BRUINS 6, THRASHERS 4
Bruins right ship
Lapointe goal signals the end of winless skid
ATLANTA -- Last night's game between the Bruins and Thrashers won't win many style points. But the only points the Bruins were concerned about were the 2 they'd be awarded for a victory.
After going winless in its previous four contests (0-2-1-1), Boston got goals from six players and beat Atlanta, 6-4, at Philips Arena.
Marty Lapointe, playing in his 700th NHL game, scored midway through the third period to put the Bruins ahead to stay. Boston took advantage of a slow line change by Atlanta, allowing Lapointe to take a clear pass from rookie center Patrice Bergeron and beat Pasi Nurminen from the left circle with 8:40 remaining. Rob Zamuner sealed it with an empty-net goal with 1:02 left. It was Zamuner's first goal of the season and second point of the night.
"Obviously, we're pleased with getting back in the win column," said coach Mike Sullivan. "I thought we did a better job of controlling the momentum during some of the critical times of the game. I thought our guys did a much better job in that regard, paying attention to those details."
One area the Bruins can still improve is in the first and last minutes of periods. That was evident when they surrendered a pair of goals in the opening 20 minutes, one at each end.
But the Bruins were able to keep pace with two first-period goals of their own.
Slava Kozlov put the Thrashers on the board, scoring only 20 seconds into the game. Patrik Stefan had the puck in the right circle and dished it into the left circle for Kozlov, who flipped it past Andrew Raycroft for his ninth goal of the season.
"It's happened so often lately I think we're almost getting used to it," said Raycroft, who said the game was fun for everyone but the goalies. "But we knew we had to win tonight no matter what."
Joe Thornton pulled the Bruins even at 9:30. Thornton took advantage of a big scrum behind the Atlanta net. He carried the puck left to right behind the cage and skated into the right circle, where he wristed it past Nurminen for his sixth of the year.
The final minute was a mixed bag for Boston. The Thrashers regained the lead with 43.2 seconds on the clock. Marc Savard tried to beat Raycroft with a wraparound from the right side. Raycroft made the stop but the rebound went to J.P. Vigier in the slot, and he slammed it home to make it 2-1.
But with 10.6 seconds remaining, the Bruins tied it on Travis Green's second goal in two games. Zamuner, subbing for injured forward P.J. Axelsson, made a nifty backhand dish from the left circle that went through the skates of Atlanta defenseman Frantisek Kaberle. Green kicked the puck to himself and then went to his backhand, beating Nurminen from outside the left post.
The game got even more wild in the second period. Kaberle hauled down Mike Knuble, but instead of the Bruins' power play coming through, they gave up a shorthanded goal -- their second in two games.
Former Bruin Shawn McEachern raced up the left side during a two-on-one and fired from the circle. It rattled off the right post and in at 2:34 to put the Thrashers back on top.
Fourth-line winger Michal Grosek brought the Bruins back at 7:02 on his third goal of the year. Defenseman Ian Moran, positioned just inside the blue line on the right side, flung the puck at the net and Grosek tipped it past Nurminen.
The next goal belonged to Boston as well, giving the visitors their first lead. This time it was Knuble, who potted his 10th of the season. Thornton started the play with a pass to Glen Murray, who one-timed the puck on Nurminen. Knuble got to the rebound and backhanded it under the right pad of the goalie with 3:27 left.
The lead didn't last long. Once again, the Thrashers proved dangerous in the first minute. Savard made it a 4-4 game just 56 seconds in. Then Lapointe came through midway through the period.
"This was an important game for us," said Sullivan. "It was important for us to get the result we were looking for."
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.