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Pavelec makes 36 saves, Thrashers blank Caps 1-0

Ondrej Pavelec made 36 saves for his third shutout of the season and Nik Antropov scored the only goal as the Atlanta Thrashers won for only the fifth time in 17 games, blanking Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Pavelec stifled the Capitals with several huge saves, sending the Thrashers into the All-Star break with a good feeling after their toughest stretch of the season. Atlanta, coming off an embarrassing 7-1 rout at Tampa Bay, snapped a three-game losing streak.

Antropov scored at 11:21 of the second period after Washington defenseman Jeff Schultz lost control of a bouncing puck backing into his own zone. Freddy Modin gobbled it up and found Antropov breaking in all alone on Semyon Varlamov. The Atlanta center beat the goalie to the glove side for his ninth goal and fifth point in six games.

Varlamov made 23 saves.

The Thrashers won for the fourth time in six games against their division rival this season, and two of Pavelec's shutouts have come against Washington. He also blanked the Capitals 5-0 on Nov. 19.

Not that Washington didn't throw everything it could at the Atlanta goalie.

The Capitals' frustration was never more obvious than a sequence with about 7½ minutes to go, after the Thrashers had just killed off a Washington power play.

Schultz ripped a screened shot from just inside the blue line, but Pavelec turned it aside with his right pad. The puck ricocheted off the boards and wound up back in front for Brooks Laich to get a whack at it. Pavelec stopped that one, too, and covered up amid a scrum of players in front of the net.

Schultz threw back his head in disbelief when the referee whistled the play to a halt.

Pavelec made another big stop in the final minute after the Capitals pulled Varlamov. Mike Green took a pass and moved in all alone off the right wing, ripping a shot from about 15 feet away. Pavelec whipped out his glove and snatched it out of the air.

Green skated on behind the net, looking as though he was about to slam his stick into the glass before catching himself.

NOTES: Ovechkin was shaken up while sitting on the Capitals bench in the third period. He appeared to be struck over his left eye with a teammates' stick, and spent several minutes holding his head and grimacing in pain. ... All-Star Dustin Byfuglien, the Thrashers' top scorer, was held without a point for the 10th straight game.