for this game

Little scores twice as Thrashers top Capitals in wild affair

Oct 11, 2008 - 5:05 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Bryan Little and Colby Armstrong made sure history did not repeat itself for the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena.

Little and Armstrong scored 29 seconds apart late in the third period to lead the Thrashers to a wild 7-4 win over the Washington Capitals in the season opener for both clubs on Friday.

Little added another goal and an assist while defenseman Ron Hainsey and Marty Reasoner scored in their debut for the Thrashers, who persevered despite squandering an early three-goal lead and gave coach John Anderson his first NHL victory.

"You could tell after we won how excited he was," Little said of Anderson, who led Atlanta's AHL affiliate in Chicago to the Calder Cup championship last season. "He is the kind of coach you want to play hard for. He was just as excited as a player out there, and that's what is special about him."

Todd White and Vyacheslav Kozlov each notched a goal and an assist for Atlanta, which improved to 3-5-1 in season-opening games.

Hainsey added an assist and fellow blue-liner Niclas Havelid collected three for the Thrashers, who raised their record to 2-3-1 in season openers at home.

"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," said Anderson, whose club set a franchise record for most tallies in a season opener. "We want our team to develop in scoring."

Defenseman Mike Green netted two goals and set up another while Alexander Semin recorded a tally and two assists for Washington, which lost to Atlanta in regulation just once (4-1-3) last season.

"I don't think we had the energy tonight," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "There were too many guys not doing their job. When you don't do your job, anyone can score seven goals. It's unacceptable. We have to go back to the drawing board and get better."

With the contest tied at 4-4, Little fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that beat goaltender Brent Johnson to the stick side with 6:03 remaining in the third. It was the second goal of the night for the 12th overall pick in 2006, whose first tally gave Atlanta a 3-0 bulge in the first period.

"The way we started last year (with six losses), we wanted to come out and get our first win of the season in our first game," Little said. "(It) could not have gone any better."

Armstrong followed Little's second goal with a slap shot from the right circle that sailed over the left shoulder of Johnson, giving the Thrashers a 6-4 advantage with 5:34 to go.

White erased all doubt with a power-play goal with 3:53 remaining.

For a while, it appeared to be deja vu all over again for the Thrashers, who had a three-goal bulge over the Capitals in their last meeting here in March but blew the lead by falling flat in the third period. Ironically, Anderson pointed toward correcting the mistakes from that game when addressing reporters at the annual coach's luncheon.

The Thrashers may have gotten the message.

"It could have gone either way at 4-4, but we kept going," Atlanta goaltender Kari Lehtonen said. "It was very exciting for the fans. There were a lot of things going on, lots of goals. In the end, it was great to see us win."

True to form, Atlanta looked unbeatable early on, scoring three times in a span of less than six minutes in the first period against former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner Jose Theodore. Hainsey buried a rebound from the doorstep during a power play 8:20 into the contest and Reasoner doubled the advantage 3:04 later, putting another rebound past Theodore.

Little made it 3-0 with 6:12 to go in the opening session, receiving a feed from Havelid and skating past a defender before converting a wrist shot from the inner edge of the right circle.

The Capitals, however, had the Thrashers right where they wanted them.

Semin got Washington on the board with a wrister from above the slot that whistled through traffic and beat Lehtonen to the stick side with 5:49 remaining in the first.

David Steckel cut the deficit to 3-2 with a shorthanded tally at 9:10 of the second, but Kozlov answered on the same power play 20 seconds later, chasing Theodore, who made just 13 saves in his debut with the Capitals.

Green tied the contest with tallies 52 seconds apart during Reasoner's high-sticking double-minor.

Reigning Hart, Art Ross and Maurice Richard Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin had a chance to snap the 4-4 deadlock as he was awarded a penalty shot four minutes into the third, when Atlanta defenseman Tobias Enstrom closed his hand on the puck in the crease after stopping a shot.

But Lehtonen made a pad save on the Russian superstar, who scored 65 goals last season, keeping the contest even.

"That was pretty exciting," Lehtonen said. "Toby made a huge save behind me in an empty net. He had to hold the puck. He did a great job. I didn't want to let him down."

Lehtonen made 39 saves for the Thrashers, while Johnson - who was seeking his 100th career victory - allowed three goals on 14 shots in relief of Theodore.

