BOSTON (AP) – In the first game since he was acquired in a trade for Joe Thornton, Marco Sturm had a goal and an assist and Hannu Toivonen handed first-place Ottawa its first shutout of the season on Thursday night as the Boston Bruins beat the Senators 3-0.

Toivonen stopped 26 shots to earn his first career shutout and give Boston just its second victory in 11 games. The slump that forced the desperate team to trade its captain to the San Jose Sharks for Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart.

Primeau received polite applause – the building was mostly empty – when he was introduced before the game. 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. The victory took some of the sting out of losing the popular but potential-laden star who had been the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft. And it shocked the Senators, who had won six in a row and hadn’t lost to a Northeast Division rival in 12 games this season.

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.

Dominik Hasek made 21 saves for the Senators. Dany Heatley was held without a point for the first time all season. 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.

Notes: 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.

AP-ES-12-01-05 2128EST


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