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Bruins lose season finale, 4-3

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
By Jeremy Lemoine

Atlanta, GA - Andy Sutton scored the game-winner six minutes into the third period to give the Atlanta Thrashers a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon at Philips Arena. The Bruins jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 3-2, but Atlanta refused to quit and prevailed in a game with playoff implications on the line. Travis Green scored a goal and assisted on another, while netminder Tim Thomas made 31 saves in the Bruins season finale.

The Thrashers have never made it to the playoffs since entering the NHL. The last hockey team the city of Atlanta saw make it to the playoffs was the 1980 Atlanta Flames. The win puts them just one point behind Tampa Bay in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins, who will miss the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, dropped their fifth straight game. Despite the loss, Boston won the season series against Atlanta with a record of 2-1-1.

At 7:40 of the first period, Mariusz Czerkawski notched his eighth goal of the season to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Travis Green chipped the puck up the boards to Czerkawski, who raced into the Atlanta zone and ripped a slap shot that beat Thrashers goalie Mike Dunham five-hole from just above the left face off circle.

Three minutes later, Patrice Bergeron set up Marco Sturm for a 2-0 lead. Bergeron fought for a loose puck in the corner and quickly threw it out front for Sturm, who one-timed it through Dunham's legs for No. 29 of the season.

Just 1:30 after Boston's second goal, Sutton redirected a Niclas Havelid slap shot from the point that rang off the post and into to the net to cut the Bruins lead to one.

Marc Savard was awarded a penalty shot when Milan Jurcina and Glen Murray hauled him down on a breakaway. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas denied Savard's shot with a blocker save with 4:51 remaining in the first period.

Then, a minute later, the Thrasher's pulled even at two apiece on Jim Slater's 10th of the season. On a two-on-one, Slater elected to shoot and beat Thomas five-hole.

The Bruins took back a 3-2 lead with the only goal of the second period at 5:31. Travis Green scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway for his 10th goal of the season.

After Thomas saved all 11 shots he faced in the second period, Atlanta was able to storm back and score two goals in the third period to take the lead and keep it.

First, Scott Mellanby tied it up at 3-3 for the Thrashers six minutes into the third period. Then, the Thrashers took their first and only lead of the game at 9:09 of the third period. Sutton scored his second goal of the game on a slap shot from the right circle that beat Thomas high glove side. The goal gave Atlanta a 4-3 lead they never gave back.

2006 Draft status to be determined on Thursday for Bruins

The National Hockey League Draft Drawing, a weighted lottery system to determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the 2006 Entry Draft, will take place Thursday, April 20, at 12 p.m., ET, at the NHL's New York office.

The Draft Drawing will involve clubs that do not qualify for this season's Stanley Cup Playoffs, or clubs that acquired the first-round drafting positions of those non-playoff clubs. The Draft Drawing result does not affect the draft order for the remainder of the first round and rounds two through seven.

The club selected in the Draft Drawing may not move up more than four positions in the draft order. Thus the only clubs with the opportunity to receive the first overall selection are the five clubs with the lowest regular-season point totals (or clubs that acquired those clubs' first-round drafting positions). No club can move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Drawing.
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