NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 31st (All times eastern)
Atlanta Thrashers (19-19-1) at Boston Bruins (18-16-4), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins will try to end their longest losing streak of the season when they welcome the Atlanta Thrashers this afternoon to TD Banknorth Garden for the finale of a home-and-home series.
The Bruins have dropped their last six games and are in danger of losing seven in a row for the first time since March 17-April 3, 1997.
Atlanta pounded the Bruins in the opener of this set on Saturday, as Kari Lehtonen made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season and the Thrashers posted a 5-0 rout at Philips Arena.
Ilya Kovalchuk, Pascal Dupuis, Bobby Holik and Alexei Zhitnik each posted a goal and an assist for the Thrashers, who snapped a two-game skid and won for the fifth time in seven contests.
Kovalchuk hopes to keep up his torrid scoring pace, as he is leading the NHL with 32 goals and is tied for the third in the league with 52 points.
Alex Auld started the game in net, but was pulled after the first period as he gave up three goals on 13 shots for the Bruins. Tim Thomas finished the game between the pipes and gave up two goals on 16 shots.
Goaltending and defense has been a problem for the Bruins in their recent slide, as they've given up 25 goals during the six-game slide.
Boston is 8-6-2 as the host club this season, but has dropped three straight and five of its last six in Beantown.
The Thrashers have a 9-10-1 mark on the road and have been defeated in four of their last five tests as the visitor.
The Bruins and Thrashers have split a pair of meetings this year, but this will be the first encounter in Boston. Still, Atlanta has won seven of eight in the series and has taken three in a row at TD Banknorth Garden.
12/31 10:38:43 ET