Despite the momentum provided by an exciting and improbable overtime win on Saturday night over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins suffered a setback Monday evening when they fell to the very talented Atlanta Thrashers, 5-3, before 14,084 fans at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Thrashers got out to a sizzling start, took advantage of four Boston minor penalties, and scored two goals in the first period to enjoy what would be a prophetic opening stanza.
Atlanta's Slava Kozlov scored his fifth of the year, a power play marker from Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk at 2:59. Then, the Thrashers Kovalchuk scored a power play goal of his own (from Steve McCarthy and Bobby Holik) at 7:40.
The goal was Kovalchuk's 10th of the season and sent the Bruins to the locker room down 2-0 at the intermission.
Boston's goaltender, Tim Thomas
, heroically kept the Thrashers off the board in the second period and his 28 saves through two stanzas kept the Bruins in the game.
Bruins Assistant Captain, Patrice Bergeron
, scored early in the period, notching his third of the season from Paul Mara and Marc Savard
. Bergeron's goal cut the Atlanta lead in half and gave the Bruins, and their fans watching at home on VERSUS, real hope going into the third period -- especially after Boston's miraculous comeback on Saturday.
However, despite a late shorthanded goal by Brad Boyes (unassisted) at 18:52, and Bergeron's second marker of the game (from Boyes and Mara) at 19:45, the Thrashers had already put the Bruins away in the first 10 minutes of the third.
Flying out of their locker room after the second intermission, Atlanta overwhelmed Thomas and the Bruins and broke out with three goals.
Kovalchuk scored his 11th of the season at 6:20, and Hossa added another goal, the eventual game winner, at 7:11 to make the score 4-1 Thrashers. Kovalchuk then netted his second of the period, his 12th goal of the season and his third marker of the game at 9:53 to put Atlanta up by a score of 5-1.
The fifth Thrashers goal cemented the Atlanta victory -- despite the very late Boston comeback that brought the Bruins two goals closer to their Eastern Conference cousins.
Boston, 4-6-2, and 5th in the Northeast Division, are now in the thick of their schedule. They host the red hot Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, a 7:00 p.m. game, available on NESN and WBZ NewsRadio.