|BOS||0||1||1||(0 - 0)||2|
|CAR||0||1||3||(0 - 0)||4|
Tracking the Storm: Analysis
The Carolina Hurricanes continue to be undefeated this season (3-0) against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions with a 4-2 win. Third period goals from blue liners Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison lifted the Canes past Boston. Eric Staal added an empty net goal late in the game. It was another complete team effort, and the Canes now take a two-game winning streak to Washington. “Tampa was one of our better games all year, and we felt pretty good tonight,” Faulk said. Harrison’s goal, the game-winner, gives the defenseman four in four games. He now has 18 points (7g, 11a) this season and continues to play a solid brand of hockey. “It’s a good little string, and it’s nice to contribute offensively,” he said. “It doesn’t change my game or what I expect my role to be with the team. My game revolves around playing strong, solid defense. Anything from there that I can contribute offensively is bonus, and I’m glad to do it.”
The media joked with Staal after the game about Harrison catching up to him in scoring. “He’s hot,” Staal said. “I was lucky to get that empty net to keep ahead of him a little bit.” Joking aside, Staal called Harrison a “solid performer.”
After seeing their work ethic decline a week ago in Nashville, the Canes have put together three straight games (two wins) of consistent, Kirk Muller-style hockey. It’s evident on the ice and in the locker room that this team is starting to gain confidence in the game they are playing, and that is turning into wins. “[Tonight] shows how tight the league is, and it shows that we can compete with anybody,” Harrison said. “That should suggest to this whole locker room that we aren’t far from stringing something together and being competitive.”
The Hurricanes spent practice on Wednesday preparing for the Lightning and Friday preparing for Boston; while their overall type of play didn’t change much, they made some tweaks to their attack in both games. Muller explained this as adapting to the style of their opponents and finding ways to beat that. “We actually changed our style,” he said. “Tampa is a little different style. We had more movement. Tonight, we were willing to dump more pucks in just to make their defense turn and make them skate all night. It worked well. We said it might take 60 minuets to win, but we have to wear them down by skating.”
Cam Ward had another strong performance in net. He stopped 33 of 35 shots. When asked about who Muller who put between the pipes in tomorrow’s 5:00 start in Washington, he wouldn’t tip his hand. He said he is confident in either goalie, but Ward has put together impressive efforts as of late, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Muller went back to the hot hand. A couple of classless moves by the Bruins late. Milan Lucic gave Bryan Allen a slash in the midsection (both got penalized), and Zdeno Chara rubbed out Patrick Dwyer well after the whistle after the two raced for an icing call. It’s disheartening to see a team be, for lack of a better term, such sore losers, but it happened again tonight as it did on a much larger scale in mid-October in Boston. Cooler heads did prevail, but why was it even necessary to go down that road in the first place? A couple of factoids that I don’t really have another place for, so here comes a little info-dump. Tonight marked the first game in franchise history that the Hurricanes did not have a power play. Not one of the six goals scored tonight had more than one assist. Four had primary assists, and the last two goals scored were unassisted.
Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - As well as the Carolina Hurricanes play against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, you would never know they are stuck near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
Jay Harrison scored the winning goal with 1:30 remaining, and the Hurricanes topped the Bruins 4-2 on Saturday night for their third win over Boston this season.
"That should suggest to this whole locker room that we're not far off," Harrison said.
"I think we felt pretty good tonight, and feeling pretty good going into the game," Faulk said. "I think we're just looking to replicate that for a few more games."
Harrison wristed a shot from the point that went through a maze of Boston and Carolina players and appeared to deflect off Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk before it sailed past goalie Tim Thomas.
"It was basically tips, skates and knuckle pucks," said Thomas, summarizing Carolina's goals. "They did the right thing. You throw it at the net with traffic and see what happens. Sometimes you win games like that."
Staal added an empty-net goal with 1:02 left. Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron had the Bruins' goals, and David Krejci extended his point streak to 12 games. Thomas made 17 saves.
"We were sloppy, we didn't clean up in front of our net," defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "They had people and pucks in front of there, and Timmy couldn't see it. We just have to do a better job of cleaning guys and pucks out of there."
With the game tied 1-1 early in the third period, the puck made its way to Lucic near the right circle after a blocked shot. Lucic fired a snap shot past Ward's blocker into the top left corner of the net.
Faulk tied it for Carolina with 6:02 remaining on a slap shot from the point that floated high and evaded Thomas' left shoulder. Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty almost tipped the puck in front, but a video review determined he didn't touch the puck.
The Bruins dropped three points behind the NHL-leading New York Rangers at the top of the Eastern Conference. Carolina remained one point ahead of Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders at the bottom of the East.
Despite a number of quality scoring opportunities for both teams - Thomas robbed Alexei Ponikarovsky with a left pad save late in the first period - the game was still scoreless early in the second period.
Boston struck first when Bergeron cleaned up Boychuk's rebound in front. Bergeron has five goals and four assists in his last six games.
The Hurricanes responded when Brandon Sutter stole the puck near the Bruins blue line and slapped a shot at Thomas. Dwyer redirected the puck in front of the net for his first goal since Dec. 7.
"You have to bring your `A' game in order to beat them," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "I thought our guys played hard and it was a good win for us."
NOTES: Carolina's Jussi Jokinen played in his 500th NHL game. Ponikarovsky was in his 600th. ... Jeff Skinner (concussion) sat out but is close to returning for the Hurricanes. ... The Bruins were 16-2 when scoring first.
|Patrice Bergeron (12) Wrist shot - ASST: Johnny Boychuk (6)|
1 - 0 BOS
|Patrick Dwyer (5) Deflected shot - ASST: Brandon Sutter (9)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Milan Lucic (16) Wrist shot - ASST: David Krejci (23)|
2 - 1 BOS
|Justin Faulk (4) Slapshot - ASST: Tim Brent (8)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Jay Harrison (7) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE|
3 - 2 CAR
|EN - Eric Staal (11) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE|
4 - 2 CAR
|Eric Staal Elbowing against Benoit Pouliot|
|Jerome Samson Tripping against Chris Kelly|
|Bryan Allen Slashing against Milan Lucic|
|Milan Lucic Slashing against Bryan Allen|
|SA: 20||TOI: 58:51|
|Saves: 17||EV: 17 - 20|
|PIM: 0||PP: 0 - 0|
|SV%: .850||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 35||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 33||EV: 31 - 33|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: .943||SH: 0 - 0|