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Thrashers lose to Bruins for second time in 2 days
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BOSTON — Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to 15 games — the best in the NHL this season — and Michael Ryder scored two goals Saturday night to lead the Boston Bruins to a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.

It was the 11th consecutive home victory for the Bruins, their longest streak in 26 years. Manny Fernandez stopped 20 shots to win his eighth straight and improve to 6-0 with a 1.67 goals-against lifetime against Atlanta.

Dennis Wideman also scored for Boston, which has won 16 of its last 19 overall to move to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

One night after Boston won 7-3 in Atlanta, thanks in part to a goal and two assists from Kessel, the Bruins completed the home-and-home sweep and sent the Thrashers to their 11th loss in 13 games.
Nathan Oystrick and Marty Reasoner scored for Atlanta, and Johan Hedberg made 25 saves.

The Bruins took the lead on a power play 6 minutes into the game when Kessel got a crossing pass to the right of the goalie and put a wrist shot off Hedberg’s pads. The rebound bounced right back to Kessel, whose second shot found the net.

Blake Wheeler brought the puck over the blue line and dropped it for Ryder, who shifted it over to his backhand and slid it past Hedberg to make it 2-0 with 6:17 left in the first. Oystrick cut it to 2-1 with 38 seconds left in the period when he took an errant pass from Todd White and slapped it in from the point.

Kessel was in the middle of it again in the second, when he got into a stick fight with Boris Valabik behind the net and big Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara came to his teammate’s defense. Chara picked up 17 minutes in penalties, but that didn’t stop Wideman from giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead with their second power-play goal of the game with 1:44 left in the second.

Ryder fought his way through traffic to make it 4-1 with 4:12 left in the game. But Atlanta made it 4-2 when Reasoner’s wrist shot from the point caromed in off the left post with 2:20 to play.

Ryder missed a hat trick when his blooper into the empty net at the buzzer was ruled too late.

Notes: The Bruins recalled F Martins Karsums from Providence of the AHL on an emergency basis and placed F Marco Sturm on long term injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 17. ... The Bruins wore their special event black jerseys for the game. ... It’s the eighth time this season the Bruins have scored two or more power-play goals. ... Bruins F Patrice Bergeron missed the game with the flu and Aaron Ward was out with an ankle injury.

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