Spezza’s return lifts Senators over Bruins 2-1

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BOSTON (AP)—It’s no great secret that the Ottawa Senators are a better team with Daniel Alfredsson(notes) and Jason Spezza(notes) in their lineup.

So now that both are back from injuries, it’s not surprising the Senators are on a roll.

Alfredsson played his fifth game Saturday since missing 11 because of a shoulder injury, and Spezza came back from a 20-game absence caused by a knee injury. Both scored in a 2-1 win over the Bruins that gave the Senators their sixth straight victory.

“I think we obviously got some key players back and our system is being executed very well,” Brian Elliott(notes) said after stopping 32 shots. “I think teams are having trouble with that.”

Alfredsson, who had a hat trick in a 5-1 win at Boston on Monday, scored in the first period. Spezza broke a 1-1 tie with 3:21 left in the second.

“I knew the guys were playing well, we went through a real tough stretch and we kind of got things together a bit so I wanted to play well,” said Spezza, who has six goals and has scored in three straight games.

The Senators, fifth in the Eastern Conference, have allowed seven goals during their winning streak.

“Everyone is contributing,” said Alfredsson, who has five goals and nine points since rejoining the lineup.

Boston has lost four straight for the first time since December 2007 and seven of eight. The Bruins have lost five in a row at home, their worst stretch in Boston since five straight defeats there in 2000.

“I’m not going to make excuses here. Got to play better,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Everybody. Have to be better as a team. You play with emotion, you play with attitude, you play with a lot of things and you’ve got to find that if you want to really turn the corner.”

Julien didn’t fault the team leaders for the slump.

“Let’s not pick on leadership here because there’s enough going on with our team that you don’t start to pick on individuals,” he said. “We have to play better as a team, that’s what has to happen.”

The Bruins, undermanned because of a string of injuries that have kept five regulars out of the lineup, have scored seven goals during their losing streak and 15 in the last eight games. They had won the first four games of the season series with Ottawa before losing twice in six days.

The Bruins, booed at the end of the game, outshot Ottawa 13-2 in the third period but never really tested Elliott.

Daniel Paille(notes) scored for Boston. Both teams lost a goal to video review.

Boston’s Tim Thomas(notes) made 13 saves in the first period, seven during a power play in which Ottawa’s Alex Kovalev(notes) hit the post.

It appeared the first period would end scoreless, but Ottawa’s Matt Carkner(notes) stopped Mark Recchi’s(notes) clear at center ice. Alfredsson picked up the puck, went around Zdeno Chara(notes), and squeezed a wrist shot between Thomas’ pads with 5.9 seconds left for his 14th goal.

The Bruins tied it when Patrice Bergeron(notes) took a heavy hit at center ice and got the puck to Paille, who skated down the left side and connected on a 35-foot slap shot high on Elliott’s glove side. It was his third goal in five games after going nine without one.

Ottawa took a 2-1 lead when Kovalev carried the puck into the Boston zone and hit Spezza with a long pass. Spezza ripped a long wrist over Thomas’ stick.

Recchi kicked in the Bruins’ disallowed goal. Mike Fisher(notes) deflected Alfredsson’s shot past Tim Thomas with a high stick. Both plays happened in the second period.

NOTES: Recchi played in his 1,540th NHL game, tying him with former Bruins great John Bucyk for 10th place on the career list. … Kovalev has a six-game point streak. … The Bruins were missing Marc Savard(notes), Marco Sturm(notes), Andrew Ference(notes), Steve Begin(notes) and Byron Bitz(notes). … Ottawa was without G Pascal Leclaire(notes) (concussion) and C Jesse Winchester(notes) (knee). … Boston recalled D Adam McQuaid(notes) from Providence (AHL). … The Bruins wore replicas of their Winter Classic jerseys.

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Assists: 0
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Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Tim Thomas Dal 23 21

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