’t have very long to figure out what went wrong as they face Chicago tomorrow night at Verizon.
—Alex Semin looked really good tonight with 1 goal and two assists. He just seemed to be everywhere.
—Alex Ovechkin was scoreless, and assistless. I phrased it that way because the alternative was pointless. Alex had one penalty shot and missed and spent a lot of time on the PK.
—Mike Green should catch a helmet with his face every game. I thought he was going to get a hat-trick this evening.