The Boston Bruins went out to Raleigh and took on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. Once again, the Bruins played two solid periods. While the Bruins are still on the search for that elusive sixty minute game, they started and finished strong and were able to walk away with a 4-1 win at the PNC Arena. Boston Bruins forwards Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg (who earned tonight’s first star honors)each had a goal and an assist in the first period to give the Bruins an aggressive start against a recently recovered Cam Ward. Ward, who had been out for ten games with a leg injury allowed those two goals on the first four shots fired at him.
There was a bad break for the Bruins in that period as well. Hurricanes’ Tuomo Ruutu found was awarded a goal with five seconds left in the period. (It was his first goal of the season.) Eric Staal‘s pass hit Patrice Bergeron‘s skates, then bounced off Ruutu’s stick and past Tuukka Rask. It was bad luck, but Rask made sure it didn’t happen again.(He was awarded second star honors in tonight’s match.) He made twenty three saves in his eleventh win of the season. His GAA is currently 1.64 and his save percentage stands at a solid .940.
The Bruins’ special teams came through again. Boston killed four Carolina power plays, including a sixty three second five on three situation. The Bruins special teams have not allowed a goal in thirty two consecutive penalty kills. This is a vast improvement over the team that gave up five consecutive power play goals last month.
Brad Marchand ended up in the doghouse tonight. He had two turnovers and played like he had just gotten back on his skates. Claude Julien bumped Marchand down to the fourth line to skate with Campbell and Paille and chose to bump Jordan Caron up to the second line. Best guess is that the ‘Little Ball of Hate’ will be the ‘Little Ball in the Press Box’.
Johnny Boychuk has been on a sixty two game goal-scoring draught. That thankfully ended tonight at the end of one of his patented ‘Johnny Rockets’. He came in from the right side of the goal and was able to fire a laser from just behind the hash marks to give the Bruins a two goal lead again. The Bruins team tightened up, and Milan Lucic got himself an empty netter in the last moments to finish off the Hurricanes.
This win brings the Bruins to 13-6-1 as they reach the quarter mark of the season. They remain one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins head to New York to take on the Rangers tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden.