Originally created 12/04/03

Boston snaps skid with win over Thrashers



ATLANTA - The Boston Bruins held an opponent without a power-play goal for the second time in three games.

Of course, they didn't give the Atlanta Thrashers any chances, either.

Boston played penalty-free hockey for the first time in 2 1/2 years and Martin Lapointe scored the go-ahead goal in his 700th NHL game to lift the Bruins to a 6-4 victory over the Thrashers on Wednesday night.

"I loved that, especially against a team like that," Boston goaltender Andrew Raycroft said of the disciplined play. "Obviously, that's one of our strengths, defense. We had enough defense to contain it."

Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who weren't called for a penalty for the first time since March 28, 2001, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Oddly, the Leafs didn't have a penalty in that one, either.

Rob Zamuner added an empty-net goal with 1:04 left, and Travis Green, Michal Grosek and Mike Knuble also scored for Boston, which snapped a four-game winless streak (0-2-1-1).

"We had to win, no matter what," Raycroft said. "We let it go and tried to focus."

Marc Savard tied it early in the third period by stuffing in a rebound for the Thrashers, 1-4 in their past five games. They still lead Tampa Bay by one point in the Southeast Division.

Slava Kozlov, J.P. Vigier and Shawn McEachern had goals for Atlanta.

"We've got to go back to the drawing board," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "We're not in this business to lose games, and right now, we're just not playing well enough."

With 8:40 left, Patrice Bergeron stole the puck in the corner while the Thrashers were in the middle of a line change. He fed a pass to Lapointe, who skated in alone and beat goaltender Pasi Nurminen.

Atlanta defenseman Shawn Heins, coming off the bench, couldn't make it in the zone fast enough to stop Lapointe.

"It's just very disappointing, for the second game in a row, to lose the game on a play where we simply lost focus," Hartley said.

The Thrashers blew three one-goal leads, including one after just 20 seconds. Kozlov took a cross-ice, backhanded pass from Patrik Stefan and beat Raycroft. They also led 3-2 after a short-handed goal by McEachern early in the second, when he completed a two-on-one with Garnet Exelby.

The Bruins made it 3-3 when Grosek redirected a shot from the blue line by Ian Moran, and it skittered through Nurminen's legs. Moran took the puck only seconds after a big hit by Exelby put him on the ice.

"That was a great goal if somebody got to that," Nurminen said. "A couple goals kind of got under me, and I've got to take those away."

A diving, backhanded goal by Knuble gave Boston its first lead. Nurminen stopped a shot by Glen Murray but couldn't corral the rebound. Knuble, with Atlanta center Randy Robitaille draped all over him, put it back in just before he fell.

"We had a lot of confidence we'd close out the game," Thornton said.

NOTES: The Thrashers assigned C Tommi Santala to Chicago of the AHL. In 24 games this season, he had one goal and one assist. ... Boston won that penalty-free game against Toronto 3-0. ... C Ben Simon, acquired in a trade with Nashville on Tuesday, made his Thrashers debut. D Tomas Kloucek, who also came to Atlanta in that deal, was a healthy scratch.