Bruins edge Senators for 50th win

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BOSTON (AP) -- This win gave the Boston Bruins 50. The next one

will give them something they value even more: home ice through

the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"You can play for one team your whole career and never get 50

wins - and still have some real good seasons," goalie Tim Thomas

said Thursday night after stopping 31 shots to beat the Ottawa

Senators, 2-1. "It's a credit to the team, the way it's built

and the way the guys play together.

"But if you're running the Boston Marathon and you're leading

after 20 miles, you don't stop to say, 'Man, I'm leading.'"

Milan Lucic and Marc Savard scored for Boston, which would

clinch the best record in the East with its next victory or the

Washington Capitals' next loss. The Bruins are three points

behind West-leading San Jose for the overall lead.

"I don't think anyone thought we would've been in this position

this quickly," Boston coach Claude Julien said, "but we'll take

it."

The Bruins hit 50 wins for the eighth time in franchise history

and the first since the 1992-93 season; they reached 110 points

for the first time since '82-83. And it's just two years since

they missed the playoffs entirely.

"The position we were in two years ago - we've come a long way,"

said forward P.J. Axelsson, whose steal set up the game-winning

goal. "But it's still a long way to go."

But Savard was ready to celebrate - a little.

"We had a tough stretch and now we're heading in the right

direction again," he said. "I think it'll be more enjoyable

tomorrow when we go to the rink for practice; smiles will be on

the boys. It's a great accomplishment for us. ... Fifty wins, I

wouldn't have predicted it right away and I don't think any of

you did either. I think it's a special feat."

Daniel Alfredsson scored for Ottawa, and Alex Auld made 31

saves.

The Bruins killed off a 6-on-4 in the final 1:55 when Mark

Recchi was called for high-sticking and the Senators pulled the

goalie for an extra man. Ottawa had a flurry of shots down the

stretch before an interference penalty against them evened

things up with 2.7 seconds left.

"We were one shot away and it's disappointing, but the guys'

effort was definitely there," Senators coach Cory Clouston said.

"They make you pay. They're a very good team. A couple of

little turnovers like that and they make you pay."

Alfredsson gave the Senators the lead when he took a pass from

Jason Spezza and put it over Thomas' right shoulder just 5:23

into the game. Lucic tied it with his slap shot 2:27 into the

second.

Boston broke the tie in the third, when Axelsson stole Brendan

Bell's clearing attempt and backhanded it over to the slot for

Savard, who put a wrist shot past Auld with 16:58 to play.

Savard has two goals and four assists in his last five games.

Notes: David Krejci, a 22-year-old forward who has 22 goals and

50 assists, was named the winner of the Bruins' Seventh Player

award for going above and beyond the call of duty and exceed the

expectations of Bruins fans. He got a pickup truck. ... The

Bruins signed F Yannick Riendeau to an entry-level contract. ...

Bruins F Patrice Bergeron played his 300th game. ... Boston was

held without a power-play goal for the first time in five games.

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