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Minus captain, Bruins roll to 5-2 win over Senators

by Erin Nicks /
KANATA, Ont. -- Tim Thomas may have a superb record against Ottawa, but he insists there's no secret to beating the Senators – or any other team -- right now.

"It's not Ottawa and it's not Canada," he said. "I'm 12-1 in my last 13. The team is finding ways to win right now."

Thomas was the biggest reason the Bruins found a way to win on Wednesday. He allowed goals to Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza but stopped the other 47 shots he faced as the Bruins beat the Senators 5-2 at Scotiabank Place.

The Bruins improved to 4-0-0 this season when allowing 40 or more shots -- including wins on back-to-back nights. Thomas improved to 21-8-2 with six shutouts in his career against Ottawa.

"I'm not sure what it is," Alfredsson said, "but we made [Thomas] look good."

The rest of the Bruins looked pretty good too.

Daniel Paille had two goals and the Bruins scored twice in 56 seconds in the third period. Rich Peverley had a goal and an assist, Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron also scored and Andrew Ference had a pair of assists as the Bruins beat the Senators for the sixth straight time and won their seventh in a row in Ottawa, where they haven't lost since April 7, 2009.

"Tim played good for them tonight," Spezza said. "We did some good things, but we had too many gaffes to give them grade-A quality scoring chances and that cost us in the end. We played good for 55 minutes and found a way to lose that game. We need to find a way to tighten things up -- we're giving up breakaways.  We had a lot of chances, we just didn't bury them."

After a 3-7-0 start, the Bruins have gone 17-2-1 since Nov. 1, when they launched a 10-game winning streak by beating the Senators 5-3 in Boston. They have 41 points, tying them with Philadelphia for the most in the Eastern Conference.

"We were behind the 8-ball there at the beginning of the season," Thomas said. "It was a tough start for us and tough overcoming that Stanley Cup hangover. We've definitely turned it around."

Ottawa (14-14-4) took nine of the game's first 10 shots, but the Bruins grabbed the lead 12:10 into the first period when Peverley skated into the high slot and zipped a wrist shot past Craig Anderson, who stopped 24 of 29 shots.

The Senators got even 4:23 into the second period when Spezza dished a pass to Alfredsson, who one-timed a shot from the high slot to beat Thomas. But the Bruins went ahead to stay at 13:47 when Kelly, a former Senator, crashed the crease, scooped up the rebound of Johnny Boychuk's shot and flipped it past Anderson for his 200th career point.

That was bad news for the Senators -- Boston entered the game 14-0-0 when leading after two periods -- and the Bruins wasted little time putting the game away. Bergeron raced up ice and deked Anderson before scoring at 4:54 of the third. Just 56 seconds later, Paille took a gorgeous pass from Shawn Thornton and beat Anderson through the five-hole for a 4-1 lead.

"It was a bit of a breakdown in the offensive zone for them," Paille said. "I capitalized on that and realized there was an opening. Ference had his head up for 10 seconds and he saw me, and I just wanted to keep the goaltender moving."

Said Ottawa coach Paul MacLean: "I thought we played real well through the first two periods. Then two fatal mistakes, two turnovers and not executing with the puck -- it ends up being the difference in the game. It's happening continually and we have to work at having it stop."

Spezza gave the Senators some hope when his high wrister from the circle went through a screen and past Thomas with 4:05 left in regulation. It was the 12th point in 10 games for Spezza and the ninth point in nine games for Alfredsson.
But Paille scored his second of the night with 1:04 remaining to ice the win.

"I thought about passing but the defenseman gave me the shot so I went top corner," Paille said.

For the Senators, who felt as if they had the game under control for most of the night, the loss was a tough pill to swallow.

"I think we weren't sharp," defenseman Jared Cowen said. "We weren't ready for certain opportunities and it led to turnovers. We have more quantity; they had lots of quality chances so I think that was the difference."
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