for this game

Thrashers keep Bruins reeling

Dec 30, 2007 - 3:32 AM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) - The Boston Bruins' woes continue.

Kari Lehtonen set aside 26 shots to record his second shutout of the season and Ilya Kovalchuk added to his league-leading total with a goal in the second period to lead the Thrashers to a 5-0 blanking of the struggling Boston Bruins on Saturday.

Defenseman Alexei Zhitnik found the net for the first time this season and Colin Stuart added an assist in his NHL debut for Atlanta, which extended Boston's losing streak to a season-high six games.

"The bottom line is that we kind of put ourselves out of the game early," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Right now, we have to battle our way out of this. If we're expecting it to happen itself, it never will."

Once again it was shaky goaltending that did in Boston, which has allowed four or more goals in each of the club's last five games.

"We're all trying to turn this around," Bruins goaltender Alexander Auld said. "Obviously, you want to do what you can to help your team get a win. It wasn't enough tonight. We have to stay together. We can't get frustrated."

Vyacheslav Kozlov got the Thrashers on the board at 7:50 of the first period. Eric Perrin intercepted a breakout pass and dished the puck to Kozlov in the crease, who lofted a one-time over the left shoulder of Auld to give Atlanta a 1-0 edge.

The Thrashers took advantage of an out-of-position Auld just 92 seconds later.

The 26-year-old netminder fell down while trying to play the puck by the right boards. The puck squirted to Bobby Holik behind the Boston net, who banged the puck off defenseman Andrew Ference and into the net for Atlanta's second tally.

"It was a pass," Holik said. "I saw Stuart on the outside of the defender. It's just hard work, not science."

"I was playing the pass," Ference said. "One minute, I was trying to stop the pass and it goes off of me. It's a bad feeling."

Pascal Dupuis added to the lead with a goal at 16:45 of the period. Stuart found the 28-year-old Canadian with a pass in the back of the net before Dupuis deposited the wraparound between the legs of Auld to give the Thrashers an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

"It was important for us to establish the pace of the game early on," Thrashers interim coach Don Waddell said. "The guys came out and did a tremendous job. We executed our game plan and played well."

Auld, who allowed three goals on 13 shots in the first period, was replaced by Tim Thomas to start the second. But Thomas could not stop the bleeding.

Kovalchuk continued Atlanta's offensive onslaught with his league-leading 32nd tally at 11:05 of the second period. Zhitnik rifled a pass to the Russian superstar at the point and he blasted the puck past Thomas to extend the lead to 4-0.

Thomas also allowed a goal to Zhitnik at 13:48 of the second, the first tally for the 35-year-old defenseman this season.

The offensive output was more than Lehtonen would need. Doing most of his work in the first period, the 24-year-old Finn stopped 12 shots in the first, six in the second and eight in the third en route to notching his 12th career shutout.

"I think we were on top of our game the whole 60 minutes," Lehtonen said. "It's great to see the guys in front of me help out. All things were good tonight."

While the humble Lehtonen would not give himself credit for the victory, Waddell had no problem lavishing praise on the Atlanta goaltender's performance.

"I thought he was outstanding," Waddell said. "He made key saves at critical points in the game, especially early in the game. He made big saves when he needed to."

Boston's best scoring opportunity came in the second period, when left wing Marco Sturm roared down the ice on a breakaway and lofted a wrister at Lehtonen. But his attempt for a shorthanded goal fell inches short when the puck rattled off the crossbar.

"It's really disappointing," Sturm said. "We are battling here. It didn't work for a while. We want to make a strong appearance and a good start. It was the total opposite. It's frustrating. We all know what to do."

It was the closest the Bruins, who are stuck at 17,999 goals, came to joining the Montreal Canadiens as the second NHL club to eclipse the 18,000-goal plateau.

Thomas set aside 16 shots for Boston, which fell to 1-6-1 in their last eight games at Philips Arena.








  • NHL
    AT ATLANTA
    BOS GOALIE CHANGE
    TIM THOMAS, START 2ND PRD

    Dec 29 9:29 PM
  • 10
    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Bruins vs. ThrashersDec 29 9:20 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 0 0
    ATLANTA 3 2 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 11 (ERIC PERRIN) 7:50
    ATL - BOBBY HOLIK 4 (UNASSISTED) 9:22
    ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 6 (COLIN STUART) 16:45
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 32 (ALEXEI ZHITNIK, MARIAN HOSSA)
    11:05
    A

    Dec 29 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 0
    ATLANTA 5
    2ND PRD: ATL - ALEXEI ZHITNIK 1 (MARK RECCHI, ILYA KOVALCHUK) 13:48

    Bruins vs. ThrashersDec 29 8:28 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 0
    ATLANTA 4
    2ND PRD: ATL - (PP) ILYA KOVALCHUK 32 (ALEXEI ZHITNIK, MARIAN HOSSA)
    11:05

    Bruins vs. ThrashersDec 29 8:22 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 0
    ATLANTA 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 11 (ERIC PERRIN) 7:50
    ATL - BOBBY HOLIK 4 (PASCAL DUPUIS) 9:22
    ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 6 (COLIN STUART) 16:45
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOS 12

    Dec 29 7:46 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 0
    ATLANTA 3
    1ST PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 6 (COLIN STUART) 16:45

    Bruins vs. ThrashersDec 29 7:43 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 0
    ATLANTA 2
    1ST PRD: ATL - BOBBY HOLIK 4 (PASCAL DUPUIS) 9:22

    Bruins vs. ThrashersDec 29 7:27 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 0
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 11 (ERIC PERRIN) 7:50

    Bruins vs. ThrashersDec 29 7:23 PM
  • 5
    roots
    jimbbb Added 5 roots

    Bruins vs. ThrashersDec 22 11:46 AM