On Monday against the New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals played their new defensive game to near perfection. Yet, the bottom fell out midway through the third period and the Caps suffered a 2-1 shootout setback because of it. Luckily, Washington doesn't have much time to think about it as they head to Atlanta for the third and final time this season to take on the Thrashers in both teams' last game before this weekend's All-Star Game.
Wednesday's game will end the regular season series between the Capitals and Thrashers; in five games, the Caps are 2-3-0 against the Thrashers and have been outscored 19-13 after sweeping the season series last season. Washington's eight-game losing skid didn't do much to help matters and Atlanta even found themselves ahead of the Caps in the Southeast Division standings at one point. Atlanta, however, has been going through a losing streak of their own; the Thrashers have lost seven of eight with three of the losses coming in overtime or a shootout.
Washington's injury situation seems to be getting better. Matt Bradley and Alexander Semin both participated in limited practice Tuesday, but head coach Bruce Boudreau said that both players might not return until after Sunday's All-Star Game. Eric Fehr, Tom Poti and Michal Neuvirth are still recovering from injuries and their returns are uncertain.
As the Capitals' injury woes begin to clear up, the Thrashers' are just getting worse. All-Star defenseman Tobias Enstrom will miss both Wednesday's game and the All-Star game with a broken finger. Captain Andrew Ladd is day-to-day with a lower body injury, while goaltender Chris Mason is on injured reserve with a knee injury.