Friday November 19, 2010, 11:54 p.m.
By Joe Beninati
CAPITALS PAGE CAPITALS VIDEO
Nothing positive to report from this one in Atlanta, the game spiraled out of control in the first ten minutes and the Caps did little to give the impression that they would recover. It was the first rough patch that we have seen from Braden Holtby in goal.
The Thrashers jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Ben Eager deflected a centering pass beneath the rookie net minder. Just over six minutes later Holtby dove out to cover a loose puck with traffic near his crease. The normally sure-handed youngster never got the puck cleanly in his glove and Nik Antropov converted a backhander from close range while Braden was sprawled out of position. It was only 15 seconds later when Evander Kane slipped a wide-angle wrist shot through the rookie's pads. Bruce Boudreau mercifully pulled Holtby from the contest but it would not spark the otherwise listless caps.
The opening moments of the second period were much better for Washington as they forced Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec to earn his paycheck. But that sustained pressure wouldn't last long and would not result in the Caps getting on the scoreboard.
There was never a much-needed momentum shifting play in that second period. It was in that frame that Mike Knuble was nailed in the face by a puck shot at close range from Eric Fehr. Knuble was bloody immediately and did not return to the game. He is on the plane with us on the ride home from Atlanta. Coach Boudreau did not give any details to the injury in his post game press conference but did lead us to believe that Mike would be missing - for a while.
Dustin Byfuglien last second period goal was backbreaker for the Caps. The big defenseman spends a lot of time up-ice and he can create matchup problems with his size and ferocious shot. Teenager Alexander Burmistrov scored a beautiful goal in the third period to account for the final score of 5-0.
Without question this was a game to forget and to forget in a hurry with an imposing Philadelphia Flyers waiting for the caps to come home Saturday. There will be no room for another poor performance against them.