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Bruins 5, Thrashers 4 @NHLdotcom

BOSTON (AP) -The format of the Bruins game against the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night was changed because of incorrect faceoff markings at one end of TD Banknorth Garden.

In the third period, the teams switched ends with 10:02 to play.

The Bruins issued a statement about 40 minutes before the game that said "the change in format is occurring due to incorrect markings on the West End of the TD Banknorth Garden ice. ... The two face-off dots are 24 feet from the goal line - 4 feet longer than NHL specifications."

"A member of the media brought it to the attention of one of our assistant coaches after the morning skate," Bruins director of communications Matt Chmura said. "Then we brought it to the attention of the Garden."

Chmura would not identify the media member.

After the game, Boston coach Claude Julien said it didn't affect play in any game this season.

"I don't think it had any bearing on any game we've played," he said.

The few Thrashers players that were asked about it seemed to agree.

"I still don't even get what's going on out there," winger Colby Armstrong said. "They tried to explain it to me and I still can't even figure out what's going on out so I've never seen that before. But it had nothing to do with the game."

This was the third home game for the Bruins, who opened the season Monday against Pittsburgh, hosted Toronto on Thursday. Boston also played a pair of preseason games on the Garden ice.

"I don't think it makes a difference," Atlanta coach John Anderson said. "It was what it was. It's fair for both sides. It reminds me of European hockey. They used to do that all the time."

The PA announcer informed the fans of the format change early in the opening period.

"Of the many tasks the Garden operations team is called upon to perform each season, painting and marking the ice sheet is one of the more routine and straightforward," TD Banknorth Garden president John Wentzell said in the statement. "Therefore, this oversight is simply an inexcusable and disappointing error for which we apologize to the Boston Bruins and the NHL at-large."

The Bruins said the error will be corrected before the next home game, Nov. 1 against Dallas.

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