Last night at the Boston Garden, the Carolina Hurricanes were trying to make 80’s rock band the Scorpions proud as they tried to rock the Bruins and finish the season to a tune of a perfect 4-0 record against the spoked-B’s. Carolina, who coming into last night’s game were seven games under .500 this year, have been Boston’s toughest opponent. The Bruins, who have had no problem lighting the lamp in their 49 games so far (170 total tallies), have not been able to solve the riddle that is Carolina’s goaltender, Cam Ward. In the three previous match-ups, the Bruins have only been able to find the back of Ward’s net a total of five times. Carolina on the other hand, has been able to beat the Bruins’ All-star caliber goaltending duo of Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask a total of eleven times.
The opening minutes of the game saw the Bruins apply pressure in the Carolina zone. Carolina was pretty much a no show for quarter of the period, not registering their first shot on net until almost five minutes into the contest. However, at the six minute mark Carolina decided to wake up and peppered Rask with five quick shots, one that rang off the crossbar. That would be all the action Rask would see until roughly 8:30 remaining in the first when Carolina’s captain, Eric Staal, slapped home a quick one time pass from Jiri Tlusty to give Carolina the first goal of the game.
At the 15:33 minute mark Bruins’ forward David Krejci was whistled for boarding and put Carolina on the power play. The Bruins were able to kill off the penalty, but momentum was definitely shifting in the Hurricane’s favor. Despite out shooting the Hurricanes 22 to 8, the Bruins headed into the first intermission trailing 1 to 0.
With the start of the second period the Bruins should have been looking to come out and storm the net, hoping to pick up a quick equalizer. The Bruins had outscored their opponents 51 to 34 in the second period this season. However, this was not the case; in fact the Bruins didn’t get their first shot on net in the second period until almost six minutes in. The Bruins were starting to pick up some momentum at the halfway point of the game when a high rising slap shot from Bruins’ defenseman Johnny Boychuk hit Carolina blue liner Jaroslav Spacek in the head, causing a whistle and stoppage of play. Once play resumed, the Bruins couldn’t quite regain their intensity.
After a highlight reel glove save by Rask that should’ve motivated his team and got the Bruins going, instead resulted in the Bruins surrendering another goal, this time to Tuomo Ruutu. Carolina went into the locker room with a commanding 2 to 0 lead.
The Bruins started the third period shorthanded thanks to a Dennis Seidenberg hooking penalty that had been called with 35 seconds left in the second period. Carolina failed to convert on the opportunity, giving the Bruins and their fans something to cheer about and keep their hopes up. That tiny glimmer of hope was all but smashed when Brandon Sutter wristed one past Rask just 3 minutes into the third period.
The Bruins got their first power play of the night with 12 minutes remaining in the game, after Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk was called for kneeing. The Bruins got some solid pressure on Ward, but he remained an enigma that the Bruins couldn’t solve. The Bruins’ power play was cut short when Milan Lucic was called for roughing.
Ward ended up stopping all 47 of Boston’s shots to post his third shutout of the season and the 19th of his NHL career as Carolina beat the Bruins by a score of 3 to 0.
“I felt really comfortable. I felt like I was seeing the puck well and for the most part I was happy with my rebound control,” Ward said about his performance tonight.
When asked if it meant something to sweep the Bruins this season, Ward responded, “Yeah it’s a credit to the guys. When we play like that we’re able to beat really good teams.” He later added, “We need to play every team like it’s the Boston Bruins. They seem to bring out the best in us.”
Staal added that he’d “rather be first in the conference and lose to the last place team four times, but that’s the way it goes.”
The Bruins still remain second in the Eastern Conference with 66 points, only 3 points behind the first place New York Rangers. The Bruins will look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at 1 o’clock at the Boston Garden.