A day after shipping out their star, the last-place Bruins beat first-place Ottawa 3-0 on Thursday night, handing the Senators their first shutout of the season and their first loss of any kind in seven games. The victory was delivered in part from Marco Sturm, who scored on his first shift after being acquired for the former Bruins captain.
"We said it before the game: We wanted a fresh start," said Sturm, who came over from the equally desperate San Jose Sharks along with Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart. "After the goal, I kind of felt free. I haven't felt that way for a long time."
Sturm had a goal and an assist, and Hannu Toivonen stopped 26 shots to earn his first career shutout while giving Boston just its second victory in 11 games. The slump forced the Bruins to shake up the roster by shipping the 1997 top overall draft pick to the Sharks.
"I feel like I have let him down as a teammate and a friend," defenseman Nick Boynton said. "It hurts to know that a move like this is what it took to play like this."
The victory took some of the sting out of losing the popular but potential-laden star. The crowd stood and applauded for the last 90 seconds, turning out a deafening roar when Toivonen preserved the shutout on a shot from point-blank range in the final seconds.
"One of our problems in San Jose was getting goals and getting leads, period," Stuart said. "I don't remember playing that long with a two- or three-goal lead at all."
Dominik Hasek made 21 saves for the Senators, who had won six in a row and hadn't lost to a Northeast Division rival in 12 games this season. Dany Heatley was held without a point for the first time all season; acquired from Atlanta before the season, he would have tied Wayne Gretzky's record for the longest point streak with a new team.
Primeau received polite applause -- the building was mostly empty at the start -- when he was introduced as part of the lineup. But Sturm made an immediate impact, scoring 77 seconds into his Boston career and then assisting on Patrice Bergeron's goal with 11:13 left in the first period.
"When a trade as significant as the trade that we made occurs, it's an emotional time for everyone," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. "As a player, it's very difficult to see a good friend and teammate leave.
"These guys are human beings. I think, to their credit, they put their emotions aside and focused on the task at hand."
With their captain gone, the Bruins put an assistant's "A" on Nick Boynton's sweater. General manager Mike O'Connell said the team might go without a captain for the rest of the season.
And for one night at least, it seemed like Thornton won't be missed.
Brad Boyes fed Sturm from the faceoff circle and the new Bruin put it right through Hasek's legs. Seven minutes later, Stuart and Sturm set Bergeron up for a one-timer that made it 2-0.
Dan LaCouture made it 3-0 at the 6:13 mark of the third on a pass from Alexei Zhamnov.
- Jason Spezza had his seven-game scoring streak snapped.
- Ottawa had been 3-0 against Boston this season.
- The Bruins won for just the third time in 13 games against division foes.
- The Senators had outscored the opposition 28-12 in a six-game winning streak.
- Ottawa is 0-for-15 on the power play in two games in Boston this year.