BOSTON – Milan Lucic not only found the net, he’s seeing the ice better, too.
Lucic, playing his second straight game wearing contacts, completed his first career hat trick with 1:41 to play to lift the Boston Bruins to a 5-4 comeback win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night. “It’s like going from ordinary TV to high-definition TV,” Lucic joked. “It’s good to be out there when your vision’s clear.”
Stephane Yelle and David Krejci also scored to help Boston snap a three-game losing streak.
Vyacheslav Kozlov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jason Williams and Mathieu Schneider scored for the Thrashers, who lost their fifth in six games.
Lucic slid a backhander under defenceman Tobias Enstrom that slipped by goaltender Johan Hedberg.
Lucic played with contacts once last season, but lost them in a fight.
“No doubt that was a big game from him that we needed,” Boston coach Claude Julien said.
The format of the game was changed because of incorrect faceoff markings at one end of TD Banknorth Garden. The teams switched ends with 10:02 to play in the third period.
The Bruins issued a statement about 40 minutes before the game that said “the change in format is occurring due to incorrect markings on the West End of the TD Banknorth Garden ice. … The two face-off dots are 24 feet from the goal line – four feet longer than NHL specifications.”
The game’s first four goals came on the legal end of the ice.
“One thing I can tell you, it had no impact on any game we played,” Julien said. “There’s human error in everything we do. Not too many hockey people actually noticed it. When I found out I said, ‘Oh?”‘
The Bruins won their first home game after dropping their first two earlier this week.
Lucic, standing near the left – correctly measured – faceoff circle tipped Dennis Wideman’s shot from the point over Hedberg’s right shoulder to give Boston a 4-3 lead 5:08 into the third period.
Kozlov evened it at 4-all 2:14 later.
“We’re up 2-0 and they kept coming at us,” Hedberg said. “We got a couple of penalties and took it to us. Margin of error is pretty small sometimes and unfortunately they had the bounces on their side tonight.”
Yelle and Lucic each scored in the first six minutes of the second period to help Boston overcome a 2-0 deficit. Yelle, positioned in front of the net, was credited with a goal when Shawn Thronton’s slap shot from the point hit him and caromed into the net.
Lucic collected Michael Ryder’s shot from the corner and snapped a shot past Hedberg.
“In the second period, we just stopped doing the things that we were successful with in the first period,” Atlanta right winger Colby Armstrong said.
Atlanta took a 3-2 lead on Kovalchuk’s power-play goal midway through the second, but the Bruins evened it at 3 when Krejci collected a loose puck in the slot, turned and unloaded a slap shot over Hedberg’s right shoulder with 5:38 left in the second.
The Thrashers moved ahead 1-0 on Williams’ power-play goal with 4:57 left in the opening period when he banged a rebound behind goalie Manny Fernandez from the edge of the crease.
They made it 2-0 on Schneider’s power-play score with 11 seconds left in the first.
Notes: Lucic, in his second season, had his first career multi-goal game. … Fernandez made his first home start. … Hedberg made his first start of the season. … The Thrashers lost 5-3 in Detroit on Friday night.