OTTAWA — Another Bruins goalie found a way to frustrate the Ottawa Senators.
Anton Khudobin stopped 44 shots Thursday night and Boston defeated Ottawa 3-1.
The Bruins chose to leave star goalie Tim Thomas in Boston, along with captain Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, but Khudobin was just as good as Thomas in his debut with the team.
"I thought he played phenomenal," Tyler Seguin said. "Early in the game he was great and made some big saves and he played a solid 60 minutes."
The 25-year-old admitted to having some butterflies early in the game, but was pleased by his overall performance.
"I got a couple shots in the first couple minutes and I felt good," Khudobin said. "The guys helped me a lot from the start and (Marty) Turco talked to me and said 'let's go have some fun."'
Benoit Pouliot, Greg Zanon and Milan Lucic scored for the Bruins.
A win would have allowed the Senators to clinch seventh in the Eastern Conference and while some may see this game as a missed opportunity, captain Daniel Alfredsson said there has been some emotional letdown since clinching a playoff berth.
"We really tried to stay upbeat and keep our game going after the four wins and clinching the playoff spot, but just emotionally it's been tough to regroup and get the game to where we want," Alfredsson said.
"(Thursday) it was the same thing. Both teams played pretty good, but it's not close to being a playoff-type game or the intensity that we're going to see next week. It's more mental than anything."
With the Bruins leading 2-1, Ottawa's Erik Karlsson missed a wide-open net with just over six minutes remaining in the third. The Senators had a number of great chances to tie the game, but were never able to capitalize.
Shortly after, Lucic scored his 26th of the season to make it 3-1.
With this being a matchup of potential first-round opponents more was expected from this game despite the absence of some key players, but Lucic summed it up perfectly.
"To be honest, it almost seemed like no one really wanted to get hurt," Lucic said. "We've had our battles against these guys and we don't back down from them and they don't back down from us."
The Bruins made it 2-0 early in the second as Zanon's slap shot from the point caught a piece of Bishop's glove and trickled across the goal line.
"I don't know how it went in," Bishop said. "I must have just lost it for a second and it went off the tip of my glove. It's one of those one in a thousand."
After a number of great chances the Senators, who had outshot the Bruins 17-7 in the first, finally found a way to beat Khudobin at the 13:56 of the second.
Spezza, with his 34th of the season, fired a shot that hit the post and went in off Khudobin's back to cut the lead in half.
The Bruins opened the scoring midway through the first period as Pouliot's tap-in completed a two-on-one with Brian Rolston.
The Bruins won the season series 5-1.
NOTES: With his 34th tally, Spezza matched a career high for goals in a season, which he recorded twice previously (2006-07 and 2007-08) ... Karlsson drew an assist on the goal, pushing his season total to 78 points (19-59), tops among all NHL defencemen by a wide margin ... The Senators close out their regular schedule on Saturday in Newark, N.J., against the Devils (3 p.m., CBC). All 30 league teams are in action to close out the 2011-12 campaign ... Ottawa will secure seventh place in the East by picking up at least a point against the Devils. However, the Senators would fall to eighth — and a first-round playoff matchup with the New York Rangers — with a regulation-time loss, combined with a win by the Washington Capitals over the Blueshirts and a win or overtime loss by the Florida Panthers against the Carolina Hurricanes.
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