THRASHERS (33-32-12) at BRUINS (43-23-11)
TV: FS-S (HD), NESN (HD)
Atlanta 5-4-1; Boston 5-3-2
This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the teams. The Thrashers have won two of three, mostly recently earning a 3-2 shootout victory on Dec. 30 in Atlanta.
While the Thrashers are teetering on mathematical elimination from the postseason, the Bruins can wrap up the Northeast Division by either earning a point or having the Canadiens lose to New Jersey. The Bruins can still win the Eastern Conference or catch the Caps for the No. 2 seed.
Don't take the Thrashers lightly -- they showed during a 1-0 road win against the East-leading Flyers that they aren't going to roll over down the stretch.
"The trouble with us is, we seem to have not been ready for teams that are near us in the point standings," said goaltender Chris Mason, who made 43 saves to beat the Flyers. "We come into a place like (Philadelphia) knowing we have to be ready or we'll get our butts kicked. I don't know what it is. Maybe we just get more prepared."
They had a chance to wrap up the Northeast against the Leafs on Wednesday, but the Bruins fell 4-3 in a shootout. They'll get another chance against the Thrashers in what will be the first game for Rich Peverley
against his old club since he was acquired from Atlanta at the trade deadline.
They'll need to raise their game if they want to avoid another loss to a non-playoff team.
"If your game is not at a certain level and you are not competing and not matching intensity that's what it boils down to," defenseman Andrew Ference
said. "(The Leafs) are a team that has played us real well."
Nik Antropov has had the only goal for the Thrashers in each of their last two games. Mason has won five of his last six decisions. ... Brad Marchand
has 2 goals and 2 assists during a three-game points streak for the Bruins. Nathan Horton
has 4 goals in the last five games.
Thrashers forwards Jim Slater (concussion) and Patrice Cormier (upper body) and defenseman Freddy Meyer (head) are out for the rest of the season. … Forward Shawn Thornton
missed the game against the Leafs after receiving 40 stitches above his right eye after getting hit by the skate of Chicago forward Fernando Pisani on Tuesday.
Blake Wheeler has 5 goals and 8 assists in 18 games with Atlanta. The 24-year-old wing had 27 points in 58 games for Boston this season. … The Bruins are 11-4-4 since the trades that brought them Peverley and Tomas Kaberle at the trade deadline.
"We've been playing pretty good hockey lately. We didn't have a bad game tonight. We bounced back from a bad first period. They're a good team. I think a lot of people underestimate them," Marchand said of Toronto following Thursday's defeat.