Bruins Live Blog: Tuukka Rask Shuts Out Thrashers, 4-0


March 23, 2010

Bruins Live Blog: Tuukka Rask Shuts Out Thrashers, 4-0 Bruins 4-0, final: Tuukka Rask made 28 saves to record his fourth shutout of the season and the fifth of his career, and the Bruins got goals from David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Miroslav Satan and Steve Begin. Good, solid performance from the Bruins, who gave themselves a three-point cushion for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Third period, 1:10, Bruins 4-0: Jack Edwards summed up the quiet Atlanta barn perfectly. "I've been in louder libraries," he just quipped on the NESN broadcast.

Third period, 2:30, Bruins 4-0: Boston generated some good chances but couldn't pound the net on its power play. At this point, all eyes are on Tuukka Rask's shutout and Eric Boulton's anger.

Third period, 4:44, Bruins 4-0: Eric Boulton got dumped in the corner by Mark Stuart, and the Atlanta bruiser retaliated by cross-checking Steve Begin from behind and trying to fight the B's forward. It was quickly broken up by the officials, and Boulton earned two minutes in the box. This game is already well in hand, and there's very little emotion in the barn right now, but the Bruins need to bring it on this power play. They've got to find a way to create some momentum on the man advantage.

Third period, 5:50, Bruins 4-0: These teams are just playing out the string in the final few minutes. Tuukka Rask has 25 saves to this point and is closing in on his fourth shutout of the season.

Third period, 8:50, Bruins 4-0: The Bruins have killed 16 of their last 17 penalties, and they're cruising to a big victory in Georgia.

Third period, 10:57, Bruins 4-0: The Thrashers get a second chance after the Bruins were whistled for too many men on the ice.

Third period, 11:30, Bruins 4-0: Man, and we thought the B's had a poor power play. Granted, the sample size isn't that great, but this was the Thrashers' biggest chance to give itself some life and they failed to put a shot on net. In the middle of the penalty kill, though, Mark Stuart took a bullet off of the left arm, and he's in some real pain on the bench.

Third period, 13:44, Bruins 4-0: Steve Begin got a minor for slashing, and the Thrashers have their first power play of the game.

Third period, 18:14, Bruins 4-0: Steve Begin scored his first goal in the 2010 calendar year. Milan Lucic's wrister from high in the zone rebounded off of Johan Hedberg, and Steve Begin was the first one through the slot to bat the puck into the Atlanta net. That was a lazy rebound from Hedberg, and the Thrashers look like the Thrashers are supposed to look.

Third period, 20:00, Bruins 3-0: This is a big 20 minutes of hockey. The Bruins have a one-point lead and a game in hand on the Thrashers for the eighth playoff spot, and a victory here would give the B's the inside track on that final postseason berth.

End of second period, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins closed out the second period much better than they finished off the first, and they have responded from that Pittsburgh loss with two really fine performances. If the B's close this thing out in Atlanta — and judging by the Thrashers' lack of passion, there's little reason to believe Boston can't get a win — it'll do wonders for their playoff chances.

Second period, 0:04, Bruins 3-0: Patrice Bergeron won a face-off in the Atlanta zone directly back to Zdeno Chara, whose quick shot floated through traffic, deflected off of Miroslav Satan's stick and beat Johan Hedberg with 3.5 seconds remaining in the period. That's a killer for an Atlanta team that has been on life support since the drop of the puck.

Second period, 3:05, Bruins 2-0: The officials awarded a penalty shot to Colby Armstrong, but Tuukka Rask stopped the wrister with his glove. Mark Stuart lost the puck while trying to clear the zone, and Dennis Wideman was the last man back. It wasn't really Wideman's fault, but the maligned defenseman had little choice but to hook Armstrong as he broke toward Rask. All in all, the Bruins are lucky the officials awarded Armstrong a penalty shot instead of a two-minute power play.

Second period, 8:00, Bruins 2-0: Great job by Johnny Boychuk to get back and break up a Colby Armstrong breakaway. Boychuk had much better legs and closed the gap on a tiring Armstrong, who broke into the Boston zone on the right side and didn't even get off a shot.

