Here is my game story, with quotes, from Thursday’s loss to the Bruins for those who would like to comment.
I will be off for the next two days. I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. We’ll pick it back up Sunday against the Lightning.
BOSTON – Stake Tim Thomas to a lead and often that’s enough. Surrender a short-handed goal and you are just asking for trouble.
The Thrashers gave up a goal while on a power play just three minutes into Thursday night’s game against Boston. The Bruins’ goaltender made it stand up in a fisticuffs-filled 4-1 victory over the Thrashers at TD Garden.
The Thrashers (19-13-5, 43 points) lost for the second straight time and are 2-2-2 in the past six games. They remained in third place in the Southeast Division standings behind Washington and Tampa Bay.
Thomas came into the game leading the NHL with a 1.70 goals-against average and .948 save percentage, and padded those numbers for the Bruins (18-11-4, 40 points).
Fourteen seconds into a hooking penalty on the Bruins’ Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron converted a breakaway chance. The Bruins forward beat Dustin Byfuglien to a pass around the boards and took it up the ice, easily beating Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
“There was still a lot of time,” Pavelec said. “They scored on their first chance, but I think they were more hungry for the two points.”
The Bruins added to the lead with two second-period goals, coming 56 seconds apart. Michael Ryder wristed a shot past Pavelec for a power-play goal 50 seconds into a hooking penalty to Andrew Ladd. It was the Thrashers’ fourth penalty in the first 24 minutes of the game. Shawn Thornton scored on a wrist shot less than a minute later and the Bruins had a 3-0 lead. It was his first of two goals.
A 10-man fight broke out with 4:06 left in the game. The Thrashers’ Freddy Meyer delivered a high check on Milan Lucic and he was jumped by Adam McQuaid. In the end, Atlanta’s Evander Kane fought Nathan Horton, Bryan Little took on Marc Savard and Anthony Stewart squared off with Andrew Ference. Meyer was given two minutes for elbowing and two minutes for roughing. Kane got a fighting major and Little and Stewart were given fighting majors and game misconduct.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Meyer said. “I was playing the rush and felt I got a pretty good hit on Lucic. Next thing you know everything broke loose. I thought I got him pretty clean.”
Among the Bruins penalties was a match penalty and game misconduct to Lucic, who sucker-punched Meyer during the fray.
“It was a good hit,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “That’s what happens. You throw a big hit and you have to have a fight. We are taking hitting out of the game. He takes a penalty for a good hit. They started all the fights. I think we should have had a power play for the rest of the game maybe a two-man advantage because our guys just responded. That was disappointing. Our guys all stood up for each other. You have to respond as a team and our players did a very good job of sticking up for ourselves.”
Kane said he tangled with two players before finally taking on Horton.
“Originally I had Savard,” Kane said. “Then I went over and grabbed Ference and then I looked over to my side and Horton was switched off and we just started going. It was disappointing to lose. Freddy made a great open-ice hit and guys apparently tend to go after you when you make a good hit. We are going to stick up for each other.”
Byfuglien scored at the 11:20 mark of the second period, netting his team-leading 13th goal. It was also his 37th point, a single-season high for the defenseman. In two games against the Bruins this season, Byfuglien has two goals and three assists. Kane and Little assisted on the goal. Kane has six points (two goals, four assists) in the past five games. Little extended his point streak to three games (one goal, three assists).
The Bruins improved to 15-0-0 when leading after two periods.
Thornton converted a give-and-go breakaway with Daniel Paille 4:54 into the third period to ice the game.
Eric Boulton tried to spark the Thrashers to start the game. He and Thornton dropped their gloves two seconds for a heavyweight bout. Each landed several big blows. The two also fought earlier this season, drawing fighting majors in the Nov. 28 contest.