Caps top Thrashers in record-setting night

Nicklas Backstrom fed the puck to Alexander Semin who found
Alex Ovechkin in front of the net. Ovechkin settled the puck on his stick and
took a snapshot from 30 feet out and scored his 50th goal of the season.

With that third
period goal Ovechkin took the goals scored lead from Pittsburgh’s Sydney Crosby
prompting the crowd to chant ‘MVP’ and giving the Washington Capitals a 3-2 third period lead over the
Atlanta Thrashers. Backstrom had the secondary assist
on the goal giving him his 100th point on the season joining
Ovechkin at the century mark for the first time in his NHL career.

“That’s what the great ones do,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said.
“Whether it’s Sidney [Crosby] or Alex [Ovechkin]
or whoever, they seem to come up at the bottom of the ninth with the bases
loaded needing a homerun and they do it. That’s one of the reasons it makes
them better than other people.”

Boudreau gave right winger Mike Knuble the night off and
moved Semin up to the first line with Ovechkin and Backstrom.
Although, the move is temporary it paid off big time and they put on quite a
show with four goals, five assists and each player earning three points.

The President’s Trophy winning Washington Capitals defeated
the Atlanta Thrashers 5-2 at the Verizon
Center Friday night. The win was
also the Caps 30th on home ice this season, which matches the franchise
record set in 1985-86. Washington will have a chance to break that record on
Sunday afternoon when they host the Boston Bruins.

The night was an impressive one for the Caps on an
individual level too. Goaltender Jose Theodore, who received a nomination for
the Masterton Trophy on Thursday, recorded his 30th win for the
fourth time in his NHL career.

Ovechkin entered the night two goals shy of reaching 50 for
the fourth time in his career. He got two on the night giving him the mark and
the lead in NHL goal scoring and points, putting him currently in first place
for the Art Ross Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s leading scorer.

“It’s great because [Ovechkin’s] a great goal scorer and I’m
always trying to set him up” Backstrom said. “He’s a great player, probably the
best player in the world. So it’s always good to see other people reach their

Backstrom and Ovechkin said they were going to split the
puck somehow.

“It’s kind of a funny moment actually,” Backstrom said.

Despite reaching the millstones the Caps were still forced
to come from behind due to some mistakes that led to easy goals for Atlanta in the second period.

Atlanta tied things up 11
minutes into the second period on a deflection that snuck by Theodore. Atlanta struck again less than two minutes later on a
shorthanded goal. Thrashers wing Clarke MacArthur got the puck on a takeaway in
the neutral zone off a carless turnover from Ovechkin to score an easy
unassisted goal to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead.

Ovechkin got his 49th goal three
minutes later on a monstrous slapshot from 40 feet in front of the net to tie
things up for the Caps. Backstrom finished things off for the Caps with about 7:00 left in the third as he crashed the net and scored on a rebound off the pads to give the
Caps a 5-2 lead and the six game series sweep over the Thrashers.

Before the game Ovechkin and the Caps were presented with
the President’s trophy they clenched last Sunday. Ovechkin was very careful not
to touch the trophy and later said he was told not to.

“It’s not the one we want” Boudreau said. “They play for
each other so well. That’s the biggest thing. They want the other prize.”

Hopefully the next prize
they get will be one they can touch.


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