Lehtonen stops 36 shots to carry Thrashers over Capitals

WASHINGTON - Kari Lehtonen had 36 saves in his third shutout of the season, and the Atlanta Thrashers beat the Washington Capitals 2-0 Saturday night despite playing without leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk and mustering only 13 shots on goal.

Todd White broke up a scoreless duel with 8:26 left, beating Olie Kolzig with a shot between the circles after taking a centering pass from Mark Recchi. Marian Hossa added an empty-net goal with 40 seconds remaining.

The loss ended Washington's five-game home winning streak. Alex Ovechkin had four goals and an assist in Washington's previous game, a 5-4 win over Montreal, and tallied 18 goals in his previous nine starts. But Atlanta limited the NHL's leading scorer to only three futile shots over the first two periods and seven overall.

It was the second time in three games that the Capitals were shut out.

Kovalchuk missed a second straight game with an injured right knee, but the Thrashers made up for his absence with a tight defensive effort and a superb job in goal by Lehtonen, who earned his 10th career shutout.

Kovalchuk has 44 points in 30 career games against the Capitals, including three goals and five assists in four games this season. But the Thrashers didn't need him in this one.

Atlanta managed only one shot on goal in the opening 15 minutes, a long-range blast by Pacal Dupuis that Kolzig easily turned aside. The Thrashers took only two shots in the first period; Washington had eight, half of them on the power play and only one by Ovechkin.

With 13 minutes elapsed in the second period, the Capitals had a 16-4 advantage in shots on goal. Ovechkin nearly scored with a shot from below the left circle at the 14-minute mark, but Lehtonen made a sprawling save.

Notes: Atlanta leads the season series 3-2. ... Bobby Holik played in his 164th consecutive game with Atlanta, tied with Greg De Vries for second place in team history behind Kovalchuk (179). ... The Capitals have taken 105 more shots than their opponents in the first period.


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