Bruins snap six-game skid, top Sens in shootout

BOSTON (AP) -- After stopping Jason Spezza in the shootout to
secure the Boston Bruins' win, goalie Tim Thomas had two reasons to
pump his fist in relief.

Not only did the victory snap Boston's six-game losing streak,
but it also gave the Bruins their first win in seven shootouts.

Patrice Bergeron scored the winning goal in the shootout and
Thomas stopped three shots to help the Bruins beat the Ottawa
Senators 3-2 Thursday night.

"It's been a long time coming," Thomas said. "It's nice to
know what the teams that have been beating us in the shootouts feel

On Boston's first shot in the shootout, Bergeron glided in the
front of the net and snuck the puck past Ottawa goalie Ray Emery.
Thomas then stuffed Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Spezza for
the win.

The Bruins have defeated the Senators four straight times and
are the only team in the NHL to beat Ottawa more than twice. Boston
won only its second game in March, while Ottawa lost for the first
time in three tries and fell to 7-1-1 since the Olympic break.

Thomas saved 31 shots, including 13 in the second period, to win
for the first time in eight tries and improve his record to 9-7-5.

"His energy is contagious," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said of
Thomas. "Our players feel it, I feel it behind the bench. He's
inspiring to everyone."

Ottawa, which entered the game as the NHL's highest-scoring team
at 3.97 goals per game, fell to 0-2 against Thomas this year.
Thomas saved 44 shots in a 5-0 Boston win on Jan. 30, recording the
last shutout against Ottawa.

After being held to just five goals in their last four games,
the Bruins took a 1-0 lead 1:29 into the first period when Brad
Boyes poked a rebound behind Emery.

Bergeron extended Boston's lead to 2-0 just 1:09 into the third
period when his pass from behind the net bounced off Emery's stick
and into the net.

After Thomas saved all 22 Ottawa shots through two periods, the
Senators scored twice in less than 4 minutes in the third period to
climb out of a 2-0 deficit and force overtime.

"When they made it 2-2, I just didn't have the sense that it
would totally switch the other way even though they caught up,"
Thomas said.

A streaking Spezza received a nifty pass from Heatley in front
of the Bruins' net and pushed the puck past Thomas to make it 2-1
at 7:24 of the third period.

Antoine Vermette then tied it at 2 at 11:16 on a back-handed
shot from the right of the net.

"It's frustrating because we felt like we had the momentum,"
Vermette said. "But then we took that penalty that was hard for us
to take."

The Bruins could have turned the game into a blowout early, but
failed to convert on a pair of easy opportunities.

First, Sturm missed a wide-open shot from point-blank range
midway through the first period. Wayne Primeau then hit the post on
another wide-open attempt, this one from left of the net seven
minutes into the second period.

Despite the loss, the Senators were happy to salvage a point
despite falling behind by two goals.

"It was good to see us come back and keep playing hard,"
Vermette said. "In the playoffs, you won't take the lead every

Game notes
Boyes ranks third in points scored and sixth in goals among
NHL rookies. ... Ottawa is 17-5-2 against Northeast Division
opponents, but four of their division losses have come to Boston.
... Senators goalie Dominik Hasek, who has missed nine games with a
groin injury suffered at the Turin Olympics, traveled with Ottawa
to Boston. ... Mark Stuart, playing in his third career game since
being recalled from Providence on March 10, assisted on the
Bergeron's goal to record the first NHL point of his career. Stuart
was Boston's first-round draft pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.