NHL Game Summary - Boston at Atlanta
(Tuesday, January 24th)
Final Score: Boston 3, Atlanta 2
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - P.J. Axelsson scored the game-winning goal in the third period to lift the Boston Bruins past the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-2, at Philips Arena.
Marco Sturm and Brad Stuart also tallied for the Bruins, who have won two in a row and four of their last five games.
Patrice Bergeron picked up two assists while Tim Thomas made 22 saves in the victory.
Scott Mellanby and Marc Savard scored for the Thrashers, who have lost three in a row.
Kari Lehtonen allowed three goals on 32 shots in defeat.
Peter Bondra returned to action for Atlanta after missing 22 games with groin and abdominal injuries and failed to pick up a point.
With the game tied up at 2-2, Boston moved ahead on Axelsson's goal. Wayne Primeau controlled the puck behind the Atlanta net and flipped a pass out in front to Axelsson, who one-timed the disc through the five-hole of Lehtonen with 7:02 remaining in the final frame.
With a minute to go in the game, Atlanta pulled its goaltender, but could not net the equalizer.
"We're doing a lot of things a lot smarter now," said Axelsson. "We're not trying to beat people one-on-one, we are just playing smart hockey."
With 4:29 left in the opening period, Boston grabbed a 1-0 lead with Sturm finding a loose puck in front and flipping it past Lehtonen for his 18th goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Mellanby tied it up at 1-1, deflecting Jaroslav Modry's shot from the point through Thomas' five-hole on the power play.
Just 1:25 later, Atlanta went up 2-1 after Savard darted into the Boston zone, fought off a defender down low, and from the left side of the net, backhanded the puck off Thomas' blocker and into the net.
Midway through the second stanza, Stuart tied things up at 2-2 with a power- play goal. Sergei Samsonov fired a shot from the high slot that Lehtonen kicked out to the right circle before Stuart fired the home the rebound.
"The bottom line is that Thomas came up with some good saves," said Atlanta head coach Bob Hartley. "It's a tough loss, but there's still plenty of games left. At the same time, games like this can come back to haunt you in the end."
Boston improved to 11-12-4 on the road this season...Bergeron now has 25 helpers on the year...Atlanta is now 13-9-4 on home ice this season...The Bruins went 1-for-9 on the power play while Atlanta was 1-of-5 with the man advantage...Boston is 3-1-1 against Atlanta this season and is 7-2-1 (2 losses, 1 tie) in the last 10 meetings overall.
01/24 23:11:14 ET