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Atlanta
Thrashers
41-33-8
Boston
Bruins
29-37-16
SO
40 SOG
31 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTsoT
ATL ()
BOS ()
game preview

Thrashers-Bruins Preview

Tuesday, 03.21.2006 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Thrashers-Bruins Preview
Atlanta Thrashers vs. Boston Bruins

GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (33-29-6) at Boston Bruins (27-31-11).

TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Boston Bruins try to continue their success against the Atlanta Thrashers when the teams face off at TD Banknorth Garden in a game important to the playoff hopes of both clubs.

Boston is 4-0-1 with one tie versus Atlanta in the last six meetings and 13-5-2 with two ties all time.

The Bruins are haven't lost at home to the Thrashers since a 7-5 defeat on March 10, 2001, a span of seven games.

Owning the 13th seed in the Eastern Conference with 65 points, the Bruins trail Montreal by eight points for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Thrashers are in ninth place in the East, just one point behind the Canadiens and seven ahead of Boston.

Coming off victories over Ottawa and Carolina - the top two teams in the conference - the Bruins played another top opponent on Monday in the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers. This time, Boston lost 5-2 in Brian Leetch's first game against his former team.

Leetch played with the Rangers from 1987-2004 before being traded to Toronto.

"I skated around in a fog out there," said Leetch, who had 240 goals and 741 assists in 1,129 games with New York. "Unfortunately it showed and our team played that way, too. It's hard to play a hockey game when your mind is like that."

Brad Boyes scored in the third period for Boston, tying Patrice Bergeron for the team lead with 22 goals. Boyes has six goals and two assists during a six-game points streak.

Atlanta tied a franchise record with its 33rd victory of the season Monday, shutting out Buffalo 5-0. The Thrashers have won 10 of their last 14 games.

Atlanta has a tough remaining schedule, though, with nine of its final 14 games on the road. The Thrashers are just 14-16-2 away from home.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen made 20 saves Monday for his second shutout of the season, and Ilya Kovalchuk, Slava Kozlov and Peter Bondra each had a goal and an assist against the Sabres.

"This was the greatest game I have ever been involved in team-wise," Lehtonen said. "We played so well. We scored when we had a chance and did not give them many chances."

Kovalchuk, whose 43 goals are third in the league behind the Rangers' Jaromir Jagr (46) and the Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin (44), has eight goals and eight assists in his last 15 games.

He has 10 goals and eight assists in 14 games against the Bruins in his career, including at least one point in each of the last seven meetings.

STANDINGS: Thrashers - 72 points, 3rd place, 24 PB, Southeast Division. Bruins - 65 points, 5th place, 33 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Kovalchuk, 43 goals and 84 points; Marc Savard, 57 assists; Andy Sutton, 112 PIM. Bruins - Bergeron and Boyes, 22 goals; Bergeron, 36 assists and 58 points; Hal Gill, 106 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Thrashers - Power play: 19.1 percent (87 for 456), 6th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.3 percent (338 for 421), 24th. Bruins - Power play: 15.5 percent (56 for 361), 25th. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (344 for 409), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Lehtonen (16-12-0, 2 SO, 2.64 GAA); Mike Dunham (4-4-1, 1, 2.79). Bruins - Tim Thomas (10-8-5, 1, 2.44); Andrew Raycroft (8-18-2, 3.67).

SEASON SERIES: Bruins, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: March 2; Bruins, 3-2. At Boston, Marco Sturm scored a power-play goal with 2:41 left to back Raycroft, who made 20 saves to earn his first win since Jan. 7. Kovalchuk tallied his 38th goal for Atlanta.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 14-16-2 on the road; Bruins - 14-14-6 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 15 '06BOS 3 at ATL 4A. Sutton
Mar 21 '06ATL 5 at BOS 4 - SOJ. Slater
Mar 02 '06ATL 2 at BOS 3M. Sturm
Jan 24 '06BOS 3 at ATL 2P. Axelsson
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GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%