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Fehr slipped between the Thrashers defensemen near the Atlanta blue line, and Schultz hit him in stride with a perfect pass to spring a breakaway. He snapped the puck into the top-right corner of the net for his first goal of the season at 2:02 of the first period.

To replace Semin and Boyd Gordon (back) in the lineup, the Caps recalled Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux from Hershey, and they hooked up for the team’s second goal eight minutes into the period. Aucoin created a turnover in the neutral zone and helped send the Caps on a three-on-two.

Clark drove to the net to draw attention, leaving Aucoin plenty of space to send a cross-ice pass to Giroux, who beat Pavelec as he tried to slide feet-first into position.

Ilya Kovalchuk had a pair of goals for the Thrashers, including a six-on-four tally to draw the Thrashers within a goal in the final minute. Zach Bogosian had a short-handed tally to make it 5-3 as the Caps’ power play not only went 0-for-7 but yielded a goal.

“I never once felt comfortable in that entire game,” Boudreau said. “I just saw pucks bouncing and things going energywise - for both teams it wasn’t what it should be, but we’ll take the win.”