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Boynton found himself on hook

ATLANTA -- Defenseman Nick Boynton was nothing short of livid when he was called for hooking down Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk at 3:24 of overtime last night. The penalty led to a four-on-three advantage for the Thrashers and it was Kovalchuk who tallied the winner at 3:42. Boynton said Kovalchuk took a dive.

"I thought it was a pretty bad call," said Boynton. "I had one hand on my stick. I hope I get to play a long time in this league and I hope I never have to play with him because that's unbelievable, a dive like that. Like he can't beat me up the ice, I'm a defenseman for crying out loud. But whatever. You watch our guys and they drive through stuff like that. I don't see too many guys taking dives. I thought it was pretty bad, but the refs saw it the other way so that's life."

What made it more difficult was the timing of the infraction. Boynton said it could've been called a lot more equitably.

"It's an interesting call at that point in the game," he said. "The way I saw it, it shouldn't have been a call. If anything, it's both of us go off but there's no way I see it that way."

Act your age? Not him

On the ice, rookie center Patrice Bergeron has been the picture of consistency. He's still learning the game at the highest level, but for all intents and purposes he has fit into the Boston lineup far better than anyone expected. Off the ice, he's continuing to make the adjustment to the NHL with the help of teammate, linemate, and housemate Marty Lapointe.

On Sunday night, though, Bergeron was able to swap his role as pro athlete for that of a fan when he attended his first Patriots game.

"It was awesome," said Bergeron, sounding every bit the teenager. "It was such a big stadium, I've never seen that before. A big crowd, a crazy crowd. And the tailgating was awesome, too."

Bergeron has five goals and six assists in 18 games. Coach Mike Sullivan said he's seen no sign of a dropoff in the 18-year-old's game.

"I don't think anybody expected Patrice to come in and have the impact that he's had," said Sullivan. "He came in from Day One of the rookie camp and made an impact and raised eyebrows. It was one of those scenarios where we became more and more impressed with his play and kept putting him in more and more situations to see if he was ready. He has shown no signs of fatigue, quite the contrary. He seems to get better and more comfortable every day that he's here and he's certainly been a major contributor so far."

Rolling along

Brian Rolston and Glen Murray each extended point streaks to seven games with goals last night . . . The Bruins have converted on eight of their last 16 power-play chances over four games, but allowed two power-play goals in six shorthanded situations last night, after killing 11 of their previous 12 penalties. Over their last four games, the club had won 61.6 percent of its faceoffs, a margin of 146-91 . . . Mike Knuble, who went into last night with 16 points in 17 games, still has yet to record a point in his career against Atlanta (13 games). The only other team the veteran left wing has never registered a point against is St. Louis, which is Tuesday's opponent . . . Former Bruins goalie Byron Dafoe, who played just three of the Thrashers' first 19 games, was the backup again last night to Pasi Nurminen.

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