Bruins clinch Northeast Division crown with 3-2 win over Atlanta

The Bruins wrapped up the 2010-'11 Northeast Division title with a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon. Michael Ryder's penalty shot goal late in the third period proved to be the game-winner as the Bruins sealed up one of the top 3 playoff spots in the East Conference.

Mark Recchi gave the B's a 1-0 lead 4:34 into the game. Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian appeared to try to tip the puck back to his goalie Ondrej Pavelec to cover up, but the puck squirted free to Mark Recchi at the doorstep, where he easily tapped the puck past the goal line. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand picked up helpers.

Dustin Byfuglien's slapper from the high slot knotted it up at 11:11 of the first period on the power play following a delay of game call on Tuukka Rask. Rask made the initial stop with his stick but the angle of the goal stick caused the puck to hop over his shoulder and his flailing glove hand.

Atlanta gained the 2-1 lead 1:37 into the second period after Dennis Seidenberg coughed up the puck in the defensive zone. Evander Kane's shot from the slot found the back of the net while no less than four Bruins fell over each other in front of Rask like they were auditioning for The Benny Hill Show.

Daniel Paille knotted it up for the Bruins at 6:18 of the middle period with a shorthanded goal on a great individual effort. Paille's moderate forechecking pressure caused the Thrashers to turnover the puck and Paille roofed a shot over the shoulder of Pavelec on the near side with "Sheriff" Shane Hnidy in the box for delay.

With 7:29 left in the third period, Micahel Ryder was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down by Johnny Oduya. On the penalty shot, Ryder ripped off a hard snap shot that beat Pavelec high on the glove side for his 18th goal of the season.



 

Notes:

- As expected Brad Marchand won the Bruins 7th Player Award in a pre-game ceremony. Marchand was given a new Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.

- The Bruins clinched the Northeast Division for the second time in the past three seasons.

- Atlanta was officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.

- The Thrashers out-shot the Bruins 30-23.

- The Bruins absolutely dominated Atlanta in the face-off circle, winning 68% of the draws today (41-19). No Bruin was less than 50% from the dot today.

- The Thrashers did a great job of limiting the number of shots that got through to Pavelec. Atlanta blocked 22 shots. Former Bruins blue liner Mark Stuart led the way with 4 rejections.

- Shane Hnidy logged 13:53 of ice time in his game of the season.

- You can put an concerns about Zdeno Chara's health to rest. The big defenseman saw a Bruins game-high 24:33 of ice time.

- Atlanta's Dustin Byfuglien logged an exhausting game-high 28:09 today.

- Is Craig Ramsay the worst-dressed bench boss in the league? I mean, come on man. This is the NHL. Step up your game. Floral ties and pastel dress shirts just aren't going to cut in the NHL in 2011. I know no one pays attention down there, but at least dress the part of a guy that coaches a legitimate NHL team.

- Shawn Thornton (forehead wound) was held out of today's game. Steven Kampfer and Adam McQuaid were the healthy scratches for the hometown team.

- The Bruins will travel to New York on Monday to take on the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. I think we will start to see Claude Julien try to give some of his key players nights off from now until the playoffs. It will be interesting to see what the lineup will look like on Monday.

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