BOSTON - Dany Heatley is scoring again. Now he’d just like to get a win.
On Tuesday night, the Atlanta forward scored his first goal since recovering from a car accident that killed teammate Dan Snyder. It wasn’t enough, however, as the Boston Bruins beat the Thrashers 5-4.
“It felt good,” Heatley said of his goal. “It would have been better to get a win. But, I’m back in the scoring column.”
Heatley was activated from the injured reserve list four games ago after missing 51 games following the accident.
“The support from the hockey world has been great,” Heatley said. “That’s the reason I was able to come back this year.”
On Sept. 23, 2003, Snyder was riding in the passenger seat when Heatley lost control of his sports car and crashed into a wall in Atlanta. Snyder sustained brain injuries and died six days later.
Heatley broke his jaw and tore ligaments in his right knee. Initial indications were that Heatley would miss most or all of the season.
“He was out four months. He’s not in the best shape,” teammate Ilya Kovalchuk said. “But he’s going to get better and better every game.”
Joe Thornton scored a pair of goals for Boston, which has won four straight and is unbeaten in its last five. Glenn Murray added a goal and an assist.
“We’ve got a lot of guys committed to doing the little things and the little things lead to the big things,” Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It’s about holding everyone accountable and our players are buying into that.”
The Thrashers, winless in their last seven, tied the game at 3-all 37 seconds into the third period when Marc Savard popped his own rebound over the glove of Boston goalie Felix Potvin.
Thornton’s second goal of the game and 13th of the year gave the Bruins a 4-3 lead two minutes later.
“The game got off to a slow start but both teams picked up the pace in the second period,” Thornton said. “I think it was just a matter of not playing each other for a while, but we both really opened it up in the last two periods.”
But Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre notched his first goal this season midway through the third to tie the game at 4-all, setting up Rolston’s winner.
Boston tied the game 1-1 11 minutes into the opening period when Patrice Bergeron scored his 15th goal on a shot from just inside the right face-off circle.
The Bruins got a pair of goals in the second period to take a 3-2 lead. Thornton scored the first, lifting Boston to a 2-1 lead.
Murray scored his eighth goal in the last five games on a power play with six minutes left to extend the lead to 3-1.
Ilya Kovalchuk cut the Boston lead to 3-2 with his team-leading 27th goal of the season at 16:55 of the second.
Notes: The Bruins had a special ticket offer for the game. Anyone who attended the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl Championship celebration in the afternoon could buy one ticket and get a second free. ... Thornton is one point short of his 400th in the NHL. ... Atlanta has allowed more than two goals in a game six times in the last 12 games. ... Kovalchuk has led the Thrashers or tied for first in shots on 29 occasions this season.
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