When Carolina Head Coach, Kirk Muller, met with the media he could have very easily channelled his inner Denny Green when asked about his teams loss to the Boston Bruins 5-3. The Bruins came into Raleigh perfect in regulation (3-0-1) and had not given up a power play goal on the season. The Bruins were, who Carolina thought they were and they let them off the hook. After falling behind two goals early, the Hurricanes rallied in the second to knot the game at three. Untimely defensive woes continue to plague the team and with less than two minutes left Carolina was unable to clear the puck after a Cam Ward save. David Krejci was in the right spot to field a pass from Dougie Hamilton and score the game winner for Boston. The Bruins went on to beat the Hurricanes 5-3.
“They gave us a lesson on playing 60 minutes solid.” said Muller. ”They (Boston) really clog the neutral zone upon teams and force you to dump and that was where we were trying to penetrate. We were better in the second period, but weren’t able to sustain it in the third.”
The first period was all about special teams for Boston as they scored both shorthanded and on the power play. The shorthanded goal came on a cross-ice pass from Zdeno Chara to Brad Marchand that left Cam Ward without a chance to make the stop. Moments later, on the power play, Chara again found himself with the puck and sent one past Ward, stick side high, from 55 feet.
“It was a good night for special teams. Our penalty kill again was outstanding. They have a good power play with guys that can shoot, but our PK was very aggressive,” said Burins Coach Claude Julien. “It was nice to get that early PP goal with a great screen by Looch and good wrister by [Chara].
“There are going to be nights where it’s going to look better than others, and there will be nights where it’s going to be a struggle. But I like what we’ve done so far with the results. In four out of the five games I feel like we’ve moved the puck pretty well and hopefully we keep getting results.”
The two early goals by Boston all but took the 17,000 fans out of the game, until Tim Gleason dropped gloves with Milan Lucic. Gleason’s second fight in as many games seemed to give the Hurricanes the lift they needed to keep the game within reach. Jaimie McBain found himself alone in front of the net and sent the puck past Bruin goalie Anton Khubodin to pull within one.
After a back and forth start to the second period Nathan Horton took the puck at center ice and walked around the Carolina defense and beat Cam Ward to increase Boston’s lead back to two goals. The Hurricanes have proven they are a team that knows how to answer and with a few neutral zone steals they were able to tie the game at three. The first came when Jordan Staal picked off a Shawn Thornton pass and led Jeff Skinner who was able to lift one above the glove of Anton Khubodin. Less than a minute later, Alexander Semin stole a clearing attempt by Chris Kelly and found Eric Staal who netted the game tying goal.
The battle for two points came down to the final 20 minutes and it appeared that the Canes had a chance to gain at least one in the standing. With just over two minutes left to play, Carolina goalie Cam Ward came up big on another shot by the Bruins Nathan Horton, but was unable to cover the puck. Jay Harrison tried swatting the puck out of the zone, but inadvertently sent it to Dougie Hamilton on the right wing circle. Instead of taking the shot, Hamilton passed the puck cross-ice to David Krajci who slipped it in past the Hurricane defense. With less than a minute to go and Eric Staal in the box after a frustration slashing call, Tyler Seguin stole the puck from Alexander Semin and closed the game with the Bruins second power play goal of the game on a defenseless net.
The 5-3 loss puts Carolina at 2-3-0 on the season and improves Boston to 4-0-1. The Hurricanes are in action again when the Ottawa Senators visit the PNC Arena in Raleigh on Friday night.