The Caps opened up their 2010-11 campaign last night in Atlanta. With high expectations for the team by many, the Caps were looking to jump out of the gate to redeem themselves from last season’s playoff collapse.
With only six shots in the first period, it wasn’t exactly a well-oiled Caps machine that hit the ice. Showing signs of struggle all through the evening, especially in their own zone, the Caps ultimately skated to a 4-2 loss to the new and improved Thrashers.
The evening started out rough as Atlanta’s starting goalie Ondrej Pavelec collapsed, unconscious, to the ice just over two minutes in. Pavelec was taken off the ice on a stretcher and regained consciousness later in the evening at a nearby hospital. (According to the Thrashers this morning, no serious health problems have been detected and Pavelec remains under observation.)
The Caps went up on the board early on a nice feeder play from Alexander Semin and Tomas Fleischmann to Brooks Laich, but Atlanta’s Evander Kane tied it up later in the first. Two more goals in the second by the Thrashers had the Caps in a seemingly familiar hole going into the third; Alexander Ovechkin took advantage of a defensive breakdown and set up Mike Knuble with a pretty goal. However, Atlanta’s Fredrik Modin sealed the game with five minutes remaining.
“We did not play our game at all,” said Ovechkin to reporters after the game. Atlanta clearly had come to prove something with their new look, and the Caps didn’t seem all together in sync. The power play in particular didn’t look great, as the Caps went 0-3 on the night. “You get rewarded when you out work teams,” said Coach Bruce Boudreau. “[Atlanta] outworked us and they got rewarded.”
Hopefully they’ll put on a better show for the Verizon crowd tonight as the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk pay a visit. Game starts at 7 pm.