The Boston Bruins may have thought they could cruise to victory against a struggling opponent in their last game, but instead they coughed up a two-goal lead and lost their third straight game.
They're unlikely to make the same mistake on Saturday, when they'll again look for their first home victory of their season against the Atlanta Thrashers, who are hoping to salvage one victory on their three-game road trip.
Following back-to-back shootout losses, the Bruins (2-2-3) looked primed to snap their skid Thursday against Toronto, as they took a 2-0 lead after the first period. But the lead was gone halfway through the second, and the Maple Leafs went on to a 4-2 victory.
"I guess we kind of took them lightly, like we were going to run them out of the building," Boston forward Milan Lucic said. "But they kept working and working and working."
Not much has been working offensively for the Bruins in recent games, as they've tallied just five goals in three games during their losing streak.
Boston is hoping Patrice Bergeron can help provide more productivity after scoring his first goal in more than a year Thursday. Bergeron missed nearly all of last season after a severe concussion.
"He's been working hard, he's been playing well," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Hopefully this is something that will get him going."
The Bruins also need Marc Savard to find his scoring touch. The veteran center, who was a standout for Atlanta before joining Boston for the 2006-07 season, has been held without a point during the Bruins' losing streak after totaling five goals and four assists in his first four games.
Savard has just five points in eight games against Atlanta since signing with the Bruins, but another former Thrashers forward helped bury his former team on Friday night, when Marian Hossa had two goals and an assist for Detroit in the Red Wings' 5-3 win.
"It seemed every time he got the puck in our zone, he created something toward the goal," Atlanta defenseman Ron Hainsey said of Hossa.
The Thrashers (2-3-2) have had trouble stopping most opponents. Against Detroit, they allowed 46 shots on goal, and their 36.7 shots allowed per game ranks last in the NHL. As a result, goalie Kari Lehtonen leads the league with 234 saves, but has a 2.98 goals-against average.
Lehtonen, who has started all seven of Atlanta's games this season, had won five straight starts against Boston before his last outing versus the Bruins, a 5-2 loss at TD Banknorth Garden last Dec. 31.
Boston has rotated goalies throughout its first seven games, which would put Manny Fernandez on track to start Saturday. Fernandez's stellar record against the Thrashers - 4-0-0 with a 1.16 GAA - could be another reason to play him, though he hasn't faced Atlanta as a member of the Bruins and has beaten them just once since 2003.
The Bruins won three of four against the Thrashers last season, including both meetings in Boston, after losing the previous six games in the series.
Atlanta is still looking for its first road win of the season. The Thrashers have started 0-1-2 on the road after going 15-21-5 last season.