The Atlanta Thrashers just keep on winning.
Dustin Byfuglien had four points and Atlanta scored three goals in the first period to coast to a 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Sunday night at Philips Arena.
Atlanta (12-9-3) has won five games in a row and leapfrogged the Bruins to secure seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.
“He’s special,” Atlanta head coach Craig Ramsay said of Byfuglien. “He’s growing in the defensive zone and what’s probably what I like most, when he gets in battles down low he comes up with the puck and he makes plays off it.”
Evander Kane scored the first goal of the game when Anthony Stewart sent a pass across the crease and Kane had an easy tap-in for the goal.
Byfuglien made the lead 2-0 when he broke into the zone and wristed a shot over Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. Jim Slater made the score 3-0 heading into the break after receiving a pass from Byfuglien and sliding it past Rask.
“We are finding ways to lose instead of finding ways to win,” said Boston coach Claude Julien.
Despite a pair of fights in the second (Kane versus Matt Hunwick and Eric Boulton versus Shawn Thornton) Boston only scored one goal, which the Thrashers equalized. The Bruins made it 3-1 in the second period when Blake Wheeler lifted a shot over Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec. But Atlanta quickly restored a three-goal edge when Niclas Bergfors tipped in a shot off the powerplay.
Pavelec stopped 40 shots as he won his fifth game in a row. He made a number of great stops during a Bruin rally during the second period.
“He’s got us running,” Ramsay said. “And he was the difference. He battled like crazy and we fought through it.”
The Thrashers finished a six-game homestand with five straight wins, and the team realizes what they have accomplished.
“There was talk going into this year that we were going to bring in a new culture in here and a new idea of what this team is going to do,” said Atlanta captain Andrew Ladd. “We are going to show up every night and compete and do what we need to do to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Atlanta travels to Denver on Tuesday to take on the Colorado Avalanche.