Bruins Fall Flat in Return From West Coast, Lose to Senators

Bruins Fall Flat in Return From West Coast, Lose to Senators Professional athletes and coaches don't like excuses. Every game, they figure, can be won with determination and focus.

So after the Bruins got walloped at home by the Senators, there probably won't be too much chatter in the dressing room about how tired the team was and how they haven't had time to adjust back to the Eastern time zone. The fact is, though, they don't need to say anything for that to be clear.

The B's, who spent all of last week in California and returned home early Sunday morning, were outskated and outplayed in the first period. The Senators capitalized, building a 2-0 lead early and extending it to 4-0 by the end of the second.

Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup for the first time since breaking his thumb two weeks ago, while Marco Sturm, Steve Begin and Byron Bitz were all held out of the game with injuries.

Senators 5, Bruins 1
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Jan. 18, 2010

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Headliner: Daniel Alfredsson had himself a hockey game. The Ottawa captain scored the second, third and fourth Ottawa goals to get a natural hat trick and completely deflate the Boston crowd. The goals were the 11th, 12th and 13th of the campaign for Alfredsson, who turned in a multi-goal game for just the second time this season.

Grinder: Behind a great goal scorer, there's often a great assist man. That was Mike Fisher's role on Monday afternoon. Fisher assisted on the first three Ottawa goals of the game, including two to Alfredsson. The assists brought his season total to 22, as he registered his second three-assist game of the year.

Weak Link: It's hard to single out one member of a Bruins team that took too many penalties and never had a chance to win, but this one started with goaltending.

Tim Thomas got the start, coming off a pair of good games on the West Coast in which he went 1-0-1 and stopped 72 of 76 shots. Monday, he could hardly stop anything. Thomas surrendered two goals on the Senators' first three shots of the game, and he gave up another goal midway through the second. Claude Julien pulled his starter in favor of Tuukka Rask at that point, after Thomas had allowed three goals on nine shots.

Thomas has had his share of ups and downs in Boston, but this has to be one of the lowest of lows.

Key Moment: With just under nine minutes remaining in the game, Dennis Wideman grabbed a loose puck while skating into his defensive end. Wideman looked up the ice for a teammate but instead skated directly into referee Dan O'Rourke. Wideman lost the puck, and Jonathan Cheechoo grabbed it in front of Rask and scored on the surprise breakaway.

The moment wasn't a turning point by any means, but it was indicative of the Bruins' fate on this Monday matinee.

What's Next: Next time the Bruins take the ice, they won't have any excuses. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who sit in last place in the Central Division, travel to Boston on Thursday night. The Bruins should be rested by then, and they should see the return of at least one of their forwards.

In the meanwhile, it might be an ugly two days in Wilmington this week after what was one of the weakest efforts put forth by the Bruins in a while.

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