The Washington Capitals suffered their first regulation loss in ten games last night, dropping a 5-0 decision to their division opponents in Atlanta. The Thrashers have handed the Caps two of their five regulation losses this season.
Atlanta led 3-0 after the first, with Ben Eager opening the scoring less than three minutes in. Two quick strikes around the 9 minute mark by Nik Antropov and Evander Kane was enough to send Braden Holtby off the ice for the evening. It was only the rookie’s fourth career start.
Dustin Byfuglien and Alexander Burmistrov rounded out Atlanta’s scoring. It was the Caps first shutout loss since Dec. 9, 2009 against Buffalo.
Alexander Semin’s nine game point streak came to an end as well. The Caps, notorious of late for poor second period play, did not seem to repeat their recent mid-game woes but just couldn’t get the puck past Ondrej Pavelec. “I think in the second period we played good hockey but just didn’t score the goal,” said Alexander Ovechkin. “They scored on their one chance on the Byfuglien goal, and 4-0 after two periods is tough especially when they put all five guys in the defensive zone.”
“We won’t forget about it, but it’s one game, not the end of the world,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Probably as bad a defeat I think I have had since I’ve been here. We will regroup and come to bat again tomorrow.”
The Caps return home to face the visiting Philadelphia Flyers tonight, who have the conference’s second-best record behind the Caps.