BOSTON - Michael Ryder scored on a penalty shot with 7:29 left to break a third-period tie and help the Boston Bruins clinch the Northeast Division title with a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.
Ryder stole the puck from Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian at center ice and was racing in alone on the goal when he was slashed by Atlanta's Johnny Oduya before he got to the crease.
Ryder was given a penalty shot and he slowly made his way toward Ondrej Pavelec before wristing it over the goalie's left shoulder.
Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots for the Bruins, who lead Montreal by 10 points with four games left.
The division title guarantees no worse than a No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and home-ice advantage in the first round.
Pavelec made 20 saves for the Thrashers, who were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
The Thrashers pulled the goalie with over a minute left, but were unable to mount any sustained pressure in the Bruins' zone.
It was the first successful penalty shot of Ryder's career, and his first goal in 12 games since Feb. 27.
The Bruins scored first when Mark Recchi put in a rebound of Brad Marchand's backhander from the edge of the crease. It was the 576th of Recchi's career, 19th in NHL history.
Atlanta tied it when Dustin Byfuglien's shot popped into the air off Rask's stick and landed on the goalie's back before rolling into the net.
It was Byfuglien's 20th goal of the season, leading all NHL defensemen, and it snapped the Thrashers' 0-for-16 drought on the power play.
But after taking a 2-1 lead on Evander Kane's goal 97 seconds into the second period, the Thrashers' power-play unit gave up Daniel Paille's short-handed goal at the 6:18 mark.
Notes: Marchand won the team's seventh player award, announced before the game. ... Thrashers D Tobias Enstrom left the game in the first period with an unspecified injury and did not return. ... Nik Antropov, who assisted on Atlanta's second goal, has points in four straight games. ... A Thrashers player hit the scoreboard in the third period while trying to clear the zone. ... The Bruins improved to 15-4-1 against the Southeast. ... Shane Hnidy made his season debut. He signed Feb. 26 after missing most of the season when he injured his shoulder in Phoenix's training camp. ... Bruins F Shawn Thornton missed his second straight game since needing 40 stitches to close a gash in his forehead.