NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Washington
(Monday, April 17th)
Final Score: Washington 6, Atlanta 4
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Matt Pettinger scored a pair of goals to lead Washington to a 6-4, comeback win over Atlanta, dashing the playoff hopes of the Thrashers, at the Verizon Center.
Alexander Ovechkin notched his 52nd goal of the season and assisted on another for the Capitals, who have now won three of their last four games. Olaf Kolzig stopped 38-of-42 shots in the win.
Peter Bondra, Steve McCarthy, Bobby Holik and Garnet Exelby each lit the lamp for the Thrashers, whose loss eliminates them from playoff contention and allows Tampa Bay and Montreal to clinch the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
Mike Dunham allowed five goals on 23 shots while Michael Garnett gave up a goal on five shots before leaving with a leg injury.
The Capitals trailed by one heading into the third period, but Ovechkin tied it up at the 2:36 mark as he slapped a one-timer from the left circle past a sprawling Dunham.
Brian Willsie's 19th goal of the season put Washington on top, 5-4, with 11:02 remaining as Willsie's shot from the slot deflected off a defenseman and trickled past Dunham. Pettinger added his second goal of the game with a backhander that beat Dunham five hole to give Washington a two-goal cushion.
Atlanta jumped out to a 1-0 lead only 11 seconds into the contest as Scott Mellanby slid a pass to Holik in the high slot. Holik snapped a quick wrist shot that beat Kolzig glove side.
Washington answered with two goals in a 23-second span.
The first goal came as Brooks Laich emerged from a scramble in front of the net with the puck and flipped it past the glove of Dunham. The second came as Pettinger fired a slap shot from the left boards that found its way through traffic and between the pads of the Atlanta netminder, giving Washington a 2-1 lead.
Atlanta head coach Bob Hartley pulled Dunham for the remainder of the period in favor of Garnett following the goal, but put him back in at the start of the second period after Garnett sustained a leg injury towards the end of the first.
McCarthy evened things up with 1:40 left in the opening period as he backhanded a shot over the left shoulder of Kolzig from close range. However, the Capitals jumped back on top only 10 seconds later as Rico Fata redirected a pass from Laich that beat Garnett glove side.
The Thrashers assumed a 4-3 lead after two periods as they got a pair of goals in the second frame. Exelby notched his first goal of the season as he ripped a slap shot from the left point that beat a screened Kolzig stick side. Bondra netted the second goal of the period as he carried the puck down the right boards and swooped in on Kolzig. He then chipped the disc over the right pad of Kolzig from in close.
Despite the loss, Atlanta won five of the eight meetings between the two teams this season...Ovechkin's goal tied him with Bondra for third on the Capitals list with 52 goals...The Thrashers were 0-for-8 on the power play while Washington converted 1-of-6 chances with the man advantage...Exelby's goal snapped an 87-game goal drought.
04/17 22:04:53 ET