KANATA, Ont. – When it comes to beating the Boston Bruins, the Ottawa Senators still can't find the answer.
The Bruins made it 4-for-4 in 2011-12 and 8-for-8 during the past two seasons as Patrice Bergeron scored twice in a 5-3 victory Saturday night. Brad Marchand, Carter Camper and David Krejci also scored for the Bruins, who've also won their last eight visits to Canada's capital.
The Senators, who got an early goal by Erik Karlsson and a pair of late tallies by Daniel Alfredsson, haven't beaten the Bruins anywhere since a 2-0 win at Boston on Nov. 13, 2010. They haven't beaten the B's at Scotiabank Place since a 3-2 win on April 7, 2009.
"They put a press on -- they're a good team and we know that," said Boston goaltender Tim Thomas, who made 27 saves to win at Ottawa for the ninth straight time. "It was a little closer but the end result was what we wanted."
The win moved the Bruins (37-20-3) five points ahead of second-place Ottawa in the Northeast Division race with four games in hand. It will be five games when the teams reconvene Tuesday night in Boston -- the Senators (32-23-8), seventh in the Eastern Conference, host the New York Islanders on Sunday evening.
Thomas, however, was only focused on one game.
"I didn't know we had (Ottawa) back-to-back until after the second period," he said, making a joke. "I was thinking about tonight because it was a big game – they're in our division and they're chasing us. It's the end of a road trip and we want to go home with a good taste in our mouths."
Alex Auld, who made his first start since Feb. 9, stopped 33 shots. Auld took the place on injured starter Craig Anderson, who cut his hand in an accident at home after Wednesday's win against Washington and won't play until next week at the earliest.
"I felt good, but it wasn't enough," Auld said after the Senators' four-game winning streak ended. "I think it's a good step – obviously I have to worry about myself: The way I play and the way I prepare. I felt in the game and it was nice to see a lot of shots; probably the most I've had all year. But you want to win games, especially against teams you're chasing."
Although Auld allowed two stoppable goals, coach Paul MacLean would not allow his goaltender to be viewed as a scapegoat.
"I thought our team didn't play very well," he said. "They scored two goals off of rebounds that were second opportunities, and we weren't good at clearing. We can't blame the goalie for a game that the team didn't play well, and the team only played 12 minutes of the game. You're not going to win any games playing 12 minutes."
Ottawa grabbed a 1-0 lead just 1:10 into the game by scoring on its first shot on goal. Jason Spezza's backhand pass found Erik Karlsson in the slot, and the NHL's highest-scoring defenseman beat Thomas through the five-hole for his 14th goal of the season. Spezza, who finished with three assists and reached the 600-point mark for his career, extended his points streak to eight games, during which he has seven goals and 12 assists.
Karlsson has scored the first goal in the Senators' last three games and four of the last five. He finished with a goal and two assists and leads all NHL defensemen with 63 points.
Boston got even at 3:46 when Auld stopped Zdeno Chara's slap shot from the point but couldn't control it and Bergeron lifted the rebound over Auld's glove. Boston made it 2-1 at 16:13 when Marchand's wrist shot from the top of the left circle easily evaded Auld's glove side for his 22nd goal of the season.
The Bruins continued to dominate play early in the second period and increased their lead at 3:34 when Adam McQuaid's shot from the point rebounded to Camper, who slipped the puck past the stick side of Auld for his first NHL goal.
"I was able to get in on the forecheck and McQuaid was able to get the puck to the net," Camper said. "I saw the empty net over my right shoulder and just squeezed it in there on the ice." Camper, still beaming after receiving the puck, is thrilled to be a part of the League's hectic atmosphere. "I have nothing to compare it to, but it's so exciting. It's the NHL – it's something you always want to be a part of, and hopefully I can stay around a while."
Krejci one-timed Dennis Seidenberg's miss off the end boards into a nearly empty net midway through the third period for what appeared to be a window-dressing 4-1 lead. But it wound up being the winner despite the Senators refusing to quit
Alfredsson blasted a high shot from the left half-boards past Thomas with 3:45 remaining, then scored again from nearly the same spot with 2:08 left, setting up a frantic finish. But Thomas kept the puck out of his net until Bergeron scaled a shot from his own blue line that caught the empty net with 18.2 seconds to play.