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Bruins beat Ottawa, 3-0

by Jeremy Lemoine / Boston Bruins
Boston - Behind phenomenal play from some of the newest Bruins faces, the Boston Bruins beat the Ottawa Senators, 3-0, Thursday night. This was the first game for the Bruins since General Manager Mike O'Connell made the trade that sent Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks for forwards Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau, and defenseman Brad Stuart. The newcomers chipped in immediately with Sturm recording a goal and assist, while Brad Stuart had an assist. Bruins goaltender Hannu Toivonen also had a great night, making 26 saves. The win improves the Bruins record to 9-13-5.

"I thought it was really a collective effort from top to bottom," said Head Coach Mike Sullivan. "I thought every guy made a significant contribution tonight from one of the best team's in the league. Each one of the new guys bring a little something different to this team. One thing they all bring is that they skate well. They increase our team speed. That was evident tonight.

"It was one of our better efforts of the season. It was an emotional day for everyone and I thought the players really responded."

Only 1:17 into the first period, the Bruins came out showing they had something to prove when Brad Boyes set up Marco Sturm for his seventh goal of the season. With Boyes in the corner, Sturm skated strong to the front of the net. Boyes quickly sent the puck to the crease where Sturm poked the puck past Ottawa's Dominik Hasek for a 1-0 lead.

"I think we played well tonight," said the newly acquired Marco Sturm. "The whole team played solid hockey. I played with (Boysie) some exhibition games and I know him well. I think the whole line really connected tonight. It's nice for me; a good relief to score a goal right away on my first shift and win right away too.

"My time was over in San Jose too I think," added Sturm. "It was a good trade for me. I needed to see something else. It's very exciting for me so far."

At 2:56 in the first, Zdenek Blatny was called for a holding penalty in the neutral zone. Boston played tough, squelching the Senators who are ranked third in the NHL in power plays.

With the Senators Dany Heatley in the penalty box, the B's scored their second goal of the game on a power play for a 2-0 lead. Patrice Bergeron one-timed a pass from Brad Stuart at the top of the right circle that beat Hasek short side for his eighth of the season. Sturm started the play by sending the puck to the point from the left half board and was credited with the other assist.

"It is just one game, but you definitely want to get started on the right foot," said new defenseman Brad Stuart. "I think we did that. With the game tonight, the team realized how we can be. I haven't seen any of the games to be honest with you, but the team has been struggling, and I think tonight it may have made everyone realize that we're this good. If you play with confidence and some urgency to get things done, you're going to win games and we did that tonight. That was a fun game to play in, guys were battling and winning those battles, and you had that sense that someone was going to be there if you made a mistake. Guys were working for each other and that's when it's fun."

In the second period, Boston came out strong. The line of Brad Boyes, Patrice Bergeron, and Marco Sturm, with the defensive pairing of Brad Stuart and Brian Leetch, helped the Bruins apply the pressure.

Hannu Toivonen was solid in net after two periods, turning away all 20 shots he faced.

"First of all, I helped the team to win," said rookie goalie Hannu Toivonen. "That's always the first mindset you need to have to go into every game. I think the guys made it really easy for me. There weren't too many bad chances out there and I was able to see the puck at all times. When you're able to see it, it makes your job a lot easier."

At 6:13 of the third period, Dan LaCouture got his first goal of the season off a pass from Alex Zhamnov at the Ottawa doorstep, making it 3-0 Bruins and sealing the win. The play started with Hal Gill keeping the puck in the zone, chipping it down to Zhamnov where he was able to feed a streaking LaCouture for the goal.

Despite Brad Boyes only having one point all night, this may have been his best game of the season. He played strong two-way hockey with both speed and finesse; and had a physical presence throughout the game.

"I feel awesome just because I'm playing with guys I'm comfortable with (Bergeron and Sturm). I felt great. Losing Joe, we all know we have to step up. I thought our line did well to fill that void somewhat. It's not easy filling a Joe Thornton, but we're trying to fill as much as we could and tonight we felt good and we were comfortable. The three of us, I thought we fed off each other really well. I hope this continues.

"These guys are great guys and we're happy to have them," Boyes added.

The Boston Bruins play the Edmonton Oilers of the Western Conference next. It will be the first time the Bruins face-off against a Western Conference team. Game time is 10:00 p.m. EST and can be seen on NESN.
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