Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images
With a major snowstorm hitting most of the mid-Atlantic region for the weekend of January 22-24, 2016, which resulted in the cancellation of the Caps games against the Anaheim Ducks (January 22) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (January 24), my mind flashed back to another time when the Washington Capitals had games scheduled at the time another major snowstorm was to hit the Washington, DC region.
Adding to the similarities of the weekend, the Caps had a Friday night game scheduled, although against a different opponent – the Atlanta Thrashers. They also had a Sunday afternoon game scheduled against the Pittsburgh Penguins (February 7) which was also a nationally televised game at 12:30 PM. Unlike this year where the games were postponed, in 2010, the Caps’ games against the Thrashers and the Penguins went on as scheduled. A Retro Recap for the Penguins/Caps game was presented by NoVa Caps earlier in the week. This post recaps the Thrashers game.
Prior to the game, the Thrashers had gone 4-4-2 and stood just 3 points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot. The previous day, the Thrashers had traded their franchise player to the New Jersey Devils for rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, defenseman Johnny Oduya, prospect Patrice Cormier, and the Devils’ 1st round pick in the upcoming 2010 NHL draft.
The Caps, meanwhile, came into this game with a 12 game winning streak and were going for win #13. Michael Neuvirth, who was suffering from a minor injury, was back in action. There was some suspense ass to whether minor league call up, Braden Holtby, would make his NHL debut on this evening, but Neuvirth was healthy enough to play and Holtby was returned to the Hershey Bears.
The Thrashers opened the scoring at 2:46 on a goal by Toby Engstrom, with assists by Rich Peverley and Vyacheslav Kozlov. But then the Thrashers started taking penalties. There was one by Jim Slater at 4:07 when he slashed Alex Ovechkin, but the Caps were unable to convert. Then, there was another penalty by Chris Thorburn when he tripped Alexander Semin at 10:50. Before that penalty was complete, Pavel Kubina cross checked Brooks Laich, putting the Caps in a brief 5 on 3 advantage. The Thorburn penalty expired, leaving the Caps with a 5-4 power play, but before the second penalty expired, Alex Ovechkin scored his 39th goal of the year, with assists from Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin. So now the game was tied at 1-1.
There was a fight near the end of the period between John Erskine and Chris Thorburn, at 18:28. Thorburn earned an extra roughing penalty leading up to the fight, putting the Caps on another power play.
While the Caps did not convert on that carry over power play, they did break the tie at 4:31 into the period on a goal by Nicklas Backstrom with assists from Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble. The Caps led 2-1 at the end of 2 periods.
Early in the third period, the Caps scored two more goals, one by Alexander Semin at 3:52 and another by Jason Chimera just over a minute later, stretching the Caps lead to 4-1. The Caps got another power play at 12:32 when Nik Antropov cross checked Eric Fehr. About 45 seconds into this power play, Rich Peverley got a breakaway. Alexander Semin tried to stop him but they ended up crashing into the net and the puck squeaked in, resulting in a shorthanded goal for the Thrashers, decreasing the Caps’ lead to 4-2. Mike Green added an empty net goal at 18:33 for the final Caps goal. The final score was 5-2 in favor of the Caps. The Caps had now won their 13th game in a row, a franchise record. Michal Neuvirth had made 43 saves in the game out of 45 attempts.
By Diane Doyle