The defense put in a solid performance tonight, as they held Boston to 26 shots. Tim Gleason spoke on the team defense: “From the goalie on out, it was a great effort. I think we took care of our zone first, which was important,” he said. “It takes five or six guys at a time. We came prepared. We knew we needed the points, and we got them.”
The fourth line didn’t see much ice time, but it contributed in a big way. The offensive upside that line possesses came to the forefront tonight when Anthony Stewart potted his first goal as a Hurricane. “Any way I can contribute, I’m more than happy to,” he said. “It was a big game on national TV and we’re happy to get a win and bring up the confidence a little. We look for it to carry over to Buffalo.”
Jiri Tlusty scored the eventual game-winning goal, a wrist shot from the slot. Coming off shoulder surgery, it’s good to see that he hasn’t lost that scoring touch. It also rounds out the lines a bit in that we’ve seen offensive production from all four forward groups in just a couple of games. Maurice spoke on the importance of seeing scoring from all forwards: “It’s really important because teams are going to key on those two offensive lines that we have,” he said. “I like the way the lines looked tonight.”
One of the main keys for the Canes tonight was to stay out of the box. “That went well,” Maurice quipped. But the penalty kill responded in a big way, killing all five of the Bruins’ power play chances. Still, staying out of the box is crucial, and the two too-many-men minors will need to be cleaned up.
Sitting out three games didn’t seem to have much effect on Jamie McBain’s game tonight. About 10 minutes into the first period, he turned the puck over near the blue line, but got back and broke the play up nicely. He also had a noticeable impact on the second power play unit, which had its best chances in the third period on the Rich Peverley penalty.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Canes struggled with putting together a full 60-minute effort. Tonight was pretty much what they needed – excusing a few minor hiccups, it was an overall solid game at all ends of the ice. “We’ve got a great group of guys in here that we’ve got to believe in what we’re doing, and tonight we just executed perfectly,” said Cam Ward, who made 24 saves in tonight’s victory.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Carolina Hurricanes couldn't afford yet another season-opening loss. Some timely scoring from two role players helped deliver a much-needed victory.
Anthony Stewart and Jiri Tlusty scored in the third period to help Carolina beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Wednesday night for their first victory.
Joni Pitkanen scored on the power play and Cam Ward made 26 saves for the Hurricanes, who never trailed and avoided matching their worst start since the lockout.
"We're talking about the fourth game of the year, but we did treat it like a must-win game," Ward said. "It's important that we get a win and feel good about ourselves and know what it's like to win hockey games. We can build from a game like tonight. There's a lot of great positives that you can take away from it."
Especially for Tlusty and Stewart, left wings on the Hurricanes' third and fourth lines.
"Teams are going to key on those two (top) offensive lines that we have," coach Paul Maurice said. "The big goal for me is Stewart's goal ... confidence-wise for that line and for me wanting to put them on the ice in a tight game. They've had some offense there, and if we can get comfortable with four lines that can play, we're going to be able to play in these kinds of games."
Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand scored and Tim Thomas stopped 31 shots for the Bruins, who have lost two straight and three of four. Each loss has been decided by one goal.
"We're not that far off," Thomas said. "The difference between us having the results we want and the way it happened tonight, for example, isn't that far off."
The reigning Stanley Cup champions' power-play unit remained punchless. Boston came up empty on five chances with the man advantage to drop to 1 for 18 for the season.
"We can create some more chances and more scoring opportunities," captain Zdeno Chara said. "We just have to do the little things right, but most of all, we have to outwork the four guys on the other side."
The Bruins - who were held scoreless through two periods and were in danger of being shut out in consecutive games for the first time since 2009 - twice cut Carolina's lead to one in the third.
First, Seguin - who replaced the injured David Krejci at center on Boston's No. 1 line - took a nice touch pass from Nathan Horton and whipped a shot past Ward with 15:53 left. Tlusty followed with a goal that put Carolina up 3-1 with 6:28 left. Marchand took a feed from Patrice Bergeron in the circle and one-timed it past Ward with 3:25 remaining. Ward was strong after that, turning aside a blast by Milan Lucic in the final minute to preserve the victory and help the Hurricanes avoid equaling their 0-3-1 start in 2006.
"Our confidence was, you could say, a little bit down," Stewart said. "But we kept with it."
Pitkanen put the Hurricanes up 42 seconds into the second and with 18 seconds left on a hooking minor to Chris Kelly. Pitkanen yo-yoed the puck in the left circle for several seconds - long enough that some fans were screaming for him to shoot it - before he whipped a shot that got past Thomas. His first goal of the season was just Carolina's third on the power play this season.
Stewart made it 2-0 with 16:18 left, when his shot went through traffic and past an obstructed Thomas, who said both shots were deflected.
"The first (goal) was going wide, and then it hits off a skate - that happens when you throw it back door from there," Thomas said. "If anything, we should start doing the same thing more often. It's going to go off the other team's skates. I'm not sure what it hit on the second one. It was just a confusing little shot."
NOTES: Carolina D Tomas Kaberle assisted on Pitkanen's goal for his first point with the Hurricanes. He helped the Bruins win the Cup before signing with the Hurricanes over the summer. ... Tempers flared late in the first when Carolina C Jeff Skinner was taken down near the net by Boston D Adam McQuaid. ... Tyler Hansbrough, the Indiana Pacers forward and former North Carolina star, and college teammate Bobby Frasor watched the game from a suite - and, when they were shown on the scoreboard, were booed.