WASHINGTON | Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec had plenty of help in his latest superb effort against the Washington Capitals.
Not all the assistance came from his teammates.
It was the seventh win in eight games for the Thrashers, a run that began with Pavelec blanking Washington in Atlanta on Nov. 19. Pavelec was virtually impenetrable in this game, too; the lone flaw in his performance was a second-period goal by Alex Ovechkin.
“Our guys did a great job,” Pavelec said. “I always saw the first shot and they cleared the rebound, so it was a great team effort.”
“He made some good saves. I’m not denying that. And he feels very comfortable, obviously, playing us,” Boudreau said. “But I don’t think it was one of those games where he had to make a tremendous amount of second saves on the same play. That’s what scores goals.”
Boudreau said his players weren’t aggressive enough trying to secure rebounds or getting close to the net.
“It’s a lack of commitment to paying the price to score,” Boudreau said. “We’re all wanting to score. But we’re staying on the perimeter hoping to get the puck rather than being the guy that’s going to the puck.”
The Thrashers are 3-1-1 against the Capitals after going 0-6 in last season’s series, and Pavelec is 3-8 against Washington.
“It’s a huge win for us,” Atlanta coach Craig Ramsay said. “We talk every game about steps and details. It’s just another step, but it’s a step against one of the best teams in hockey. You have to like that, you have to enjoy it. You really need to savor the moment.”
Although Ovechkin ended his goal-scoring drought at a career-high tying nine games, the Capitals fell to 12-2-1 at home with their first loss against Atlanta at Verizon Center since February 2008.
“We didn’t find rebounds,” Ovechkin lamented.
Washington went 0 for 5 on the power play, mostly because Pavelec was so sharp.
“If you look at the power play, we’d have everybody in a circle looking to take one-timers,” Boudreau said. “There was no second-shot capability.”