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Gritty Ottawa stays on top

For all the Ottawa Senators have gone through this season, a one-goal deficit against the Boston Bruins wasn't going to keep them down.

The Senators have dealt with the uncertainty of their franchise filing for bankruptcy protection this season, and they even persevered and played exceptional hockey after the organization was late with their paychecks.

And with less than a month left in the regular season, the Senators have the most points in the NHL.

They held their lead Tuesday night by rallying to beat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime, just hours after 24 trades were made on the final dealing day of the season — the busiest trading day in at least 23 years.

Radek Bonk scored the game-winner 28 seconds into overtime as Ottawa raised its point total to 96 — one more than Western Conference-leading Dallas, which beat Columbus 2-0 on Tuesday.

Zdeno Chara scored with 7:47 left in the third period to tie it for Ottawa before Bonk scored on a backhander through Jeff Hackett's legs as the Senators recovered from blowing a two-goal lead.

"Getting down 3-2 in the third, we tried to get the bench going and push ourselves a little bit more," Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We were able to get the tying goal and then in overtime you never know. They had a great chance early in overtime, they missed the net and we went down and scored. It was a great move by Bonky."

The Senators have won four straight.

"It means a lot because Boston is a very desperate team and they're fighting for the playoffs," Chara said. "They played a very good game."

Karel Rachunek and Curtis Leschyshyn scored first-period goals as defensemen accounted for all of Ottawa's goals in regulation.

Joe Thornton scored twice and P.J. Axelsson added a goal as the Bruins scored three straight after falling behind 2-0 in the first period.

The Bruins are seventh in the East with 74 points. Boston is 3-1-0-1 in its last five after winning just one of 12 (1-7-3-1).

"It's a big point for us — they're a great team," said Bruins forward Glen Murray, who had two assists. "They play hard and we matched their hard work, I think."

THRASHERS 3, DEVILS 2: At East Rutherford, N.J., Dan Snyder scored a pair of unassisted goals to lead Atlanta over New Jersey.

Lubos Bartecko also scored for the Thrashers, who snapped a three-game winless streak.

John Madden and Brian Gionta scored for New Jersey.

STARS 2, BLUE JACKETS 0: At Columbus, Ohio, Ron Tugnutt stopped 25 shots to earn his second straight shutout.

It was the fourth shutout of the season for Tugnutt, who had 23 saves in a victory over San Jose on Sunday. He ran his scoreless streak to 122 minutes, 57 seconds with his 25th career shutout.

BLUES 4, SHARKS 2: At San Jose, Calif., Keith Tkachuk, Dallas Drake, Cory Stillman and Eric Boguniecki all scored for St. Louis.

Brent Johnson stopped 19 shots to end his three-game losing streak as the Blues improved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 visits to San Jose. He and newly acquired Chris Osgood will compete for the No. 1 goalie spot the rest of the season.

Marco Sturm and Miroslav Zalesak scored for the Sharks, who lost their fifth in six games. Zalesak, recalled from the AHL earlier in the day, recorded his first NHL goal.

OILERS 5, FLAMES 2: At Calgary, Alberta, Georges Laraque scored the go-ahead goal midway through the final period for Edmonton. It was Laraque's first goal in 18 games.

Shawn Horcoff scored eight minutes later, and Mike Comrie added an empty-net goal.

Ryan Smyth and Todd Marchant also scored for Edmonton.

CANUCKS 4, ISLANDERS 3: At Vancouver, British Columbia, New York had a late third-period goal taken away by a referee's whistle and didn't have another answer for Sami Salo's goal that lifted Vancouver.

The Islanders, four points ahead of the New York Rangers at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff race, appeared to tie it on Shawn Bates' breakaway goal.