for this game

Tkachuk moves Thrashers closer to first playoff berth

Apr 1, 2007 - 3:58 AM
BOSTON (Ticker) -- Keith Tkachuk continues to show why the Atlanta Thrashers acquired him before last month's trade deadline.

One of the NHL's premier power forwards, Tkachuk scored on a rebound with 18.6 seconds left in the third period to lift the Thrashers to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins and closer to the first playoff berth in franchise history.

Atlanta (41-27-11) tied a franchise record for wins, which was set last season, and maintained its three-point lead in the Southeast Division over second-place Tampa Bay (43-32-4).

The teams have three games remaining, including a season-ending showdown April 7 at Atlanta.

"I told the guys that we're going to find out what we're made of this week," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "We have a chance to cash in on something pretty special for this organization."

Acquiring Tkachuk, a four-time All-Star left wing, and defenseman Alexei Zhitnik last month has helped energize the Thrashers, who had lost six of seven games and slipped out of first place in the Southeast.

Since the trades, they are 10-4-1. Tkachuk has seven goals and five assists, while Zhitnik has two tallies and 14 points.

Zhitnik assisted on the game-winning goal by Tkachuk on Saturday, shooting it toward the net from between the faceoff circles. Rookie goaltender Joey MacDonald made the save and also stopped a shot by Marian Hossa from in front with his left shoulder.

But the Bruins could not keep Tkachuk away from the net, as the 6-2, 225-pounder parked himself at the right of the crease and swatted in the rebound.

"That's what I've been doing my whole career," Tkachuk said of his 473rd career goal. "You've got to go to those areas if you want to score, and that's the only way I know how to play. It's fun to be there. The puck comes to you."

The Thrashers paid a hefty price for Tkachuk, sending center Glen Metropolit, first- and third-round picks in 2007 and a second-round selection in 2008 to St. Louis. If the Thrashers re-sign Tkachuk, the Blues also would receive a first-round pick in 2008.

The Bruins (35-37-6) officially were eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoff race two days ago, but they played like they still had postseason aspirations, erasing a 2-0 deficit.

"It's been 17 years (behind a bench) since I've missed the playoffs," Bruins coach Dave Lewis said. "It's a disappointment, for sure. We have to get better as a group and as a team. It's up to us as coaches to get better. I do like the fact we battled back today against a very good team."

Marco Sturm scored a power-play goal with 90 seconds left in the second period, deflecting a slap shot by defenseman Zdeno Chara past netminder Kari Lehtonen.

The Bruins tied the contest when Marc Savard stripped blue-liner Garnet Exelby of the puck behind the net and passed in front to rookie Petr Kalus, who backhanded a shot over Lehtonen's left pad with 4:57 remaining in the third for his second goal in five career games.

But Boston lost its momentum when defenseman Dennis Wideman was whistled for a delay-of-game penalty with 2:23 to go.

Atlanta was able to keep the puck in Boston's zone for most of the power play. Then seconds after Wideman exited the penalty box, Tkachuk banged in the rebound to give the Thrashers a sweep of the four-game season series.

"They kept getting pucks to the net (during the power play) and Tkachuk was there (in front of the net) all game," MacDonald said. "I don't know how many opportunities he had, just batting at the puck. That's his job and why they picked him up."

Atlanta outshot the Bruins, 40-27, including 16-7 in the first period. Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 39th goal of the season 24 seconds into the game, redirecting Exelby's wrist shot from the left point past MacDonald.

Defenseman Greg de Vries doubled the lead with 10:52 left in the second, beating MacDonald between the pads from the lower left circle.

"Making the playoffs is huge for this franchise," de Vries said. "I think we set a futility record for years not making the playoffs. We don't have the X and Y next to our name yet, but it'll be a big moment when we do."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1 1 3
    BOSTON 0 1 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (GARNET EXELBY, KEITH TKACHUK) 0:24
    2ND PRD: ATL - GREG DE VRIES 3 (PASCAL DUPUIS) 9:08
    BOS - (PP) MARCO STURM 26 (ZDENO CHARA, PATRICE BERGERON)
    18:30
    3RD PRD: BOS - PETR KALUS 2 (MARC SAVARD

    Mar 31 3:28 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 3
    BOSTON 2
    3RD PRD: ATL - KEITH TKACHUK 27 (MARIAN HOSSA, ALEXEI ZHITNIK) 19:41

    Thrashers vs. BruinsMar 31 3:27 PM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 45 roots

    Thrashers vs. BruinsMar 31 3:27 PM
  • 65
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 65 roots

    Thrashers vs. BruinsMar 31 3:24 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    BOSTON 2
    3RD PRD: BOS - PETR KALUS 2 (MARC SAVARD) 1:03

    Thrashers vs. BruinsMar 31 3:19 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1 2
    BOSTON 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (GARNET EXELBY, KEITH TKACHUK) 0:24
    2ND PRD: ATL - GREG DE VRIES 3 (PASCAL DUPUIS) 9:08
    BOS - (PP) MARCO STURM 26 (ZDENO CHARA, PATRICE BERGERON)
    18:30
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST

    Mar 31 2:37 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    BOSTON 1
    2ND PRD: BOS - (PP) MARCO STURM 26 (ZDENO CHARA, PATRICE BERGERON)
    18:30

    Thrashers vs. BruinsMar 31 2:35 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    BOSTON 0
    2ND PRD: ATL - GREG DE VRIES 3 (PASCAL DUPUIS) 9:08

    Thrashers vs. BruinsMar 31 2:15 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1
    BOSTON 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (GARNET EXELBY, KEITH TKACHUK) 0:24
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 16 16
    BOS 7 7
    GOALIES: ATL - KARI LEHTONEN

    Mar 31 1:40 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    BOSTON 0
    1ST PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 39 (GARNET EXELBY, KEITH TKACHUK) 0:24

    Thrashers vs. BruinsMar 31 1:09 PM