Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now

Atlanta at Boston

Ryder helps Bruins clinch division, oust Thrashers

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

BOSTON -- It had been more than a month since Michael Ryder's last goal and all that stood in his way this time was the goalie.

Ryder scored on a penalty shot with 7:29 left to break a third-period tie on Saturday, leading the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers that clinched the Northeast Division title.

"I knew if I could score, it would get the team going," Ryder said. "We have a few games left, and we're hoping we can move up even further."

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
Complete Playoff Race >>

Ryder stole the puck from Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian at center ice and was racing in alone on the goal when he was slashed by Atlanta's Johnny Oduya before he got to the crease. Ryder was given a penalty shot and he slowly made his way toward Ondrej Pavelec before wristing it over the goalie's left shoulder.

Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots for the Bruins, who lead Montreal by 10 points and can finish no worse than a No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with home-ice advantage in the first round. Boston is two points behind Washington and three behind Philadelphia with four games remaining.

"It's what a lot of teams battle for," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I'm just glad that's out of the way. We've got to keep winning games and see where we end up."

Pavelec made 20 saves for the Thrashers, who were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. The Thrashers pulled the goalie with over a minute left, but were unable to mount any sustained pressure in the Bruins' zone.

"I felt like we had a good start of the season. Other teams made up the ground," forward Bryan Little said, noting that the Thrashers went 4-17 over most of January and February. "We've been playing better here of late, but you can't take that much time off like we did."

Ryder was mired in a scoring slump when he was a healthy scratch on March 15 after playing in 172 consecutive games for Boston. He had just one point in his next six appearances before he was benched again for two more games this week.

It was the first successful penalty shot of Ryder's career, and his first goal in 12 games since Feb. 27.

"It's nice to see him score that goal. It's a step in the right direction," Julien said. "When he starts getting his confidence out there and allowing things to happen and not thinking about things, he's going to be a good player again."

The Bruins scored first when Mark Recchi put in a rebound of Brad Marchand's backhander from the edge of the crease. It was the 576th of Recchi's career, 19th in NHL history.

Atlanta tied it when Dustin Byfuglien's shot popped into the air off Rask's stick and landed on the goalie's back before rolling into the net. It was Byfuglien's 20th goal of the season, leading all NHL defensemen, and it snapped the Thrashers' 0-for-16 drought on the power play.

But after taking a 2-1 lead on Evander Kane's goal 97 seconds into the second period, the Thrashers' power-play unit gave up Daniel Paille's short-handed goal at the 6:18 mark.

Notes

  • Marchand won the team's seventh player award, announced before the game.
  • Thrashers D Tobias Enstrom left the game in the first period with an unspecified injury and did not return.
  • Nik Antropov, who assisted on Atlanta's second goal, has points in four straight games.
  • A Thrashers player hit the scoreboard in the third period while trying to clear the zone.
  • The Bruins improved to 15-4-1 against the Southeast.
  • Shane Hnidy made his season debut. He signed Feb. 26 after missing most of the season when he injured his shoulder in Phoenix's training camp.
  • Bruins F Shawn Thornton missed his second straight game since needing 40 stitches to close a gash in his forehead.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Michael Ryder finds room over Ondrej Pavelec's shoulder to score the go-ahead goal for the Bruins.  (AP)
Michael Ryder finds room over Ondrej Pavelec's shoulder to score the go-ahead goal for the Bruins. (AP)

Scoreboard
Atlanta (33-33-12)1102
Boston  (44-23-11) «1113
Three Stars
M. Ryder
BOS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
P. Bergeron
BOS


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
D. Paille
BOS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:34 - Mark Recchi (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Bergeron, Marchand
11:11Power Play - Dustin Byfuglien (21), Slap Shot. Assist: Bogosian, Little
2ND PERIOD
01:37 - Evander Kane (19), Wrist Shot. Assist: Antropov
06:18Short - Daniel Paille (4), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
3RD PERIOD
12:31 - Michael Ryder (18), Penalty Shot, Unassisted.
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
11:06Rask, 2 min, Delay of Game
14:19Ryder, 2 min, Tripping
16:54Burmistrov, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
2ND PERIOD
05:47Hnidy, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
3RD PERIOD
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
ATL4111530
BOS611724
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Ondrej Pavelec58:29213
Tuukka Rask60:00282
Game Information
Attendance - 17565
Referees - Frederick L'Ecuyer, Eric Furlatt
Linesmen - David Brisebois, Scott Cherrey
 
Other Games
TB 3 Final
Min 1
Det 4 Final
OT
Nash 3
Dal 1 Final
LA 3
Buf 4 Final
OT
Wash 5
Tor 4 Final
Ott 2
Pitt 4 Final
Fla 2
Mon 3 Final
NJ 1
Car 4 Final
NYI 2
Edm 4 Final
Van 1
Ana 2 Final
SJ 4