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SENATORS 5, BRUINS 2

Swift action from Senators

Bruins in slow motion right from the first shift

If you want to look on the bright side, the Bruins only have to play the Senators six more times this season, the next being Nov. 26 up north.

Maybe by then, the Bruins will have found a way to solve their defensive liabilities, which were evident last night in a 5-2 loss at the TD Banknorth Garden. It was Boston's second consecutive loss overall and the second of the season to its Northeast Division rival.

The Bruins were woeful in their own zone, where they spent too much of the night, and took too many bad penalties.

''We're beating ourselves," said defenseman Nick Boynton. ''We're just as good as they are, we just haven't been playing that way. When we do make a mistake, they put it in the net, and we're not doing it the other way. There were a few minutes in the second period where we kind of blew the game, I thought. Right now, we're our worst enemies. I think everybody is working hard, we're just not working very smart right now."

The Bruins' evening didn't start very well and only got worse. On the Senators' first shift, they scored less than a half-minute into the game. Captain Daniel Alfredsson dished a backhand pass from the left circle to right wing Dany Heatley, who beat Andrew Raycroft with a backhander from the slot at the 27-second mark. It was the first time Raycroft had played since Oct. 26, when he strained his hamstring against the Hurricanes. Heatley has a point in all 14 Senators games, setting a franchise mark.

The Senators could've had another one at 4:30 when center Jason Spezza tried to feed Heatley in front, but the puck bounced over his stick and Heatley missed the open net.

Bruins forward Brad Boyes made a terrific move to pull his team even at 9:25 on the power play. Defenseman Jiri Slegr moved the puck to Boyes, who gained the blue line, dodged Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden at the top of the right circle, and roofed a shot over Dominik Hasek from the slot. It was Boyes's fifth goal of the season.

The Bruins outshot the Senators by a whopping 17-5 margin in the period, but had only one goal to show for it.

That came back to bite them in the nightmarish second period as Ottawa scored three times -- once shorthanded -- as Boston's defensive play deteriorated. The Senators took advantage, taking a 2-1 lead at 4:51. Rookie blue liner Milan Jurcina, who had a tough outing, got boxed in the Bruins' zone and passed to partner Hal Gill. Gill attempted to clear the puck but was drilled by right wing Chris Neil. The puck squirted into the high slot and former Bruin Bryan Smolinski picked it up and beat Raycroft with a wrist shot.

Despite having their best defenseman -- Zdeno Chara -- in the penalty box, the Senators generated a shorthanded tally at 6:58. Redden fed a long lead pass to left wing Martin Havlat. He charged down the slot and his backhand bid rattled off the right post. However, the rebound bounced to Peter Schaefer, who was the trailer on the play, and he swept the puck into the net for a 3-1 lead.

Havlat made it a three-goal advantage at 9:46, finishing a two-on-one for his eighth goal of the season.

''I haven't seen that many bad bounces go against our team in a long time," said Boynton. ''It just seems like it's in the net, one bad play. Like myself, when you get a chance to get the puck out, you have to get it out. You can't make stupid little passes. Don't give them a chance to hurt you."

Bruins coach Mike Sullivan, not happy with the turn of events, called a timeout after the fourth goal to give his players a talking to on the bench.

''We were right there," said Bruins captain Joe Thornton. ''We just had a little brain freeze. We were playing well, a couple of turnovers killed us."

Although the Bruins played with more purpose after the timeout, they had a difficult time staying out of the penalty box, giving Ottawa five power-play chances in the middle period alone.

The Bruins got one back during a shorthanded chance at 15:53. Thornton, with the puck on the right side, relayed a pass to right wing Glen Murray in the slot, and he beat Hasek to make it 4-2.

Unfortunately for Boston, though, the first shift of the third was just like the first shift of the game, leading to Ottawa's fifth goal.

It was the Spezza-Heatley connection once again that made the Bruins pay. Spezza found Heatley in the slot and he beat Raycroft for his second of the night and 13th of the season.

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