NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Boston
(Saturday, March 1st)
Final Score: Boston 3, Atlanta 2 (SO)
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Phil Kessel scored the only goal of the shootout, and Tim Thomas made 26 saves as the Boston Bruins rallied past the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-2, for their sixth consecutive victory.
Kessel, skating in the second round of the shootout, raced up the ice, pulled to the left and tucked the puck under the leg of a sliding Johan Hedberg. Thomas was perfect at the other end, denying Slava Kozlov, Erik Christensen and Ilya Kovalchuk in succession.
Glen Murray and David Krejci scored in regulation for the Bruins, who have earned at least a point for the eighth straight time. The six-game win streak is their longest since they won six straight in early 2004, and has propelled Boston past the idle New York Rangers for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Kovalchuk and Jim Slater tallied for the Thrashers, who have dropped six in a row and are quickly fading from the playoff picture in the East. Hedberg turned aside 33 shots in defeat.
"It's frustrating," said Atlanta forward Mark Recchi. "We're taking steps in the right direction here and playing a lot better as a team right now. We have to continue to do that -- to do the same thing tomorrow. We have to focus on supporting each other and doing the right things and the other stuff will take care of itself. We'll start getting those wins."
Trailing 2-1 to open the third, the Bruins tied it with 8:07 remaining when Milan Lucic got the puck to the front of the net but was tripped up. The disc bounced at the top of the goalmouth and Krejci sped in at the left side and knocked it up and over Hedberg's mask.
"I don't know what�s happened but all of a sudden the puck has started going in the net," said Krejci. "Hopefully it will be like this until the end of the season."
The Thrashers had the best scoring chance in overtime, but with 42.6 seconds left, Kovalchuk pounced on a turnover and ripped a shot into the mid-section of Thomas. The netminder fell backward, but managed to smother the puck.
Boston struck first following a tight cycle in the offensive zone. The puck was wound deep along the end boards, but Marc Savard dug it out. He then laid a soft backhand pass to Murray, who was camped in the slot and beat Hedberg with a wrister at 6:06 of the front stanza.
Kovalchuk, who was subsequently hauled down on a breakaway by Dennis Wideman, made it 1-1 on a penalty shot just 35 seconds later. He came in straight at the net, but pulled back at the last second and snapped a blistering shot under the glove of Thomas.
The Thrashers managed the only goal of the second period, as Slater got the unassisted tally with 2:42 remaining to make it a 2-1 contest heading to the third.
Krejci had three goals in his last three games...The Thrashers have lost five straight and eight of 10 on the road. They lost 5-2 in Boston on Dec. 31, and dropped three of four to the Bruins this season...Atlanta ended 0-for-4 on the power play, while Boston failed to convert on any of its five chances...Boston has won its last three contests by a combined 12-3 margin...Boston has won its last three games on home ice following a four-game skid.
03/01 18:55:24 ET