The Thrashers and Capitals seem to be surprisingly evenly matched this year when it comes to playing each other. The Thrashers lead the all-time series 17-13-2-3, which might seem shocking considering how people focus on the domination of Alexander Semin and Alexander Ovechkin. Recently, though, one of those two hasn't exactly been playing up to his usual level. Alexander Ovechkin hasn't scored a goal in nine games and only has ten on the season - third on his team. He does lead the Capitals in points with 33, which means that he's broadened his game to include assists, which still makes him dangerous. Semin and Nicklas Backstrom are just as deadly, with a 19.1 and 18.6 shooting percentage, respectively. Alexander Semin leads his club with 18 goals, and has three hat tricks on the year - one of which came against Atlanta on October 23rd.
The Thrashers seem to be very generous with the hat tricks this season, giving one to Semin, Evgeny Malkin, and Sidney Crosby. The key to limiting the Capitals, though, is to keep as many of them as possible off of the scoresheet. The last game in Washington, a 6-4 loss, saw players such as fighter John Erskine score the winning goal and Mike Green and Dave Hendricks net one each. Goalie Ondrej Pavelec has been excellent in keeping people in general off of the scoresheet - he has the second best GAA (1.75) and save percentage (.945) in the NHL. Chris Mason started the last two contests in Washington, and saw himself pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots.
Mason has not played well against the Capitals, but Evander Kane has. Kane has scored five goals against Washington so far this season. Unfortunately, he is a game-time decision as he is still recovering from taking a slapshot off of the knee during Tuesday's win in Denver. Freddy Meyer filled in for him at forward Thursday night, and the team missed the "pop" Kane gives them on the forecheck.
The Thrashers have outscored the Caps 16-12 thus far this season. There's nothing stopping Atlanta from adding a few more goals to that total. The trick is keeping the Capitals from doing the same. Puck drops at 7:00, and the game is televised tonight on FoxSports South.