Marian Hossa kept up his strong start with a goal and two assists. He has four goals and eight points in the Thrashers’ first four games. Atlanta, which got off to a miserable start in 2005 and came up two points short of its first playoff appearance, has picked up at least one point in every game. The Thrashers began their winning streak after a shootout loss on opening night.
Lehtonen is a big reason for the turnaround. The Finnish goalie went down in last year’s opener with a groin injury, and wound up playing only 38 games. He stepped up his conditioning during the off-season and is fulfilling his potential as the second pick in the 2002 NHL draft.
After back-to-back shutouts, Lehtonen stretched his scoreless streak to 167 minutes, 56 seconds before P.J. Axelsson scored off a deflection at 5:14 of the second period. Still, the Atlanta goalie broke Michael Garnett’s team record of 155:55 over a three-game span last December.
Otherwise, Lehtonen stopped everything the Bruins sent his way, including several shots from point-blank range in the third period. He finished with 22 saves.
The Thrashers went ahead at 2:53 of the second on Jon Sim’s second goal of the season. After Steve Rucchin won a faceoff in the Boston zone, Sim fired a shot through a screen that beat Bruins goalie Hannu Toivonen.
Boston tied it on a fluke goal. Brad Boyes fired a shot that was going wide of the net, but it ricocheted off Axelsson’s chest and past a helpless Lehtonen.
But Scott Mellanby put the Thrashers ahead for good with 5 1/2 minutes left in the second. With Bruins defenceman Andrew Alberts hobbled by a shot off his foot, Hossa passed across the crease to Mellanby, who slammed it past Toivonen.
Glen Metropolit added another goal in the period, his first with the Thrashers, and Hossa put it away with a beautiful goal in the final period. After Boston failed to keep it in at the point, Hossa swept in past defenceman Nathan Dempsey and slid the puck through Toivonen’s pads.
Notes: Thrashers D Greg DeVries went off early in the third period after being struck in the face with a shot.