Sports News

Thrashers blank Caps to end skid

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Ondrej Pavelec shut out the Washington Capitals with 36 saves to give Atlanta a 1-0 victory on Wednesday that ended the Thrashers’ three-game skid.

Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, who had a hat-trick against Toronto on Saturday, fired eight shots at Pavelec but the Czech netminder was unbeatable, recording his third shutout of the season.

Nik Antropov scored the winner at 11:21 in the second period to help the struggling Thrashers (24-19-9) head to the All-Star break on a positive note.

“It was time to step up,” said Pavelec, who was pulled from net in his previous start, a 7-1 loss to Tampa Bay, on Sunday. “The last couple of games we didn’t play well, and I didn’t feel well in the net the past couple of games,” he told reporters.

Atlanta’s co-leading points scorer Dustin Byfuglien extended his barren streak to 10 games while the Thrashers also learned All-Star defenseman Toby Enstrom will miss several weeks with a broken finger.

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau lamented his team’s inability to put the puck in the net.

“We got a lot of guys playing right now that aren’t used to scoring a lot of goals and the guys that are getting the great chances are the guys who maybe should be scoring the goals - they’re not,” said Boudreau.

Washington goaltender Semyon Varlamov finished with 23 stops. The Capitals (27-15-9), fifth in the Eastern Conference, finished their season series with Atlanta by losing four of six against their Southeast division rivals.

Atlanta remain eighth in the East, a point in front of Carolina.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Peter Rutherford; to query or comment on this story email