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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 12th (All times eastern)

Boston Bruins (19-5-4) at Atlanta Thrashers (9-14-4), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - After having a five-game winning streak halted, the Boston Bruins will try to get back on the right track tonight as the visit the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena for the opener of a home-and-home series.

The Bruins, who lead the Eastern Conference with 42 points, were handed a loss at Washington on Wednesday. Not only did the five-game win streak come to an end, but Boston was also defeated for just the third time since the start of November.

Boston has a 17-3-1 record over its last 21 games and hasn't been handed consecutive loss since a three-game slide from October 20-23.

Alex Ovechkin notched a goal and one assist, while Brent Johnson was solid with 33 saves, as the Capitals nipped Boston, 3-1, in a battle of division leaders Wednesday at the Verizon Center.

Milan Lucic had the lone goal for the Bruins. Boston suffered only its fifth regulation loss of the season and first since November 26 at Buffalo.

Manny Fernandez was solid in defeat, making 23 stops in the loss.

Phil Kessel added an assist in the setback to extend his point streak to 13 games. Kessel has 10 goals and seven assists during the streak, which is the longest currently in the NHL.

Boston is 9-4-3 on the road this year and has lost two of its last three road tests. The Bruins are 10-1-1 as the home team this year and will welcome Atlanta to TD Banknorth Garden on Saturday.

The Thrashers lost for the sixth time in seven games on Wednesday, dropping an overtime decision to the visiting New York Rangers. Scott Gomez scored just 18 seconds into OT, lifting the Blueshirts to the 3-2 triumph.

Shortly after the extra session had begun, Gomez rushed up the center of the ice with Markus Naslund on the left. Despite three Atlanta defenders crowding the Thrashers end, Naslund sent a rolling shot at the net that goaltender Johan Hedberg didn't handle. The puck was loose in front of the crease and Gomez backhanded it in to end the game.

Ilya Kovalchuk and Joseph Crabb each scored for Atlanta, which has also lost nine of its last 11 outings. Hedberg stopped 30 shots in the loss.

The Thrashers are just 5-6-2 as the host this year and have lost five straight on home ice.

Boston beat the Thrashers, 5-4, at home in the first meetings between the clubs on October 25. The Bruins have won three straight and four of the last five encounters in the series, but they've also been defeated in four of five trips to Atlanta.

12/12 10:47:56 ET


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