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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Thrashers, Thursday 11-19

The Bruins travel to Atlanta tonight to face captain Ilya Kovalchuk and the Thrashers (10-6-1, 21 pts.).

Boston (8-8-4, 20 pts.) hopes to have a familiar face back in the lineup tonight, as Milan Lucic could make his return this evening. Lucic, who has been nursing a broken finger, returned to practice late last week, and has been cleared to play. He did not initially travel with the team last night due to a stomach bug, but reports indicate he has rejoined the team this morning and will be a game-time decision tonight.

Also close to his return is center Marc Savard. Savard, recuperating from a broken foot, is with the team, but is less likely to play this evening. Several reports indicate that he should be back in the lineup by Monday in St. Louis at the latest.

For the Thrashers, they look to extend their current winning streak to five games tonight, as they play their third game of a five-game homestand. Atlanta, who has played fewer games than any other team in the NHL thus far, is coming off a 3-2 win Sunday over Edmonton, which was preceded by a 7-0 butt-whooping of the L.A. Kings last Friday.

Let’s look now at a few more newsworthy notes and some noteworthy news leading up to tonight’s skate…

  • Boston swept the season series last year over Atlanta, winning all 4 games. The B’s have won 6 straight overall over the Thrashers.
  • Atlanta is currently ranked 2nd in the NHL in scoring, putting up an impressive 3.65 goals per game. In contrast, Boston boasts just a 2.25 goals per game average, good for 28th in the league.
  • The Thrashers’ special teams units are among the league’s best as well. Atlanta currently ranks 2nd on the power play at 26.5% and 4th on the penalty kill at 84.5%.
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting this morning that goalie Ondrej Pavelec will start in net this evening for the Thrashers. Pavelec currently sports a record of 6-5-1, with a 2.90GAA. He is backed up by goalie Johan Hedberg (4-1-0, 2.63GAA).
  • Leading the scoring attack for Atlanta is center Rich Peverley, who the Thrashers claimed on waivers this past January. Peverley has 8 goals and 15 assists to lead the team. Also atop the stat sheet is captain Ilya Kovalchuk. The left winger who has played in only 11 games thus far due to injury, has 12 goals and 6 assists on the year. Following Kovalchuk among the team’s point leaders are forwards Maxim Afinogenov (7G, 10A) and Nik Antropov (0G, 16A).
  • Zach Bogosian, Atlanta’s young defenseman, leads all defensemen league-wide with eight goals on the year.
  • Defenseman Pavel Kubina and center Bryan Little are both game-time decisions for Atlanta this evening.
  • Lastly, the only Thrasher with some local appeal is Deerfield Academy’s own, Marty Reasoner. Reasoner, who is also a Boston College alum, spent time with the now defunct Worcester Icecats from 1998 to 2001 and played 19 games for Boston in the ’05-’06 season.

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