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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 29th (All times eastern)

Boston Bruins (18-15-4) at Atlanta Thrashers (18-19-1), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Thrashers will welcome the Boston Bruins to town tonight for the opener of a home-and-home set at Philips Arena.

These two clubs will face off in Boston on Monday.

Atlanta comes into this game on a two-game losing streak after winning four straight. The Thrashers were last in action on Thursday and suffered a 5-3 home loss to Florida.

Ilya Kovalchuk tallied two goals and an assist while Mark Recchi also scored for the Thrashers. Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves.

For Kovalchuk, it upped his league-leading goal total to 31, and he is also tied for second in the NHL with 50 points. He became the first player this season to hit the 30-goal mark and the first to do so before the end of December since Jaromir Jagr did it on December 31 during the 1999-2000 season.

Recchi, meanwhile, has five goals and four assists in nine games with Atlanta since being claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh. He had just two goals and six assists in 19 games with the Penguins this season.

Atlanta has won three of its last four at Philips Arena, and is 9-9-0 overall at home this season.

Boston comes into this matchup as losers in a season-high five straight after Friday's 4-3 loss in Carolina. The Bruins are getting outscored 20-12 over their losing run and are on their longest skid since closing out last season with six straight losses.

Chuck Kobasew, P.J. Axelsson and Phil Kessel tallied for the struggling Bruins, also losers in six of seven overall. Marc Savard collected two helpers and Tim Thomas stopped 33-of-37 shots in defeat.

The Bruins wrap a three-game road swing tonight and will try for their first victory on that trek tonight. Boston is 10-9-2 overall this year as the visitor. Monday's home game against Atlanta begins a five-game homestand.

Boston and Atlanta met for the first time this season on December 12, with the Bruins posting a 5-3 victory in Atlanta to halt a six-game series losing streak. The Bruins have still lost five of the last eight as the visitor in the series.

12/29 10:34:27 ET


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