OTTAWA (AP) - Tim Thomas savored his first NHL shutout all the more after having set it aside as an impossible dream.
A two-time All-American at the University of Vermont who played in Finland last season, Thomas has appeared in 15 NHL games overall, including 11 straight since he was recalled from Providence of the AHL on Jan. 10.
``I'd already put it completely out of my mind,'' Thomas said. ``I'd made peace with the fact that I wasn't going to play in the NHL. I was happy to end out my career in Finland.
``Signing this year - getting sent down wasn't in my plans but getting called back up was like awakening an old dream that you forgot about when you were a kid but you gave up on and now all of a sudden you realize you have a chance for it to still come true. It's actually even better that way, I think.''
Thomas made his ninth straight start for Boston, which lost 4-3 to the New York Islanders on Saturday, the only game in which the Bruins failed to register a point over that stretch (6-1-2).
``He's an older guy who's played a lot of hockey in a lot of different leagues and for him to persevere and to be persistent with his career and strive to get to the NHL I think is a compliment to his character,'' Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. ``He's certainly taken advantage of an opportunity and he has been a key ingredient in us having some success in the last few weeks.''
Patrice Bergeron, Nick Boynton, Marco Sturm and Sergei Samsonov also scored against rookie Ray Emery, making his first appearance since Jan. 7 when he was pulled 15:33 in after allowing all four goals in a 4-0 loss in Montreal.
Emery, who allowed all the goals in an 8-3 loss in Atlanta on Jan. 2 in his previous start before the Montreal game, was booed when he appeared on the video scoreboard late in the third to make a public service announcement.
``They want to see wins and it was a tough night,'' Emery said. ``It's understood you don't want to get booed but they were cheering when I was winning so that's part of being a fan.''
He made 19 saves and is 2-4-1 since setting an NHL record on Nov. 29 when he recorded his first career shutout in a 4-0 win over Montreal to move ahead of Bob Froese with his ninth straight win to begin his career.
``We're trying for him and things didn't go his way,'' Senators center Bryan Smolinski said. ``I know he's a couple of bad starts his last couple of games. He wants to play his best and I think we can see he's in a great frame of mind, it just wasn't his game.''
Sturm and Boynton each had two points as Boston shut out Ottawa for the second time in six games this season, evening the season series after losing the first three games against the Northeast Division-leading Senators. Boston has outscored Ottawa 12-2 in the last three meetings.
``They can come at you with a lot of different combinations and key people so fortunately for us we've been getting timely goaltending when we play against them and I think our players are competing,'' Sullivan said.
The Senators, who fell to 20-5-1 at Scotiabank Place, have been shut out in three of their five home losses in regulation.
Bergeron beat Emery with a one-timer 15:15 in for his 16th goal on a pass from Boyes, who made it 2-0 at 18:08 with his 14th.
Boynton scored a short-handed goal for his fifth 5:21 into the second as he elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 with Travis Green to increase the lead to 3-0.
Boyes held the puck and made a fine pass that left Emery little chance on Sturm's goal at 9:17 which made it 4-0.
Samsonov got his 17th at 13:42, putting a rebound of Brian Leetch's deflected backhand past Emery for Boston's fifth goal.
Notes: Bruins rookie Hannu Toivonen stopped 26 shots in a 3-0 win over the Senators on Dec. 1 for his first career shutout. Toivonen has been sidelined since suffering a sprained ankle Jan. 5 during Boston's 4-2 win over Ottawa. ... Senators G Dominik Hasek, who turned 41 Sunday, had started each of Ottawa's eight previous games (6-1-1). ... The Senators lost 2-0 to Dallas on Dec. 15. They also were shut out by the same score by San Jose on Jan. 12. ... The crowd of 19,551 was Ottawa's 21st sellout in 26 home games.
|Patrice Bergeron (16) ASST: Brad Boyes (21)|
1 - 0 BOS
|Brad Boyes (14) ASST: Marco Sturm (20), Hal Gill (6)|
2 - 0 BOS
|SHG - Nick Boynton (5) ASST: P.J. Axelsson (16)|
3 - 0 BOS
|Marco Sturm (20) ASST: Brad Boyes (22), Nick Boynton (5)|
4 - 0 BOS
|Sergei Samsonov (17) ASST: Brian Leetch (17), Patrick Leahy (4)|
5 - 0 BOS
|Nick Boynton Hooking against Dany Heatley|
|Anton Volchenkov Hooking against Patrice Bergeron|
|David Tanabe Holding against Daniel Alfredsson|
|Dan Lacouture Tripping against Daniel Alfredsson|
|Chris Neil Interference against Travis Green|
|Thomas Fitzgerald Hi-sticking against Dany Heatley|
|Chris Neil Interference against Dan Lacouture|