Thrashers host Bruins in battle for East's eighth seed
Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 7:00 PM
NHL.comBRUINS (32-27-12) at THRASHERS (32-29-11)
Boston 5-4-1; Atlanta 4-5-1
This is the last of four meetings. On Nov. 19, Patrice Bergeron
had the only goal of the shootout after Michael Ryder scored twice in regulation, lifting Boston to a 4-3 road win. … On Dec. 23, Marc Savard
, Daniel Paille
and Vladimir Sobotka scored goals in a 1:08 span of the first period to lead Boston to a 6-4 home win. … On Dec. 30, Byron Bitz, Marco Sturm and Steve Begin scored goals in the first 17 minutes of the first period to pace the Bruins to a 4-0 home win.
For all intents and purposes, this is a playoff game. The Bruins occupy the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with 76 points. The Thrashers are in ninth place, one point behind. Atlanta is 18-13-5 at home, while Boston is 17-13-6 on the road.
Boston hits the road for one game after earning a 2-1 home win against the New York Rangers on Sunday at TD Garden.
On Sunday, Boston received goals from Miroslav Satan and Dennis Wideman, and goaltender Tuukka Rask
made 23 saves. Boston moved five points ahead of 10th-place New York in the standings.
"I can't even remember when we won the last game 2-1," Rask said, "but it's something the team needs. We need these tight games and we need to win them. I think that's going to help us."
After Monday, the Bruins will have 10 games remaining in the regular season.
Atlanta is beginning a two-game homestand following a 3-1 victory at Philadelphia on Sunday.
Defenseman Ron Hainsey had a goal and a two assists and Ondrej Pavelec made 44 saves to sweep the Flyers in a weekend home-and-home series. The Thrashers won 5-2 Saturday in Atlanta and have now won four straight.
added a goal and an assist to help the Thrashers remain in ninth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
After Monday, the Thrashers will have nine games remaining in the regular season.
For the Bruins, David Krejci
has 2 goals and 5 assists in six games, Bergeron has 4 goals and 3 assists in seven games, Ryder has a goal and an assist in three games, and Mark Recchi has 3 goals and 3 assists in seven games. … For the Thrashers, Nik Antropov has 5 goals and 3 assists in five games, Maxim Afinogenov has 2 goals and 5 assists in five games, Tobias Enstrom has 5 assists in five games, Colby Armstrong has 4 goals and an assist in three games, and Hainsey has a goal and 4 assists in three games.
For the Bruins, Savard (concussion) is out indefinitely. … For the Thrashers, Evander Kane (broken foot) and Christoph Schubert (hip) are out indefinitely, and Boris Valabik (torn ACL) is on injured reserve.
The Bruins have taken points in 12 of their last 17 games at 9-5-3. … Nine of Boston’s last 11 wins have come on the road. … The Bruins have scored the first goal in eight of their last 11 games and 14 of their last 18. … Eleven Bruins have more points on the road than at home -- Bergeron, Andrew Ference
, Matt Hunwick, Krejci, Milan Lucic
, Recchi, Ryder, Satan, Dennis Seidenberg
, Sturm and Blake Wheeler. … From March 14-20, Antropov registered four consecutive multiple-point games, posting eight points (five goals, three assists) in that span. … Antropov has 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in his last 22 games. … Niclas Bergfors has 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists) and two game-winning goals in his first 17 games with the Thrashers since being acquired from New Jersey.
"The biggest game of the year is on Tuesday," Hainsey told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.