Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, (33) of Slovak Republic, blocks a shot with his leg as Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil (25) attempts to screen Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) during second period NHL hockey action in Ottawa, Thursday January 31, 2008 . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
OTTAWA - The Bruins didn't give their best performance in Ottawa on Thursday night, but given the Senators' current state, Boston's effort was good enough to come out of Scotiabank Place with a victory.
In a week in which captain Daniel Alfredsson joined Dany Heatley with an injury on the sidelines and goaltender Ray Emery caused a controversy by showing up late for practice and subsequently being fined, the Bruins needed less than eight minutes to pile on the misery.
Marc Savard had a goal and an assist during a three-goal, first-period outburst and Boston (27-19-5) went to record a 4-1 victory before a sellout crowd of 19,959.
It was the Bruins' first victory over the Senators in four meetings this season.
"We wanted to come out and just work hard, we know a lot of stuff's been going on over there and we thought if we could get an early lead, it would be to our advantage and it certainly was," said Savard, who extended his point-scoring streak to nine games, during which he has three goals and 12 assists.
Phil Kessel scored just 32 seconds into the contest and the Bruins went on to beat Ottawa starting goaltender Martin Gerber three times on their opening six shots en route to recording their third straight victory and fifth in the past six outings.
Alfredsson, who before Thursday's games was the NHL scoring leader, aggravated a hip flexor injury in the Senators' 5-2 triumph over the New York Islanders on Thursday and had to sit out along with Heatley (separated shoulder).
The Senators went 0-for-2 the last time they started games minus the high-scoring combo, losing 2-0 and 6-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 19 and 20, respectively.
And after Gerber allowed goals to Kessel, rookie Milan Lucic and Savard before Thursday's game was nine minutes old, the Senators (32-16-4) didn't have the firepower to come back, despite directing 31 shots at Tim Thomas in Boston's net.
"It obviously wasn't the effort we needed," Ottawa centre Mike Fisher said. "The first period was pretty bad for turnovers and their team traps fairly well.
"We just gave them a lot of opportunities and from there, we played a little bit better, but they killed us in the first."
Lucic added an assist for Boston and Chuck Kobasew also had a goal and a helper.
"We kind of held on for dear life there," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Tim has been good for us all year and today he made the key saves when we needed him.
"I don't know if we caught them off guard, but we started the game the way we wanted. We got some pucks in deep and got rewarded for it."
Antoine Vermette, with a power-play marker, replied for Ottawa, which had its two-game win streak stopped.
Gerber finished with 18 saves.
The Senators' confidence was rattled early when Savard beat Fisher cleanly on a faceoff and drew the puck back to Kessel at the top of the right faceoff circle. His quick shot beat Gerber to make it 1-0 just 32 seconds in.
A blind drop pass by Jason Spezza at the Boston blue-line resulted in a 3-on-2 break the other way and, after Gerber stopped Chuck Kobasew's initial shot, Lucic was on the doorstep to score on the rebound at the 3:18 mark.
The turnover was one of several by Ottawa in the opening 20 minutes. Another one came when Savard picked off a clearing attempt in the Senators' end and his shot eluded Gerber to give the Bruins a three-goal cushion by the 8:21 mark.
"We've got to get better and I've got to get better," said Spezza, the sole member of the Senators' top line to still be in the lineup. "I turned the puck over two or three times and that's been uncharacteristic for me lately. I've been taking real good care of the puck."
With Ottawa on the power play in the third, Vermette finally solved Thomas after a giveaway in front of the Bruins' net, but that was as close as the Senators could get.
Kobasew scored into an empty net with Gerber on the bench in favour of an extra attacker in the game's final minute.
"With (Alfredsson and Heatley) out, we've got to keep it simple and just make sure we're outworking teams and making simple plays and doing the little things, and we did the opposite tonight," Fisher said.
Notes: - The Senators recalled centre Josh Hennessy from Binghamton of the AHL on Thursday. ... Ottawa's next game is Saturday at Toronto's Air Canada Centre against the Maple Leafs. ... Forwards Patrick Eaves (shoulder and neck) and Cody Bass (ankle) also sat out for Ottawa. ... Kobasew had accounted for four of the Bruins' five goals on the season against the Senators before Thursday's game. ... Boston returns home to play host to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. ... Bruins left-winger Marco Sturm didn't play because of a virus, missing the chance to appear in his 730th career contest and surpass Uwe Krupp as the all-time leader in games played by a German player. He was replaced by P.J. Axelsson, who missed seven games with a bruised right foot.