The Thrashers are in a bit of a fight to hang on to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, but tonight Ondrej Pavelec put the team on his back and carried them to victory over the division rivals from Washington. Pavelec made 36 saves in earning his third shutout of the season and stymied a frustrated Capitals offense yet again, although this time it wasn’t due to lack of effort.
Nik Antropov scored the only goal of the game in the middle of the second period beating Semyon Varlamov who also had a stellar game in the loss. Varlamov stopped 23 shots on the night and did just about everything he could to help the Caps win. You can’t ask for much more than giving up just one goal, especially with the Caps offense, but on this night he was out-dueled by the fantastic Pavelec.
Atlanta now stays ahead of Carolina in the Eastern Conference with the win as the Hurricanes also won tonight against the Islanders. As these teams now break for the All-Star weekend, the Thrashers will be sending just Dustin Byfuglien to Raleigh for the weekend’s events while the Capitals send Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green.