The Thrashers have a good habit of winning their season openers against the Capitals. Unfortunately, they're often the only wins the Thrashers have against the reigning President Trophy winners.
What're their odds tonight? They're made better by the injury to Capitals' goaltender Semyon Varlamov - an early season groin pull looks to have him be the odd goalie out on opening night. Rookie goalie Michael Neuvirth will be starting the first three games of the year with Varlamov on injured reserve. Neuvirth played reasonably well against Atlanta last season, going 2-0 with a 1.51 GAA and a .964 SV%. That was a very different Thrashers squad. The team's brought in some well-documented muscle and grit from the Western Conference in the forms of Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel, Dustin Byfuglien, Nigel Dawes, and Freddy Modin. They're going to give the offense-heavy Capitals a bit of a headache.
Players to watch on the Capitals are, of course, Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, and Mike Green. If the Thrashers' defense can neutralize these players, there's some hope for a win tonight.
Updates on line combinations for both teams, starting goaltenders, and analysis are forthcoming. I will try to update from the game, but if I'm unable to (and it is difficult to update live from a hockey game considering the pace of the sport), a full re-cap will be posted ASAP this evening after the game.
The game will be televised on SportSouth in HD, and will be broadcast on 680 The Fan beginning with a pre-game show at 6:00. If you're going to the game tonight, getting there by six will give you a chance to listen in to the pre-game show being broadcast live from the Philips Experience on the second level of Philips Arena.