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Washington at Atlanta

Capitals star Ovechkin held without point in ugly loss to Thrashers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- As his first game as an NHL coach neared, John Anderson feared his lessons weren't sinking in with his Atlanta players.

The rookie coach's nerves were so bad he "had about 10 Rolaids" before his Thrashers provided real relief with a surprisingly strong offensive showing in their opener.

Bryan Little had two goals, including the go-ahead score in the third period, and the Thrashers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4 on Friday.

Maybe Atlanta's players were listening to the new coach after all, even if it didn't show in a 1-5 preseason.

"With so many new guys and so many different things we are doing out there, it's hard to change the things the guys are used to doing," Anderson said. "It's a work in progress, but the way we are scoring goals, that's what I've been trying to talk about all summer."

Anderson, who said his stomach "was not good" before the game, soon felt better as the Thrashers scored the first three goals.

Little said Anderson "was just as excited as a player out there, and that is what is special about him."

Capitals goalie Jose Theodore didn't make it through the second period of his debut with the team, giving up four goals before he was pulled. However, Mike Green scored two goals on one power play in the second period as the Capitals rallied from deficits of 3-1 and 4-2 for a 4-4 tie.

The tie held until the Thrashers scored two goals in a span of 29 seconds in the third period.

The 20-year-old Little, who scored one of the three first-period goals against Theodore, gave Atlanta a 5-4 lead with a shot from the right circle with 6:03 left in regulation. Colby Armstrong also beat Washington backup goalie Brent Johnson with another shot from the right circle. Todd White scored on a pass from Ilya Kovalchuk later in the period.

The Thrashers won their opener one year after an 0-6 start led to a last-place finish in the Southeast Division.

"The way we started last year we wanted to come out and get our first win of the season with our first game," Little said, adding the opener against the defending Southeast Division champs "could not have gone any better."

Washington coach Bruce Boudreau called the loss "unacceptable."

"There were too many guys not doing their job," Boudreau said. "When you don't do your job, anyone can score seven goals."

Theodore stopped only 13 of 17 shots.

"The last thing you want to do is pull your goalie on opening night," said Boudreau, who called the fourth goal allowed by Theodore "pretty weak."

"We were still in the game at that time," Boudreau said. "I thought Brent would give us a lift, and he did for the next 20 minutes or so."

Johnson gave up three goals in the final 6:03.

"We can't have third-period shortcomings like that when the game is tied," Johnson said, adding he didn't expect to replace Theodore.

"You don't want to be in that position," Johnson said. "You don't want that to happen to your partner."

Theodore was not available for comment.

Washington star Alexander Ovechkin was held without a point on six shots.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 39 shots for Atlanta.

Ron Hainsey and Marty Reasoner, two of Atlanta's eight players added since the end of last season, and Little scored for a 3-0 lead against Theodore, the 2002 NHL MVP with Montreal who was Washington's only offseason addition.

Alexander Semin answered with a goal late in the period for the Capitals, and David Steckel scored a short-handed goal in the second period, tipping in a rebound of Tom Poti's shot, to cut Atlanta's lead to 3-2.

The 32-year-old Theodore, who signed a two-year, $9 million contract with Washington, was pulled after giving up Slava Kozlov's goal at the 9:30 mark of the second period, only 20 seconds after Steckel's goal.

The Capitals, trailing 4-2 after Kozlov's goal, took advantage of a four-minute high-sticking penalty against Reasoner midway through the second period to tie the score on two goals by Green.

Notes

  • The Capitals had a 43-31 edge in shots on goal.
  • Lehtonen deflected Ovechkin's penalty shot 4:01 into the third period. The shot was awarded after Thrashers defender Tobias Enstrom closed his hand on the puck in the crease.
  • D Zach Bogosian became the youngest player in Thrashers history to appear in a regular-season game. Begrosian, the team's first-round pick, is 18 years and 87 days old. Kovalchuk was 18 years and 172 days old when he made his debut on Oct. 4, 2001. Begrosian earned the first penalty of the game for holding after he had been on the ice only 24 seconds. The rookie's initiation ended when he was pounded by Washington's Donald Brashear in the final seconds as Brashear earned a penalty for roughing.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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It's never too early in the season to drop the gloves as Eric Boulton and John Erskine do in the 3rd period. (AP)
It's never too early in the season to drop the gloves as Eric Boulton and John Erskine do in the 3rd period. (AP)
Scoreboard
Washington (0-1-0)1304
Atlanta  (1-0-0) «3137
Three Stars
B. Little
ATL


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
K. Lehtonen
ATL


Saves: 39
Save Pct.: .907
N. Havelid
ATL


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
08:20Power Play - Ron Hainsey (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: White, Williams
11:24Marty Reasoner (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Little, Perrin
13:48Bryan Little (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Havelid
14:11Alexander Semin (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Fedorov, Green
2ND PERIOD
09:10Short - Dave Steckel (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Poti, Semin
09:30Power Play - Slava Kozlov (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Havelid, Enstrom
13:47Power Play - Mike Green (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Nylander, Backstrom
14:39Power Play - Mike Green (2), Tip-In. Assist: Semin, Kozlov
3RD PERIOD
13:57Bryan Little (2), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kozlov, Christensen
14:26Colby Armstrong (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Perrin, Hainsey
16:07Power Play - Todd White (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kovalchuk, Havelid
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:52Bogosian, 2 min, Holding
08:06Poti, 2 min, Tripping
11:43Kozlov, 2 min, Holding
15:31Ovechkin, 2 min, Interference
15:45Schneider, 2 min, Tripping
17:54Lehtonen, 2 min, Tripping
18:38Nylander, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
02:45Bogosian, 2 min, Hooking
08:08Morrisonn, 2 min, Interference
10:11Ovechkin, 2 min, Hooking
12:52Reasoner, 4 min, High-Sticking
17:32Schultz, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
03:38Armstrong, 2 min, Slashing
14:57Kozlov, 2 min, Hooking
17:44Erskine, 5 min, Fighting
17:44Boulton, 5 min, Fighting
19:40Brashear, 5 min, Fighting
19:40Bogosian, 5 min, Fighting
19:40Brashear, 2 min, Roughing
19:48Thorburn, 5 min, Fighting
19:48Bradley, 5 min, Fighting
Shots On Goal
 123T
Washington13171343
Atlanta1210931
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Brent Johnson30:30113
Jose Theodore29:30134
Kari Lehtonen60:00394
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Washington2-for-4
Atlanta3-for-6
Game Information
Attendance - 18545
Referees - Tim Peel, Justin St. Pierre
Linesmen - Greg Devorski, Andy McElman
 
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Buf 2
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StL 5
Fla 4 Final
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NJ 2
Colu 5 Final
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Dal 4
Chi 2 Final
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