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Things Could Get Heated in Atlanta

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins -- In years past, a trip to Atlanta - well, let's just say that the B's (12-7-2, 2nd in the Northeast) weren't circling the calendar in terms of the intensity of the rivalry or the relative strength of the opponent.

B's fans hope Santa is in Atlanta early this season.
Fast forward to November 2010, insert former Bruins assistant, now Thrashers bench boss Craig Ramsay, and set Atlanta (11-9-3, 3rd Southeast) on fire to the tune of a four game win streak and you have a pretty good late Sunday afternoon tilt in Georgia (5:00 p.m. on the 98.5 The Sports Hub & NESN).

"It's going to be a very hard game," said a stern-faced Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (21 games played, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points), before he and his teammates hopped a flight south on Saturday afternoon.

"They are playing extremely well -- they've won four games in a row, and have put up 35-plus shots in each of the wins.

"They are playing an extremely 'hard-working' system," added Chara of Atlanta, 5-4-1 in their last 10. "They play a simple game...[but] we have to be ready to compete and bring our game."

Just across the locker room, forward Blake Wheeler (21 GP, 4-4-8) was in agreement with his captain.

"They are a tough team to play against right now," he said. "They compete hard and do all the little things.

"They have some good coaches there and...they've made it really tough on their opponents and scoring chances are at a premium against them.

"So we know that it's not only going to take a good effort, but we have to play our systems to a 'T'," said Wheeler.

When asked about the club's thoughts about their recent play, Shawn Thornton sat back in his locker stall, sighed and said, "These losses at home are definitely getting old."

After a beat, the B's winger then turned his attention to Sundays game and to the things the Black & Gold (also 5-4-1 in their last 10) must do in order to improve their fortunes.

"We're going to have to go out and battle a little harder, execute a little better on all areas of the ice," he said. "We know this team is going to work hard -- we know their coach pretty well for being here for three years. We know he's going to have them prepared to play, and I think they're a pretty hot team right now.

"So, we are going to have to be ready to go."
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