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Knuble, Semin lead high-scoring Capitals past slumping Thrashers 8-1 @NHLdotcom

ATLANTA - Mike Knuble and Alexander Semin each scored two goals, and the Washington Capitals beat Atlanta 8-1 on Saturday night for their fifth straight win over the Thrashers.

Michal Neuvirth stopped 38 shots in the runaway win.

The Capitals, who scored four goals in the third period, matched their season high for a game. They have scored at least four goals in three straight wins.

The Thrashers had ended a nine-game losing streak with a shootout win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

The Thrashers have allowed four or more goals in 11 of 13 games. They had not given up more than six before being overwhelmed by the Capitals.

Knuble, Semin and Nicklas Backstrom scored in the first period. Knuble pushed the lead to 4-0 with his second goal, on an assist from Alex Ovechkin, early in the second.

Semin, David Steckel, Tom Poti and Jason Chimera completed the rout with goals in the third period.

Maxim Afinogenov scored past a diving Neuvirth 14:14 into the second period for Atlanta's only goal.

Johan Hedberg stopped only five of nine shots before he was pulled early in the second period. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 24 shots in relief.

Washington leads the NHL with an average of 3.51 goals per game. The Capitals almost matched that in the opening 20 minutes. They scored even-strength, power-play and short-handed goals in the first period for a 3-0 lead despite being outshot 18-7.

Knuble scored on a deflection to open the scoring. Semin added a short-handed goal before Backstrom's power-play goal with 19 seconds remaining in the frame.

NOTES: The Capitals also had eight goals in an 8-2 win at Philadelphia on Dec. 5. ... D Poti's goal was his first of the season. He also had an assist. ... The Capitals have won four straight in Atlanta. ... Thrashers F Nik Antropov (hip) missed his third straight game. ... The game was the first of three straight for the Capitals at Southeast Division opponents. The swing also includes games at Tampa Bay and Florida. ... Neuvirth has played in six of the Capitals' last nine games.

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