ATLANTA — Atlanta Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay took a gamble and won.
Ramsay sent out Stapleton, who was just called up from Chicago of the American Hockey League, first in the tiebreaker.
“Well let’s see. We hadn’t won any, we hadn’t scored many, so seemed like a logical choice,” Ramsay said.
Logical or not, it paid off.
“I was real confident about putting him in there. He’s a great kid. We know he can shoot,” Ramsay said.
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Stapleton, who has eight goals and seven assists in 20 games in the AHL this season but was failed to score a point in nine games with Atlanta, beat Tim Thomas with a shot through the legs to open the shootout. Atlanta’s Ondrej Pavelec stopped Boston’s Tyler Seguin bid before Little put the puck past Thomas. Pavelec then wrapped up his eighth victory in his last 10 home games, stopping Blake Wheeler.
The Thrashers snapped a four-game losing streak and ended the Bruins’ winning streak at three.
Wheeler and Patrice Bergeron scored in regulation for Boston.
“I have been on three flights in the last 24 hours, so I’m just glad we won,” Stapleton said, adding he was surprised to be chosen for the shootout.
“But he [Ramsay] told me earlier to think about it. I didn’t have much time to think about it.”
The Bruins outshot the Thrashers 44-32 overall, and 18-7 in the scoreless third period.
Atlanta had a 5-2 edge in overtime.
“I don’t know if he [Pavelec] has horseshoes under his skates, but he made some big saves for them,” Boston’s Milan Lucic said.
“Yeah, we played well. If it weren’t for that darn scoreboard, we could have walked away from here feeling good,” Thomas said. “We made a lot of good plays, we just didn’t finish.”
Enstrom tied it at 2 at 9:21 of the second period, beating Thomas with a shot from the blue line for his seventh goal of the season.
“We have been struggling a little bit lately and it feels so good to be back on track,” Enstrom said. “With Ondrej in the net, he gives us a chance to win every night.”
The Bruins took a 2-1 lead 55 seconds into the middle period on Wheeler’s ninth goal. He beat Pavelec from the right faceoff circle after a pass from Mark Stuart.
Enstrom opened the scoring at 3:23 of the first period, knocking the puck between the legs of Thomas.
Boston tied it at 14:09 of the opening period when Bergeron took the puck at mid-ice and skated in alone and knocked in a backhander off the pads of Pavelec. Bergeron has eight goals this season.
Dustin Byfuglien assisted on Enstrom’s first goal, giving the defenseman three goals and three assists in his last six games. Byfuglien leads NHL defensemen with 14 goals and 39 points.
Atlanta C Nik Antropov missed his fourth straight game because of a lower-body injury. He was placed on injured reserve before the game. Thrashers F Evander Kane injured his mid-body Tuesday night in a 6-3 loss at Pittsburgh. He didn’t play. … The Bruins were 11-1 in the last three seasons against Atlanta and outscored them 49-26 prior to Thursday night.