for this game

Kessel, Ryder lead Bruins to 11th straight home win

Dec 14, 2008 - 4:41 AM
By Tony Lee PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- Phil Kessel scores. The Boston Bruins win. Such is life at TD Banknorth Garden these days.

Kessel extended his points streak to 15 games with a goal and an assist and Michael Ryder scored twice as the Bruins posted their 11th consecutive home victory Saturday, a 4-2 triumph over the Atlanta Thrashers.

The home winning streak is Boston's longest since it also captured 11 in a row from December 5, 1982-January 29, 1983.

The Bruins' last loss on home ice came here on October 23 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They began their current run two nights later with a 5-4 triumph over the Thrashers.

"It's great racking up wins and establishing a reputation for being hard to beat at home," Boston coach Claude Julien said.

Defenseman Dennis Wideman also tallied and David Krejci collected three assists for the Bruins, who swept the home-and-home series by outscoring the Thrashers, 11-5.

Manny Fernandez made 20 saves in improving to 9-1-1 over his last 11 starts for Boston, which raised its record to 16-2-1 over its last 19 contests.

Blue-liner Nathan Oystrick and former Bruin Marty Reasoner scored for Atlanta, which fell to 2-9-2 following a five-game winning streak in early November.

"Boston is an excellent hockey team, and we saw that yesterday and even today," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "There were times where we could not get (the puck) out of our zone and that type of thing. I don't know, we just have to (ask ourselves), 'Are we good enough?'"

Kessel, whose has recorded 12 goals and 10 assists during his run, has tallied in each his last six home games and registered a point in eight straight at TD Banknorth Garden.

"We know he's on fire," Ryder said. "We just tell him to keep doing what he's doing."

After notching a goal and an assist in a 7-3 rout of the Thrashers on Friday, Kessel wasted little time keeping the home-and-home set in the Bruins' favor, scoring a power-play goal six minutes into this one.

With five seconds remaining on the game's first man advantage, Krejci slid a cross-slot pass to Kessel, whose initial shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle was stopped by Johan Hedberg. But the rebound came right back to Kessel, who buried it for his 19th goal of the season.

"The key word has always been confidence, and he's got that now and he's scoring goals," Julien said. "He's been hot with the stick and definitely something we've been looking for for a long time."

Perhaps as good a sign as any that Kessel has arrived is how quickly captain Zdeno Chara came to his defense late in the second period, when Atlanta defenseman Boris Valabik peppered the 2006 fifth overall pick with a glove to the face after a whistle.

The 6-9 Chara and 6-7 Valabik fought to a relative standstill, but the significance of the moment was not lost on the Bruins.

"It's the No. 1 thing to be playing as a team and stick up for each other," Chara said. "That's one of the main things on this team - to stick up for each other."

Kessel laughed when told that Chara claimed the 21-year-old could take Valabik himself.

"Yeah, right. He's a big guy there," said Kessel, who was sporting a cut above his lip courtesy of Valabik. "I thank Z for coming in there. A real team guy. Obviously, that guy (Valabik) is pretty big."

Chara received 17 penalty minutes for his effort, an exchange Julien said he would take any time.

"It was the right thing to do," Julien said. "It was for the right reasons."

Ryder has done his best to match Kessel of late, scoring seven goals in his last eight games. He gave Boston a 2-0 lead less than eight minutes later with a soft backhander that slipped between Hedberg's legs.

The 28-year-old Ryder, who posted back-to-back 30-goal seasons before netting just 14 last season with Montreal, appears to be on his game after a slow start to the campaign.

"The first part of the year, it takes getting used to the team and playing with the guys," Ryder said. "It was just a matter of me trying to find my game and get back to what I was doing two years ago."

The Thrashers successfully killed a 5-on-3 later in the period before halving the deficit as Oystrick fired a slap shot through traffic and past Fernandez with 37 seconds left.

Kessel helped set up Wideman's power-play tally late in the middle session. Ten seconds after Atlanta's Vyacheslav Kozlov took an interference penalty with 1:54 remaining, Wideman blasted a slap shot past Hedberg for his seventh goal of the season and a 3-1 bulge.

