Atlanta at Washington

Caps overpower Thrashers, seize second place in East

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Like a shortstop fielding a line drive, Tomas Fleischmann stuck his glove in the air and caught the puck.

About a second later, he became the first of a half-dozen Washington Capitals to score -- and none of the six were named Alex Ovechkin.

Those weren't the usual suspects producing for the Capitals on Sunday as they wrapped up their home regular-season schedule with a 6-4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers.

"It's great to finally have some scoring from all over the place," said Eric Fehr, one of four Washington players to score in the third period. "Ovie's been carrying the workload pretty much all year."

Fehr's goal was only his second since Feb. 26. Michael Nylander tallied for only the second time since Feb. 3. Minor-league callup Keith Aucoin kept up his bid for a spot on the playoff roster with his second goal in two games.

But Fleischmann was the one really slumping. He had 15 goals in mid-January but had scored only twice since then. He broke an 14-game drought when he gloved Nathan Oystrick's clearing attempt and dropped the puck directly in front of goal for the easy shot past Johan Hedberg early in the first period.

"It was a break for me," Fleischmann said. "I haven't had a lot of bounces for me lately."

It's just what coach Bruce Boudreau wanted to see from player nicknamed "Flash."

"The relief on his eyes when he finally scored was like, 'Oh, man, I CAN play the game,"' Boudreau said. "You start to doubt yourself after a while, no matter who you are, when you have trouble scoring. I hope that adds a little confidence to his game."

Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich -- both more accustomed to finding the net -- scored the final two goals for the Capitals, who moved two points ahead of the New Jersey Devils in the battle for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Each team has three games remaining.

Ovechkin remained at an NHL-leading 55 goals despite taking 11 shots, but he did get two assists in his pursuit of Evgeni Malkin for the league's points title.

Washington trailed 3-2 after two periods, but Boudreau ranted at his players during the intermission and switched up the lines in the third.

"We were sleepwalking, it seemed like, for two periods," Boudreau said. "I hope it doesn't take me coming in and screaming and yelling to get them going. They've got to learn to do it on their own. You yell at your kids too much, they'll tune you out."

The Capitals finished with 29 wins at the Verizon Center, the second-most home victories in franchise history. Washington was virtually unbeatable on home ice during the first half of the season, winning 18 of its first 20, but took only 11 of the last 21.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 42nd goal, and Colby Armstrong, Jim Slater and Slava Kozlov also netted for Atlanta. Despite being out of playoff contention, the Thrashers had won four straight - including three against teams still in the postseason race.

"We kept up for two periods," defenseman Tobias Enstrom said, "and it seemed like we got a little tired in the third and they ran us down a little bit."

The two teams meet again in Atlanta on Tuesday.

"Definitely not the way we've been playing lately," Oystrick said. "We've just got to shake it off and get ready for the next one."

Notes

  • Aucoin scored his first power-play goal in the NHL and had his first multipoint game since Jan. 12, 2008, when he was with Carolina.
  • The Thrashers fended off a 5-on-2 power-play in the first period -- if only sticks are counted. Slater and Colin Stuart had their sticks shatter within seconds of each other while on the penalty kill, but the Capitals were unable to convert despite several good chances before the puck was finally smothered to stop play.
  • Ovechkin's point streak is at eight games (six goals, 10 assists).
  • Armstrong has a seven-game scoring streak (three goals, seven assists).
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The Capitals' Tomas Fleischmann notches his first multipoint game in almost two months.  (Getty Images)
The Capitals' Tomas Fleischmann notches his first multipoint game in almost two months. (Getty Images)

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Scoreboard
Atlanta (34-39-6)1214
Washington  (48-23-8) «1146
Three Stars
T. Fleischmann
WAS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
K. Aucoin
WAS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
M. Nylander
WAS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:13Tomas Fleischmann (18), Snap Shot, Unassisted.
07:48Colby Armstrong (20), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kozlov, Peverley
2ND PERIOD
01:23Short - Jim Slater (8), Backhand Shot. Assist: Perrin
09:43Power Play - Keith Aucoin (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Ovechkin, Semin
15:39Ilya Kovalchuk (42), Slap Shot. Assist: Little, White
3RD PERIOD
02:43Michael Nylander (9), Snap Shot. Assist: Laich, Fehr
05:04Eric Fehr (12), Backhand Shot. Assist: Laich, Nylander
08:20Alexander Semin (31), Wrist Shot. Assist: Fleischmann, Aucoin
19:16Slava Kozlov (26), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
19:47Brooks Laich (20), Empty Net. Assist: Backstrom, Ovechkin
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:12Valabik, 2 min, Tripping
08:36Oystrick, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
10:02Green, 2 min, High-Sticking
12:17Exelby, 2 min, Holding
15:24Jurcina, 2 min, High-Sticking
16:54Laich, 2 min, Tripping
19:55Hainsey, 2 min, Roughing
2ND PERIOD
03:05Bradley, 2 min, Hooking
06:06Armstrong, 2 min, Interference
09:28Peverley, 2 min, Hooking
15:53Aucoin, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
12:40Erskine, 2 min, Hooking
16:10Boulton, 2 min, Boarding
Shots On Goal
 123T
Atlanta107724
Washington6121533
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Johan Hedberg58:59275
Jose Theodore60:00204
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Atlanta0-for-6
Washington1-for-7
Game Information
Attendance - 18277
Referees - Dan Marouelli, Rob Martell
Linesmen - Tim Nowak, Pierre Champoux
 
Other Games
SJ 3 Final
Ana 2
Min 2 Final
Det 3
Chi 1 Final
OT
Colu 0
Colo 4 Final
Van 1
Pitt 2 Final
Fla 4