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Capitals' power play stops Thrashers

THE Washington Capitals used their potent power play to edge the Atlanta Thrashers 4-3 on Thursday and maintain their slim lead over New Jersey in the battle for second place in the Eastern Conference.

The Southeast Division-leading Capitals scored three of their goals on the power play and now have an Eastern Conference-leading 63 on the year with a man advantage.

Despite the Capitals' success with the power play, head coach Bruce Boudreau was not pleased his team had to hold on for the one-goal victory over lowly Atlanta.

"We were really good early," Boudreau said. "We get cute. Once we had a little bit of success, instead of bearing down, we started to ad lib.

"It got us in trouble, especially in the third period."

With the Capitals holding a comfortable 4-2 lead, the Thrashers' Todd White scored a short-handed goal with two minutes remaining to make things interesting.

"We were a little shocked," said Washington right wing Eric Fehr, whose even-strength goal five minutes into the third period gave Washington a 4-2 lead.

"We shot back and managed to hang on. The team is going to get better by these kind of wins."

Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich scored power-play goals in the opening period for Washington before Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk countered with his own to trim the lead to 2-1.

Rich Peverley tied the score for Atlanta but defenseman Mike Green countered with his 23rd goal of the year, 16th on the power play, to give the Capitals a 3-2 advantage.

Washington was three for eight on the power play and trails only division leaders Detroit (76) and San Jose (66) for most in the league.

"They are an incredible power play team and have some of the most dangerous guys in the league," said Peverley.

"You can't take that many penalties against a team like that. They capitalized."

Washington remains in sole possession of second place in the conference with 83 points, two ahead of the New Jersey Devils, who crushed visiting Colorado 4-0.

In Boston, the Boston Bruins made it 12 goals in two games with a 6-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks. In Ottawa, San Jose edged Ottawa 2-1.

In other NHL action, it was: Panthers 2, Rangers 1; Devils 4, Avalanche 0; Hurricanes 2, Sabres 1, SO; Blue Jackets 1, Oilers 0; Blues 3, Stars 1; Predators 4, Coyotes 1; and Maple Leafs 5, Islanders 4, SO.


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