The Boston Bruins began their current winning streak with back-to-back wins against the Atlanta Thrashers earlier this month, and it could be argued that their season really took off when they had their first meeting with Atlanta back in October.
The Bruins look to win their eighth straight Sunday when they try to continue their success this season against the Thrashers.
Boston (26-5-4) is looking to extend its longest winning streak since winning the final eight games of the 1992-93 season and it has a good chance at doing so visiting an Atlanta team (12-19-4) it has already beaten three times this season, including twice to open this winning streak.
When Boston first met the Thrashers this season on Oct. 25, it entered the game 2-2-3.
The Bruins' latest victory was a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Blake Wheeler scored twice and Michael Ryder added the eventual game winner with 6:14 left.
"We just get key contributions from guys," said Boston center Marc Savard, who had two assists. "When someone is not going, someone else steps up. Tonight it was Wheeler with two goals. That was big for us."
Boston's last three wins have come on the road, where they've outscored opponents 12-5. On Saturday, Tim Thomas made his second straight start after recording a shutout in his previous outing, and made 29 saves to improve to 15-3-3 this season.
"They pressured us and they pushed us, especially in the second period," Thomas said. "It was like we haven't been pushed in a long time. They kept us in our zone for a good portion. It, actually in the long run, could be good for us to get pushed by a team like this."
Thomas is 4-3-1 with a 3.07 goals-against average facing the Thrashers and he recorded one win against them this season, but Manny Fernandez may get the start since he was in net for the other two meetings - including a 4-2 victory on Dec. 13 - to improve to 6-0-0 with a 1.84 GAA in his career against the Thrashers.
Boston has outscored Atlanta 16-9 in this season's three wins and it has won the last five meetings since a 5-0 loss in Atlanta on Dec. 29, 2007. Phil Kessel, who did not record a point Saturday after his 18-game point streak ended in Boston's previous game, has two goals and three assists against the Thrashers this season.
Atlanta, meanwhile, has alternated decisions in last six games, losing 5-4 to Carolina on Friday.
Bryan Little recorded his first career hat trick, giving the Thrashers a 4-3 advantage early in the third period. Johan Hedberg, however, gave up three goals on 15 shots in the period, including two to Eric Staal.
"Everything was bouncing my way tonight," Little said, "but still it doesn't feel great because we lost."
Little has five goals in his last two games, and 17 for the season.
|M. St Pierre||4||0||1||1||+1||2||0||0|