OTTAWA -- Boston coach Claude Julien stressed the importance of playing 60 minutes. Ottawa's Craig Hartsburg talked about playing hard with the puck.
Only one message got through Saturday night in the Bruins' 4-2 victory.
"I thought the team played really well overall and really limited the scoring chances," Julien said. "Overall, I thought it was a good solid effort from out hockey club, probably the best one so far this year."
Phil Kessel had two second-period goals and added an assist for Boston. Marco Sturm and Milan Lucic also scored for the Bruins, Marc Savard had three assists, and Manny Fernandez made 21 saves. Fernandez faced only 12 shots in the first 40 minutes.
"The team now realizes that they have to play a strong game when I'm back there," Fernandez said. "They want to play good defensively and they want to help me out as much as they can, so I can't say it's good or bad to only get 12 shots. I have to be focused for those 12 shots, but I wouldn't rather have 36 shots, though."
"You've got to be able to play with the puck to create offense and to compete for loose pucks," Hartsburg said. "We had some flurries in the third finally when we started to work and compete and be strong on pucks. The first two periods we generated hardly anything at all."
The Bruins took a 2-1 lead 4:47 into the second period on Kessel's one-timer off Savard's pass from the corner.
Kessel struck again on a power play with 6:38 left in the period. After the Senators failed to clear a loose puck in front of Gerber, Kessel converted from a pile of players in front of the goal.
"There were a few situations in the first two periods where we were running around in our zone and we gave them a bit too much room and that's a team that takes advantage," Gerber said. "They were pressuring us, especially in the second period and they found the open man."
Alfredsson, playing his second game since returning from knee surgery, cut it to 3-2 on a power play with 4:20 left in the period. Alfredsson took a wrist shot that went over Fernandez's glove and into the top corner.
Lucic completed the scoring with 5:16 left in the third.
Kessel hasn't missed a game since Jan. 9, 2007, when he returned from testicular cancer surgery, a streak of 129 games ... Senators forward Chris Kelly reached 100 career points with a first-period assist.