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.

"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 sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)