Second period, 12:01, Bruins 2-0: So much for not being able to finish, I guess. Milan Lucic's shot from the slot immediately redirected off of Pavel Kubina's leg and beat Johan Hedberg to provide some cushion for the Bruins.

Second period, 12:08, Bruins 1-0: Things are opening up a little more in Atlanta. Each team has gotten the puck to the net, but it's fairly apparent that neither has the dominant scorer or finisher to clean it up.

Second period, 16:20, Bruins 1-0: Boston couldn't get anything done on the power play, so it's just more of the same in that department.

Second period, 18:31, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins will try to resurrect their power play after Maxin Afinogenov got two minutes for holding the stick. The B's only have one power-play goal in their last 19 chances.

Second period, 19:35, Bruins 1-0: The second session is underway, so we'll see if the Thrashers have anything more in them or if the first period will symbolize everything they've got.

End of first period, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins jumped all over Atlanta through the majority of the first period, but they got sloppy at the end of the opening 20 minutes and were lucky to remain in the lead. This could be a little reminiscent of last Tuesday's game in Carolina, where the Bruins owned the first period before the Hurricanes woke up at intermission and controlled play in the second period. The Thrashers might need coach John Anderson to remind them of the importance of this game — since, clearly, the fans don't seem to care — and it will be up to the B's to answer Atlanta's energy next period.

First period, 9:00, Bruins 1-0: Oh, baby, that's a good old-fashioned hockey fight between Shawn Thornton and Eric Boulton. The two bruising forwards collaborated in the neutral zone and agreed to drop the gloves for an entertaining duel. Boulton actually lost his balance early in the fight, but give credit to the officials for allowing him the chance to regain his feet and continue the bout. After Thornton and Boulton exchanged a few more shots, Thornton ended up pulling Boulton's sweater of his head and blinding him, which ended the fight. There weren't any really solid connections, but that was entertaining nonetheless.

First period, 10:35, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins have really controlled the play over the last few minutes, and they just jumped out to a lead thanks to some nice puck movement from David Krejci and Michael Ryder. Krejci was battling behind the Atlanta net and dropped the puck to Ryder, who was banked to Johan Hedberg's right side. Ryder muscled the puck through the slot to Krejci, who beat defenseman Zach Bogosian to the pipe and redirected the puck into the net.

First period, 11:12, 0-0: Thrashers coach John Anderson looks like a long-lost brother of UMass hockey coach Don Cahoon.

First period, 13:55, 0-0: Atlanta had some great jump in the game's first minute, but the Bruins have since matched it. There haven't been any real notable scoring chances for either team, and the biggest news so far surrounds Vladimir Sobotka, who was shaken up on a hit and is missing his first shift. It shouldn't be anything serious, as he is probably just trying to catch his wind.

First period, 19:58, 0-0: They're underway in Atlanta, and the hype coming from down south looks like a slight shade of garbage. I see more seats than people.

6:53 p.m.: Wow, Mike Milbury just slammed Sharks center Joe Thornton while discussing San Jose's recent slide on Bruins Face-Off Live, saying the former Bruin "proves it every spring. He starts acting like a dog. He's lazy. He doesn't really get it."

6:48 p.m.: Johan Hedberg will be in net for the Thrashers, and the Atlanta goalie has provided a spark to his team in the same way that Tuukka Rask has lifted the Bruins.

6:31 p.m.: Tuukka Rask is expected to be in net for the Bruins, and some fellow writers in Atlanta are already commenting on the buzz in that town Tuesday night. Remind you of Celtics-Hawks at all?

8:01 a.m.: The schedule makers would have been kidding themselves last summer if they thought Tuesday's game between the Bruins and Thrashers would be so important.

But the B's (32-27-12, 76 points) have just a slight edge over the host Thrashers (32-29-11, 75 points) for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot, and Boston also has a game in hand.

Atlanta is a surprising postseason candidate, having fought through the trade of Ilya Kovalchuk to find a new identity. The Thrashers also lost six consecutive games prior to their current four-game winning streak, and this is the biggest game their franchise has seen in a few years. The puck drops at 7 p.m. on NESN.

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