Originally created 12/16/01

Thrashers fall to Capitals

WASHINGTON -- Jaromir Jagr ended a scoring slump with two goals and the Washington Capitals beat struggling Atlanta 5-2 Saturday, extending the Thrashers' winless streak to seven games.

Patrik Stefan scored twice for Atlanta, on an 0-5-2 skid. The points were his first in five games since spending five games in the minors.

Peter Bondra tallied twice and Joe Reekie also scored for the Capitals, who are 8-3-3 in their last 14 games and 7-1-1 in their last nine at home.

Washington is 2-0-1 in its last three games and improved to 6-0-1 lifetime against the Thrashers at MCI Center.

Goaltender Craig Billington, starting his first game since Nov. 27 because Olaf Kolzig is out with a sprained right ankle, made 23 saves for his first victory since March 24, 2001.

Jagr scored his first in 10 games 7:38 into the first period, pulling his own rebound away from goaltender Milan Hnilicka and pushing it past him for his 10th goal.

After Stefan redirected Chris Tamer's shot from the right point at 12:08, Reekie teed up a slap shot from the left point for a 2-1 Caps lead at 19:24, notching his first goal since Jan. 19, 2001, 58 games ago.

Stefan's second goal of the game tied it 3:53 into the second period. Trailing a rush into the Capitals' zone, Stefan collected a loose puck after Ilya Kolavchuk was hip-checked out of the play by Reekie and beat Billington high and to the stick side.

Bondra restored the Washington lead to 3-2 at 8:01 with his 20th goal. Dmitri Khristich's try from the right post bounced off Hnilicka, then caromed in off Bondra, who was tied up at the left post.

In the third period, Jagr and Bondra each scored their second goal of the game to pad the lead.

Notes: Hnilicka, who was 2-0-2 lifetime versus the Capitals, has faced 30 or more shots in 19 of his 23 games. G Corey Hirsch was an emergency recall from AHL Portland to back up Billington. ... Washington played without C Andrei Nikolishin (bruised left leg) and LW Dainius Zubrus (groin strain). ... LW Tommy Kallio returned to the Thrashers after missing six games with a mild concussion.


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