Their locker room shaken by coach Claude Julien's challenge, the Boston Bruins wasted no time in demonstrating that his message was heard loud and clear.
Blake Wheeler had two goals and an assist and Tim Thomas extended his winning streak against Ottawa to 11 games and Boston scored four times in the first en route to a 4-1 win over the Senators on Tuesday night.
Wheeler earned points on the Bruins' first three goals and David Krejci and Mark Recchi both had a goal and an assist as Boston jumped out to a 4-0 lead 13:45 in to chase Brian Elliott, who allowed all four goals.
"We came out hard," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. "We took advantage of the chances and opportunities we had and the most important thing is that we scored goals. Obviously, when you capitalize on those chances it's a big advantage and we were feeding off that momentum."
Thomas stopped 28 shots as he improved to 16-5-2 overall against the Senators, including each of Boston's four wins in as many meetings this season.
"I thought we had good battle tonight," Julien said. "That's something we've been looking for from our team for a while so hopefully we can build on that and not go back to our old ways next game."
Filip Kuba scored in the second period for Ottawa, which had won four of five.
The Senators were well aware that Julien had challenged his players in the wake of a loss in New York the night before.
"We knew they were going to be coming," defenseman Matt Carkner said.
Julien called out his team following a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.
"There were times in the past that they had their dressing room under control," Julien said following Monday night's game. "Right now, you have to coach, you have to be a cheerleader, you've got to wake them up. You've got to do too many things that a coach shouldn't have to do at this level."
Julien's message got through.
"Character's more than just coming back and tying games when you're down by two," Wheeler said. "It's about coming to the rink and playing every game like it's the most meaningful game of the year and right now we're getting to that point where you've got to be firing on all cylinders to get where you want to be and I think that's the message, that we've got to bring it every night if we want to get where we want to go."
The Bruins appeared to be in a hurry to get there from the get-go Tuesday night as Wheeler got credit for opening the scoring 1:46 in when Andrew Ference's backhand from a sharp angle went in off his skate.
Krejci made it 2-0 at 6:05 when he put away the Bruins' sixth shot of their first power play of the game to take an 11-0 lead in shots.
Wheeler, who assisted on Krejci's power-play goal, got his second of the period — his third in two games and 10th of the season — when he deflected Krejci's wrist shot from the right point past Elliott.
Recchi, who also set up Krejci's goal, converted Boston's second power-play opportunity for his ninth goal at 13:45.
Pascal Leclaire replaced Elliott, who stopped 12 of 16 shots. Leclaire, who was replaced by Elliott during Sunday's 7-4 win over Philadelphia, made 19 saves the rest of the way.
Kuba scored his third goal 2:41 into the second. The puck went in off a Senators defenseman's skate after he failed to make contact with his stick and a video review upheld referee Don VanMassenhoven's ruling that goal was good because the puck was "not directed in with a distinct kicking motion."
Ference left the game after he was checked by Ottawa's Chris Phillips early in the second. He did not return.
The Bruins got relatively good news on the injury front earlier in the day when they learned that leading scorer Patrice Bergeron would only miss two weeks because of a broken thumb.
Bergeron, who did not accompany the team to Ottawa and was initially feared lost for longer, broke the tip of his right thumb in three places Monday night when he was struck by a slap shot by teammate Dennis Wideman.
"I think losing him for four to six weeks would have been pretty devastating for our team at this stage," Julien said.
Miroslav Satan made his Bruins debut playing on a line with Wheeler and Krejci. Satan, who signed as a free agent on Sunday, was on the ice for both of Wheeler's goals and finished plus-two.
"For a guy who hasn't played at all this year and he has only had two practices with our hockey club, he's obviously in pretty good shape and I thought he wasn't bad at all," Julien said.
Carkner and Chara got roughing minors after they exchanged punches with 40.4 seconds left in the first.
Carkner fought in the second with Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton, who drew a pat on the back from Chara after he went to the penalty box to serve his major.
This program aired on January 6, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.