OK, how bad does it get when you lose a game, 8-1 on your own ice?
-- The biggest cheer from the 15 fans left in the arena comes in the third period when the public address announcer comes on and says, “one minute…one minute remaining in the period."
-- The last three goals are scored by: a) a fourth liner, b) the second pair power play quarterback (who hadn’t had a goal in 72 games), and c) the new guy
-- You get one goal on 39 shots against the number three goalie in the Caps’ system
The Caps laid the wood to the Atlanta Thrashers tonight – early, often, and with authority – as they skated the Thrashers out of their own arena in the 8-1 win. It was as complete a game as the Caps have played this year. Why? Well, let’s take a look…
-- 16 skaters – sixteen! – had points (only John Erskine and Shaone Morrison failed to get at least one point, and Erskine skated only one shift in the third period).
-- Jeff Schultz, plus-5 and two assists, a team high 26-plus minutes, a team-high 3:09 of penalty killing time…and he doesn’t even get a star.
-- Mike Knuble had a pair of goals that had Kanoobie yipping for glee in that neither involved and actual shot type motion – a deflection and a redirect off a skate. Now that’s the Knuble we want to see!
-- 12 skaters finished in “plus” territory, eight of them plus-2 or better.
-- All those goals, and Mike Green was the only Cap skater who did not record at least one shot on goal.
-- Only six giveaways, and two of those were by goalie Michal Neuvirth.
-- The Caps were not only 2-for-3 on the power play, they were 2-for-3 on power play shots.
-- The Caps had 1:53 of total power play time tonight. Five seconds of that was the product of overlapping minors to Alex Ovechkin and Slava Kozlov. That was the only power play the Caps did not score on. Otherwise, they needed a total of 108 seconds to score two power play goals.
-- Oh, and of that 1:53 of power play time…Alex Ovechkin only got 33 seconds worth of it, another indicator of how early this one was over.
-- Spreading it around? First line (8-19-22): 3-1-4, plus-6… Second line (28-14-21): 2-3-5, plus-5… Third Line (25-9-16): 1-2-3, even… Fourth line (15-39-10): 1-2-3, plus-3.
Michal Neuvirth stopped 38 of 39 shots, but might have won the game for the Caps with his play in the first period when the Thrashers actually had the territorial advantage early. Ilya Kovalchuk had seven shots for the game for the Thrashers, six of them in the first period – all of them with the Caps nursing a 1-0 lead – and several of them top-notch scoring opportunities. If Neuvirth lets any of them in, it could have stemmed some of the Caps’ momentum.
Mike Knuble’s two goals make nine in double-digits for the Caps (they had nine for all of last season). Next up, Matt Bradley (seven).
Ilya Kovalchuk… seven shots, 11 shot attempts, 21 minutes of ice time… minus-3. He might take a discount to get OUT of Atlanta.
That’s fastest to 60 points in the history of the franchise (44 games), besting the 28-13-4 record the Caps had in the first 45 games of the 1985-1986 season.
And if you’re interested in that vile plus-minus statistic…
Now it’s on to Tampa, where the Lightning will meet the Caps with one day off after three straight days of hockey – the game on Friday that was suspended when the Devils' check for the light bill didn’t clear, the loss in Philadelphia tonight, and tomorrow’s resumption of the Devils game. It sets up well for the Caps, who will try to extend their 12-game winning streak against the Lightning. But tonight was one of those games you want to wrap with a bow and save it to watch again sometime.