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TIME: Saturday, 2 p.m. EDT.
The Atlanta Thrashers continue their battle for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference when they try to extend their franchise-record home winning streak to six games with a matchup against the Boston Bruins.
Atlanta has never been to the playoffs and is in ninth place in the East, trailing Tampa Bay by three points for the final spot. The Thrashers have three games remaining, while the Lightning have two contests left.
"The fumes are coming out, but we're still running," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said after his team beat Washington 5-3 Thursday for its third straight win. "We have the pedal to the medal all the way down. I'm not going to let anyone slow down. We need three more wins. There's no way we can settle for less.
"I said we would make a run, and we're honest people. We'll work to the last game and see where it takes us. We'll either go home or go to the playoffs."
Marian Hossa scored two goals and added two assists Thursday to make Atlanta the only team in the NHL that has three players with 90 points. Hossa (91) joined Ilya Kovalchuk (98) and Marc Savard (97), who both contributed to the victory.
Kovalchuk had a goal and has a seven-game point streak with seven goals and five assists in that span, while Savard had two assists and has an eight-game point streak with two goals and nine assists in those contests.
Atlanta played its third straight game with backup goaltender Mike Dunham filling in for injured starter Kari Lehtonen, who is expected to miss the rest of the regular season with a sprained left ankle.
Dunham has a 2.33 goals-against average in winning all three of those starts, and will be looking to help the Thrashers end their poor play against the Bruins. Atlanta has just one win in its last six games against Boston, which is playing its final game of 2005-06.
The Bruins, out of the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, fell 4-3 to Montreal on Thursday for their fourth straight loss.
"It is disappointing, but it's been a season of disappointments," Thomas said.
STANDINGS: Bruins - 74 points, 5th place, 37 PB, Northeast Division. Thrashers - 87 points, 3rd place, 24 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Bergeron, 31 goals and 72 points; Brad Boyes, 43 assists; Hal Gill, 122 PIM. Thrashers - Kovalchuk, 52 goals and 98 points; Savard, 69 assists; Andy Sutton, 140 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 13): Bruins - Power play: 14.9 percent (62 for 416), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.6 percent (397 for 475), 13th. Thrashers - Power play: 19.6 percent (100 for 511), 5th. Penalty killing: 79.1 percent (379 for 479), 26th.
GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Thomas (12-12-10, 1 SO, 2.73 GAA); Andrew Raycroft (8-19-2, 3.71). Thrashers - Dunham (7-4-2, 1, 2.48); Michael Garnett (10-7-0, 2, 3.44).
SEASON SERIES: Bruins, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: March 21; Thrashers, 5-4 (SO). At Boston, the Thrashers overcame a two-goal deficit in the third period and Jim Slater scored in the fourth extra shootout session.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 13-21-6 on the road; Thrashers - 23-13-4 at home.