LACKING 'KILLER INSTINCT,' WASHINGTON HANGS ON

THE BALTIMORE SUN

ATLANTA - -The Washington Capitals won their sixth game in a row and earned two points on the road against a Southeast Division opponent Thursday night. But you wouldn't have known it after seeing the scowl on coach Bruce Boudreau's face as he emerged from the visitors' dressing room, his hands stuffed in his pockets.

Boudreau had just watched his team build a three-goal lead against the Atlanta Thrashers, let up late in the second period, then hang on for a frantic 4-3 victory that got much too close for comfort.

Although the Capitals' effort was good enough to beat the Thrashers, who were playing without injured captain Ilya Kovalchuk, Boudreau knows it probably wouldn't have been good enough against a more formidable foe.

"We need to be able to finish teams off when we have the chance," he said. "We need that killer instinct and we haven't had that killer instinct. We let teams right back in the game."

In the first period, Alex Ovechkin extended his league-leading goal total with his 12th and 13th tallies of the season, marking his sixth two-goal performance in 12 games. Early in the second, Brendan Morrison scored the Capitals' second power-play goal of the night, marking the first time since the season opener they recorded two on the same night.

"And then we stopped skating and stopped playing," Boudreau said.

The Thrashers ended up putting 20 shots on goal in the third period alone, forcing goaltender Semyon Varlamov (38 saves) to repeatedly bail out his teammates.

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