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Bruins' Chara scores game-winner against former team

BOSTON (AP) -- Zdeno Chara's big hits were followed by a blazing
shot that really hurt his old team.


Chara scored the winning goal in his first game against his
former team, lifting the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Ottawa
Senators on Saturday night.


Chara, one of the NHL's top free agents last summer, scored a
power-play goal on a blistering slap shot from the right point with
4:25 left to give the struggling Bruins just their second win in
six games.


Although he downplayed his matchup against the team where he
spent the last four seasons, Chara came out flying and hitting
early in the game.


"Yes, I was playing my former team but my main focus was on
those two points," he said. "It did not matter who we played. We
really needed this win and we got it and it's a nice feeling."


Chara used his 6-foot-9 frame often against his former team in
the first period, banging against a number of Senators players and
nearly getting into a fight with winger Brian McGrattan. The pair
were sent off for roughing after dropping their gloves and tussling
in front of the Ottawa net.


The Bruins also hired away former Ottawa assistant general
manager Peter Chiarelli in May, naming him the team's GM after
firing Mike O'Connell. Chiarelli later fired coach Mike Sullivan
and replaced him with Dave Lewis.


Tim Thomas stopped 35 shots and P.J. Axelsson also scored for
Boston.


"I know he didn't want to make too big a deal out of it before
the game, but I'm sure he's happy right now," Thomas said of
Chara.


Dany Heatley scored a second-period power-play goal for the
Senators, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.


Martin Gerber had 30 saves for Ottawa, but he couldn't get close
to Chara's shot that beat him over the right shoulder.


"The power-play goal was a goal where the goaltender couldn't
see the puck," Lewis said. "I'm not just thinking of him, I'm
thinking it was a nice win for everyone. Timmy made some big saves
when we needed them. I don't know if you could've scripted it any
better."


Chara's play looked very familiar to the Senators.


"That's what he was for us," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said.
"He's a big man out there, played a lot of minutes, matched up
against the better lines and shot the puck at times. Obviously,
they've really focused on him being the point man on the power play
and finally he got one through."


After a scoreless first period, the Senators converted a two-man
advantage into Heatley's goal at 17:21 in the second. Heatley,
positioned at the right side of the crease, banged in a cross-ice
pass from Jason Spezza.


The Bruins tied it with 12:55 to play in the third when Axelsson
stole the puck from defenseman Tom Preissing, broke in alone and
fired a wrist shot into the top left corner.


The Senators had scored a club-record tying 21 goals in their
previous three games.


Thomas had the best stop of the night early in the second period
when he made a diving glove save, coming across the crease to rob
Heatley.

Game notes
Ottawa defenseman Andrej Meszaros assisted on Heatley's
goal, giving the team's defensemen 16 points in the last four
games. ... The Bruins entered the night last in the NHL in penalty
killing. ... Chara's goal was the first power-play goal allowed by
the Senators on the road this season.