Ryder beat Hedberg from in front with 4:12 to go in the third to increase the lead and cap his second two-goal game of the campaign.

Reasoner fired a wrister from the top of the slot past Fernandez less than two minutes later to complete the scoring. It made the final look a bit better, but Atlanta was a demoralized team following the game.

"We're struggling big time right now," Thrashers defenseman Niclas Havelid said, indicating that Boston may have taught his team a lesson this weekend. "They play well and they stick together, and they play a good, solid defensive game. Hopefully, we can learn something from that."

Hedberg made 25 saves in falling to 0-3-0 against the Bruins this season.






  • 15
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Thrashers 2, Bruins 4  FinalDec 14 2:11 AM


  • ------------------------------------
    Atlanta
    1 0 1 --2
    Boston 2 1 1 --4
    ------------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Boston, Phil Kessel 19 (power play) (David
    Krejci, Milan Lucic), 6:00. 2, Boston, Michael Ryder 9 (Blake Wheeler,
    David Krejci), 13:43. 3, Atlanta, Nathan Oystrick 3 (Todd White),
    19:22. Penalties: B Valabik, Atl (holding), 4:05; M

    Dec 13 10:36 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    BOSTON 4
    3RD PRD: ATL - MARTY REASONER 5 (TOBIAS ENSTROM, NATHAN OYSTRICK)
    17:40

    Dec 13 10:24 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 2
    BOSTON 2 1 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BOS - (PP) PHIL KESSEL 19 (DAVID KREJCI, MILAN LUCIC) 6:00
    BOS - MICHAEL RYDER 9 (BLAKE WHEELER, DAVID KREJCI) 13:43
    ATL - NATHAN OYSTRICK 3 (TODD WHITE, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    19:22
    2ND PRD: BOS - (PP) DENNIS WIDEMAN 7

    Dec 13 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    BOSTON 4
    3RD PRD: ATL - MARTY REASONER 5 (TOBIAS ENSTROM, NATHAN OYSTRICK)
    17:40

    Thrashers 2, Bruins 4  3rd - 2:20Dec 13 9:23 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    BOSTON 4
    3RD PRD: BOS - MICHAEL RYDER 10 (DAVID KREJCI, MARK STUART) 15:48

    Thrashers 1, Bruins 4  3rd - 4:12Dec 13 9:20 PM
  • 10
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Thrashers 1, Bruins 3  End of 2ndDec 13 8:50 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1
    BOSTON 2 1 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BOS - (PP) PHIL KESSEL 19 (DAVID KREJCI, MILAN LUCIC) 6:00
    BOS - MICHAEL RYDER 9 (BLAKE WHEELER, DAVID KREJCI) 13:43
    ATL - NATHAN OYSTRICK 3 (TODD WHITE, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    19:22
    2ND PRD: BOS - (PP) DENN

    Dec 13 8:34 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    BOSTON 3
    2ND PRD: BOS - (PP) DENNIS WIDEMAN 7 (MATT HUNWICK, PHIL KESSEL) 18:16

    Thrashers 1, Bruins 3  2nd - 1:44Dec 13 8:31 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1
    BOSTON 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BOS - (PP) PHIL KESSEL 19 (DAVID KREJCI, MILAN LUCIC) 6:00
    BOS - MICHAEL RYDER 9 (BLAKE WHEELER, DAVID KREJCI) 13:43
    ATL - NATHAN OYSTRICK 3 (TODD WHITE, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV)
    19:22
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1S

    Dec 13 7:42 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    BOSTON 2
    1ST PRD: ATL - NATHAN OYSTRICK 3 (TODD WHITE, VYACHESLAV KOZLOV) 19:22

    Thrashers 1, Bruins 2  1st - 0:38Dec 13 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    BOSTON 2
    1ST PRD: BOS - MICHAEL RYDER 9 (BLAKE WHEELER, DAVID KREJCI) 13:43

    Thrashers 0, Bruins 2  1st - 6:17Dec 13 7:33 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    BOSTON 1
    1ST PRD: BOS - (PP) PHIL KESSEL 19 (DAVID KREJCI, MILAN LUCIC) 6:00

    Thrashers 0, Bruins 1  1st - 14:00Dec 13 7:18 PM