"We all know we can play better than that," Johnson said. "There are 81 games left. We have to regroup. Hats off to Atlanta, they started the season the way they wanted to. We climbed back in the game pretty well but had a few mishaps."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 1 3 0 4
    ATLANTA 3 1 3 7 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) RON HAINSEY 1 (TODD WHITE, JASON WILLIAMS) 8:20
    ATL - MARTY REASONER 1 (BRYAN LITTLE, ERIC PERRIN) 11:24
    ATL - BRYAN LITTLE 1 (NICLAS HAVELID) 13:48
    WAS - ALEXANDER SEMIN 1 (SERGEI FEDOROV, MIKE GREEN) 14:1

    Oct 10 10:23 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 4
    ATLANTA 7
    3RD PRD: ATL - (PP) TODD WHITE 1 (ILYA KOVALCHUK, NICLAS HAVELID)
    16:07

    Capitals 4, Thrashers 7  3rd - 3:53Oct 10 10:09 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 4
    ATLANTA 6
    3RD PRD: ATL - COLBY ARMSTRONG 1 (ERIC PERRIN, RON HAINSEY) 14:26

    Capitals 4, Thrashers 6  3rd - 5:34Oct 10 10:04 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 4
    ATLANTA 5
    3RD PRD: ATL - BRYAN LITTLE 2 (VYACHESLAV KOZLOV, ERIK CHRISTENSEN)
    13:57

    Capitals 4, Thrashers 5  3rd - 6:03Oct 10 10:01 PM
  • 0
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 72 roots

    Capitals 4, Thrashers 4  3rd - 15:59Oct 10 9:46 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Capitals 4, Thrashers 4  3rd - 4:01Oct 10 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 1 3 4
    ATLANTA 3 1 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) RON HAINSEY 1 (TODD WHITE, JASON WILLIAMS) 8:20
    ATL - MARTY REASONER 1 (BRYAN LITTLE, ERIC PERRIN) 11:24
    ATL - BRYAN LITTLE 1 (NICLAS HAVELID) 13:48
    WAS - ALEXANDER SEMIN 1 (SERGEI FEDOROV, MIK

    Oct 10 9:18 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 4
    ATLANTA 4
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) MIKE GREEN 2 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, VIKTOR KOZLOV)
    14:39

    Capitals 4, Thrashers 4  2nd - 5:21Oct 10 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 3
    ATLANTA 4
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) MIKE GREEN 1 (MICHAEL NYLANDER, NICKLAS BACKSTROM)
    13:47

    Capitals 3, Thrashers 4  2nd - 6:13Oct 10 9:07 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 2
    ATLANTA 4
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 1 (NICLAS HAVELID, TOBIAS
    ENSTROM) 9:30

    Capitals 2, Thrashers 4  2nd - 10:30Oct 10 9:01 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 2
    ATLANTA 3
    2ND PRD: WAS - (SH) DAVID STECKEL 1 (TOM POTI, ALEXANDER SEMIN) 9:10

    Capitals 2, Thrashers 3  2nd - 10:50Oct 10 9:00 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 1 1
    ATLANTA 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) RON HAINSEY 1 (TODD WHITE, JASON WILLIAMS) 8:20
    ATL - MARTY REASONER 1 (BRYAN LITTLE, ERIC PERRIN) 11:24
    ATL - BRYAN LITTLE 1 (NICLAS HAVELID) 13:48
    WAS - ALEXANDER SEMIN 1 (SERGEI FEDOROV) 14:

    Oct 10 8:23 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    ATLANTA 3
    1ST PRD: WAS - ALEXANDER SEMIN 1 (SERGEI FEDOROV) 14:11

    Capitals 1, Thrashers 3  1st - 5:49Oct 10 8:13 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    ATLANTA 3
    1ST PRD: ATL - BRYAN LITTLE 1 (NICLAS HAVELID) 13:48

    Capitals 0, Thrashers 3  1st - 6:12Oct 10 8:11 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    ATLANTA 2
    1ST PRD: ATL - MARTY REASONER 1 (BRYAN LITTLE, ERIC PERRIN) 11:24

    Capitals 0, Thrashers 2  1st - 8:36Oct 10 8:07 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - (PP) RON HAINSEY 1 (TODD WHITE, JASON WILLIAMS) 8:20

    Capitals 0, Thrashers 1  1st - 11:40Oct 10 8:00 PM