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Bruins Pad Lead in NHL Playoffs Standings

ATLANTA, GA. – The Boston Bruins came into Philips Arena Tuesday night clinging onto the final Eastern ConferenceTuukka Rash playoff spot by just one point and at the final buzzer they left with a three-point cushion and a 4-0 season sweep over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Like in their last home game, a 5-2 win against the Flyers, the Thrashers came out playing physical, throwing several hard hits including a crunching check by Evgeny Artyukhin on Bruins’ center Vladimir Sobotka. Sobotka needed several seconds to get up on his feet and managed to glide slowly to his bench and never returned to the game.

Then at the 11-minute mark of the 1st period, Thrashers enforcer Eric Boulton squared off with Bruins forward Shawn Thornton for a slugfest with both players landing and taking several punches.

But although the Thrashers had a 6-3 edge in hits, the only goal in the period belonged to the Bruins’ David Krejci who put the puck past Johan ‘Moose’ Hedberg at the 9:25 mark for his 15th of the year.

That goal would prove to be the game-winner as the Bruins coasted to a 4-0 win.

In that first stanza, the Thrashers had several close-range quality scoring chances but shot the puck wide on several occasions and only managed 7 SOG against Boston rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask, the NHL leader in goals against average with 2.08.

Trailing 2-0 late in the 2nd period, Thrashers’ forward Colby Armstrong, who has been on a tear with 4 goals in 3 games, was awarded a penalty shot but failed to capitalize on the opportunity.

The Bruins responded by netting another goal with just 3 seconds remaining in the period to go into the second break with a 3-0 lead.

The Thrashers entered the game on a four game win streak and all those games were won after the team started with 2-0 leads. Atlanta is 4-28-6 when trailing after two periods and after falling behind by three against one of the NHL’s hottest goaltenders with just 20 minutes to play, there was no magic wand to wave on Tuesday.

After this home loss, the journey appears uphill from here as the Thrashers with just 9 games left find themselves 3 points behind that final playoff spot behind the Bruins who also have one game in hand.

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