Bruins-Thrashers Preview

Consistent scoring and solid goaltending have keyed the Atlanta

Thrashers’ most successful stretch of the season. They’ll likely

need that combination to continue in order to end their recent

struggles against the Boston Bruins.

The Thrashers look to extend their winning streak to five while

trying to avoid an 11th consecutive loss to the visiting Bruins on

Sunday.

Atlanta (11-9-3) opened its six-game homestand with a 2-1 loss

to Florida on Nov. 17, but owns a 15-2 scoring advantage while

winning the next four. The Thrashers have not won five in a row

since a six-game run March 6-16, 2009.

“We have to keep rolling,” said Ondrej Pavelec, who made 25

saves in Friday’s 3-0 win over Montreal.

Pavelec, 5-4-2 with a 1.68 goals-against average, has posted two

shutouts and stopped 114 of 116 shots during the four-game winning

streak.

“I think it starts with Pavs. He’s been playing awesome for us,”

defenseman Zach Bogosian said. “It’s definitely comfortable for a

guy like myself playing against some top lines and he’s behind you

stopping a lot of pucks.”

However, if Pavelec gets the chance to continue his success, he

must play better than he has against Boston (12-7-2). Pavelec has

never won in four starts versus the Bruins, getting pulled in the

first period in three of them after allowing three goals.

His personal struggles against Boston have been representative

of Atlanta’s overall problems with the Bruins.

The Thrashers enter this season’s first matchup with an 0-8-2

record in the series since beating Boston 5-0 on Dec. 29, 2007.

They have lost 4-0 in each of the last two meetings.

Despite that history, the Thrashers might be playing well enough

to reverse those fortunes.

“We are playing a full 60 minutes. In the past we have had some

lulls in the periods and I think we have done a good job of

maintaining our consistency and focus,” said forward Rich Peverley,

who had two goals Friday.

Defenseman Tobias Enstrom had a goal with an assist, giving him

four points in three games. Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien each

had an assist, and they’ve combined for 11 points during the

winning streak.

“They’re definitely on a roll,” Montreal goalie Alex Auld said.

“They’re getting contributions from everyone. They’re a solid team

on the rise.”

The Bruins have been on a bit of a decline, losing three of four

after falling 3-0 to Carolina on Friday.

Another slow start doomed Boston, which allowed the opponent to

score first for the 10th time in 12 games.

“We’ve got to find a way to score the first goal,” winger Milan

Lucic said.

Though Lucic has a team-high 10 goals, he has none in four games

since recording a hat trick in a 4-0 win over Florida on Nov. 18.

He had a goal and an assist at Atlanta in the teams’ most recent

matchup March 23 and has 11 points in 10 career meetings.

Tim Thomas made 18 saves against Carolina to fall to 11-2-1 with

a 1.56 GAA. Though he has won four in a row against the Thrashers,

Thomas is 2-2-0 with a 3.45 GAA at Atlanta.

Boston ranks among the NHL leaders in penalty killing with an

87.0 percent success rate, but it gave up a season-high three

power-play goals Friday.

Atlanta, which converts 24.5 percent of its power-play

opportunities, is 4 for 13 with the man advantage the last three

games.