The Eight Train – Alex Ovechkin was a man possessed on Wednesday. He played 21:32 to lead the team, recorded a hat trick and an assist, fired 19 shots (five were blocked, eight missed the mark and six went on goal), laid a pair of hits, earned the team’s hard-hat as the game’s hardest working player and took over the team scoring lead, passing teammate Alexander Semin.
Ovechkin erupted for his eighth multiple-point game of the season on Wednesday. He now has 10 goals and 24 points in his last 11 games and has a dozen goals and 29 points on the season. Ovechkin leads the NHL with 16 even strength points in the month of November.
Coming into Wednesday’s game, Ovechkin had just one power play goal on the season. He tripled that total with a pair against the Thrashers. Ovechkin’s 47 hits in November are second only to the 52 recorded by Boston’s Milan Lucic this month.
The hat trick was the sixth of Ovechkin’s career and his second against Atlanta. He now has 23 goals and 44 points in 26 career games against the Thrashers.
New Blood – With their roster depleted because of a spate of injuries, Washington recalled four players – defensemen Karl Alzner and Sami Lepisto and forwards Chris Bourque and Graham Mink – from its AHL Hershey affiliate today.
Alzner led all Caps defensemen with 21:06 in ice time and Lepisto had an assist on Ovechkin's first power play goal. Mink fired four shots on goal in 9:56 of work and Bourque had three shots and two hits in 11:42 on the night.
Shots Down – After allowing 30 or more shots on goal in five of their last six games, the Caps limited the Thrashers to just 18 shots on goal on Wednesday. That figure represents the fewest shots the Caps have allowed since Oct. 13 when they limited the Vancouver Canucks to just 10 shots on goal.
In A Flash – Tomas Fleischmann notched a pair of assists on Wednesday. He now has recorded a point in six of his last seven games and has four goals and seven points during that span.
Streaks –Nicklas Backstrom’s point streak was snapped at nine games, but Ovechkin extended his scoring streak to nine games.
Power Surge – The Capitals netted a pair of power play tallies on Wednesday, marking the eighth straight game in which Washington has scored at least one power play goal. The Caps have gone 11-for-36 (30.6%) with the extra man during that stretch.
Letter Men – With captain Chris Clark and alternate captain Sergei Fedorov on the sidelines, the Caps gave the alternate’s captain’s “A” to Matt Bradley and Donald Brashear.
Bear Tracks – Of the 20 Washington players suited up for action against Atlanta on Wednesday night, 10 have played for the Hershey Bears since the Caps began an affiliation with the AHL team in 2005-06. Eight of the 10 have played for current Caps coach Bruce Boudreau during his days as the Hershey bench boss, and seven played for the team during its run to a Calder Cup championship in the spring of 2006.
Contract for Boudreau – The South Carolina Stingrays signed forward Ben Boudreau, son of Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, to a contract on Wednesday. With the recalls from Hershey to Washington, the Bears called up three players from South Carolina so the Stingrays had a need for some players.
Boudreau played 13 games with Flint of the IHL this season, recording one goal, two points and six penalty minutes.
Payback – This was the third straight season in which Atlanta supplied the opposition for the Caps’ annual Thanksgiving Eve game. Atlanta won the first two, 4-2 and 5-1, respectively.
The Thrashers also defeated the Caps in the season opener in Atlanta on Oct. 10 by a score of 7-4.
On This Date in NHL History – This is a heavy, heavyweight day in the annals of the NHL. First and foremost, the National Hockey League was founded on this date 91 years ago (Nov. 26, 1917) in Montreal.
On Nov. 26, 1961, Gordie Howe became the first player in NHL history to play in 1,000 career regular season games for the Red Wings in a 4-1 loss at Chicago.
On Nov. 26, 1975, Bobby Orr played his final game as a member of the Boston Bruins, scoring a goal and adding an assist as the B’s forged a 6-4 win over the Rangers in New York.
On Nov. 26, 1991, Wayne Gretzky became the first player in NHL history to reach 500 or more points with two different teams when he notched his 500th point as a member of the Los Angeles Kings with a goal and three assists in a 4-4 tie with the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. Gretzky had already surpassed the 500-point plateau as a member of the Edmonton Oliers.
On Nov. 26, 2003, former Capital Scott Stevens played in his 1,616th regular season NHL contest to establish a record for most games played by an NHL defenseman. Stevens surpassed former Caps teammate Larry Murphy to move into the top spot.
Down On The Farm – The AHL Hershey Bears were depleted a bit by today’s recall of four key players from their roster, but they didn’t let it bother them. The Bears rolled to a 4-1 win over the Binghamton Senators on Wednesday night at Giant Center.
Oskar Osala led the Hershey attack with two goals and an assist to help support the 23-save effort of Simeon Varlamov (7-2). Osala now has 15 goals on the season. Keith Aucoin netted his ninth and Alexandre Giroux his 13th.
Aucoin and Giroux each had an assist as well and Mathieu Perreault also had a two-point night with a pair of assists. Defenseman Patrick McNeill recorded an assist for the fourth consecutive game.
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