Pregame #81: Washington Capitals vs. Atlanta Thrashers

Washington Capitals (53-15-12) vs. Atlanta Thrashers (34-33-14)
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Time: Friday April 9th 7:00pm
Radio: ESPN 980
Previous Meetings:
Oct 22 – WAS @ ATL WAS 5-4
Oct 29 – WAS @ ATL WAS 4-3
Jan 9 – WAS @ ATL WAS 8-1
Feb 5 – WAS v ATL WAS 5-2
Apr 1 –  WAS v ATL WAS 2-1
Remaining Meetings:

The Capitals meet their Southeast Conference foes, the Atlanta Thrashers at the Phone Booth tonight for their sixth and final meeting of the regular season. The Thrashers are out of the playoff hunt and with the Capitals clinching the President trophy; so Atlanta can’t play any spoiler card. So in the grand scheme of things, this game really doesn’t mean much more than a scrimmage for the Capitals to work on some things before the playoffs and sweep another Eastern Conference team.

If you don’t make the jump, the WWTW will be lonely.

What To Watch For:

Red Rocket: Alex Ovechkin currently sits 1 goal behind his arch nemesis Sidney Crosby in the race for the scoring title. Both superstars have two games left a piece. Steven Stamkos is hot on Crosby’s heels, tied with Ovi with 48 goals himself.

3’s company: Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble, Alex Semin and Ovi have all netted three goals against the Thrashers this year.  Nine other Caps have scored at least 1 goal, Mike Green, Needsmore Bradley, and Jason “ I Wanna Go Fast” Chimera each have a pair. At this point in the season it could be a goal bonanza.

Oh So Swede: Backstrom is on a hot streak 6 points in 2 games bringing his total points on the year to 98. Two more points in two games should come easy to the Caps star as he puts together a career season. Nicky B has 20 points (6G, 14A) in his 19-career game against Atlanta. He also has 50 of his 98 points on home ice.

Your opposing player to watch, from the [bipolar] Enemy ThrashingTheBlues:

The player you guys should probably watch out for the most is Evgeny Artyukhin.  He’s really been on fire since coming to Atlanta, and seems to enjoy the freedom given to him here. He’s HUGE (it’s kind of scary in person), but he’s really fast and light on his skates, and can skate around you, shove you back, and then score in about 2 seconds flat.  I’m really hoping that we re-sign him after this season.  He’s a blast to watch.

I would say to keep an eye on Nik Antropov, but he’s out for the last 2 games because of a hip injury that he’s been playing through all year.  Niclas Bergfors and Mad Max Afinogenov are a gimmie too- but for sure watch out for Arty.