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Serving his team and country

12.11.09 at 1:23 am ET
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Mark Stuart was a very proud man on Thursday night.

Just before face-off, the Bruins defenseman had the privilege of accepting a Bruins flag that flew in Iraq with the U.S. Army Rangers.

He took a slap shot from the top of the slot that beat Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala between the pads for his second goal of the season, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

The he got into a shoving match two minutes into the second period with Jamal Mayers. As they came out of their respective penalty boxes, the two decided to come out swinging this time, both earning five minute majors.

The only thing missing from Mark Stuart’s night to remember was an assist. That would have given him the so-called Gordie Howe hat trick – A goal, an assist and a fight. Still, Stuart was clearly the most important player on the ice on Thursday during Boston’s 5-2 win over the Leafs at TD Garden.

Afterward, he shared his thoughts on the special night.

Stuart said it was an emotional night, starting with the opening flag-presenting ceremony.

Stuart said he was happy to finally get mixed up with Mayers after their roughing minors.

Coach Claude Julien thought Stuart deserved the No. 1 star.

Captain Zdeno Chara said Stuart provided a valuable spark.

Mark Recchi said every Bruin can learn something from Stuart’s performance Thursday.

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