Atlanta at Boston

Three quick goals help Bruins hold off Thrashers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins turned things around just in time for the Christmas break.

"Two huge wins before Christmas," Mark Recchi said Wednesday night after Boston beat Atlanta 6-4 for its second victory in three nights. "We hit a little bump there but we've showed character the last two games."

The Bruins, who won in Ottawa on Monday night to snap an 0-2-2 run, got goals from Marc Savard, Daniel Paille and Vladimir Sobotka in a 1:08 span of the first period before going on to a rather wild victory.

Savard added two assists -- all three points on the power play -- and Zdeno Chara also had a goal and two assists for the Bruins.

"I don't think we were on top of our game defensively," said Bruins coach Claude Julien, whose team is playing without two of its top six defensemen. "What was important was we found a way to win."

The wins over both Ottawa and Atlanta came against teams the Bruins are battling with in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Bruins, on an 0-for-13 power-play drought coming in, scored three power-play goals, two of them in 5-on-3 situations.

Boston had leads of 3-0 and 5-2, but a two-goal rally by Atlanta, the second goal by Ilya Kovalchuk with 4:52 left, made it close. Patrice Bergeron hit the empty net with 3.5 seconds left.

The win was Boston's eighth in a row over the Thrashers, who haven't beaten the Bruins since Dec. 29, 2007.

The Thrashers, opening a seven-game road swing (two of the games in Boston), have lost three straight games.

"At the 10-minute mark, we let down for about a minute there and we got a little discombobbled and they scored a couple of quick goals," Atlanta coach John Anderson said.

Savard scored to start the uprising at 9:44 of the period before Paille and Sobotka connected 20 seconds apart to chase goalie Ondrej Pavelec (three goals on eight shots). The Thrashers rallied on goals by Bryan Little and Maxim Afinogenov (one goal, two assists) in a 3-2 first period, but Chara, who set up Savard's goal, delivered during a two-man advantage early in the second period, off Savard's pass -- and Savard then assisted on Michael Ryder's 5-on-3 score in the third period.

Anderson was upset at a goalie interference call against Colby Armstrong, who appeared to have been dumped on top of Tim Thomas by defenseman Johnny Boychuk, that wiped out what would have a tying (3-3) goal and led to the 5-on-3 that gave the Bruins the 4-2 lead.

"I don't know where Armstrong was supposed to go there," Anderson said. "He's going out in front of the net and the guy drives him into his own goalie. We pick up the puck and score. That's a game-changing call. I just don't understand the rule right now, I guess. I agree with protect the goalie but you still have to play the game."

Evander Kane, who scored the disallowed goal, scored with 6:02 left for Atlanta, and Kovalchuk then connected.

Dennis Wideman added two assists for the Bruins.

Savard, stationed in the circle to the right of Pavelec, took a pass from Chara, waited for the goalie to drop down and fired the puck high into the net for his first goal in seven games.

Paille and Sobotka -- playing in his 100th NHL game -- then both scored on short tap-ins to KO Pavelec in favor of Johan Hedberg. Mark Recchi set up Paille's fourth of the year and Shawn Thornton did the same for Sobotka's fourth.

The offensive-minded Thrashers came right back as Little and Afinogenov scored 2:44 apart, Afinogenov assisting on Little's slapper that found its way through Thomas -- while Kovalchuk set up Afinogenov with a nifty pass -- Kovalchuk extending his points streak to eight straight games.

Notes

  • The Thrashers will be back in Boston next Wednesday night.
  • Bruins coach Claude Julien ran his 200th game behind the Boston bench. He's 112-59-29.
  • Thornton had gone 14 straight games without a point, but has three assists in the last five.
  • Kovalchuk has five goals and seven assists during his streak.
  • Bruins left wing Milan Lucic , out since Nov. 25 with a high ankle sprain, is skating and hopes to play as early as the Jan. 1 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, if not soon after.
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Michael Ryder fights backup goalie Johan Hedberg for a loose puck. (Getty Images)
Michael Ryder fights backup goalie Johan Hedberg for a loose puck. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Atlanta (18-14-4)2024
Boston  (18-11-7) «3126
Three Stars
M. Savard
BOS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
Z. Chara
BOS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
D. Paille
BOS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
09:44Power Play - Marc Savard (9), Snap Shot. Assist: Chara, Wideman
10:32Daniel Paille (4), Tip-In. Assist: Recchi, Begin
10:52Vladimir Sobotka (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Thornton, Hunwick
14:44Bryan Little (4), Slap Shot. Assist: Afinogenov
17:28Maxim Afinogenov (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kovalchuk, Bogosian
2ND PERIOD
02:14Power Play - Zdeno Chara (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Savard, Wideman
3RD PERIOD
09:32Power Play - Michael Ryder (9), Backhand Shot. Assist: Bergeron, Savard
13:58Evander Kane (9), Wrist Shot. Assist: White, Armstrong
15:08Ilya Kovalchuk (21), Wrist Shot. Assist: Afinogenov, Antropov
19:56Patrice Bergeron (10), Empty Net. Assist: Recchi, Chara
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
08:43Enstrom, 2 min, Tripping
12:40Begin, 2 min, Interference
17:59Bergeron, 2 min, High-Sticking
2ND PERIOD
28.0Armstrong, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
43.0Reasoner, 2 min, Tripping
12:49Begin, 2 min, Slashing
3RD PERIOD
06:59McQuaid, 2 min, Roughing
07:34Kovalchuk, 2 min, Tripping
08:17Afinogenov, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
 123T
Atlanta1171129
Boston1071431
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Johan Hedberg48:10202
Ondrej Pavelec10:5253
Tim Thomas60:00254
Game Information
Attendance - 17565
Referees - Stephane Auger, Chris Rooney
Linesmen - Brian Murphy, Tony Sericolo
 
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