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
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
“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
“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
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