Bruins get blown aside by Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. - Last night, the Hurricanes proved that even the game’s best goalie can’t stop pucks he can’t see.
In the third period, Justin Faulk rapped a knuckler from the right point that fluttered through traffic - Jiri Tlusty might have gotten a piece of the puck - that sailed past Tim Thomas at 13:58 for the game-tying goal.
With 1:30 remaining in regulation, another Tlusty screen allowed Jay Harrison to sneak a shot from the left point past Thomas to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead. Eric Staal added an empty-net goal to saddle the Bruins with a 4-2 loss last night at the RBC Center to kick off their four-game road swing.
“We didn’t clean up in front of our net,’’ said Dennis Seidenberg. “They had people and pucks in front there. Timmy couldn’t see. We just have to do a better job clearing guys and pucks out of there.’’
The Bruins seemingly had the game in hand. At 1:21 of the third period, Milan Lucic broke a 1-1 tie. After waiting for Bryan Allen to hit the deck, Lucic lifted a snap shot over the defenseman that went high over Cam Ward’s blocker for a 2-1 lead. David Krejci assisted on Lucic’s goal to stretch his scoring streak to 11 games (5-11-16).
The Bruins like to believe they own the third period. That wasn’t the case last night.
The Hurricanes turned the tables by playing a Bruin-like third. They won races to the puck. They crashed the net and ran over the Bruins in the danger areas. Because of their net-front persistence, the Hurricanes turned two point floaters into goals.
“We’ve talked a lot about finding ways to win when things are going well,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “Tonight, we found a way to lose. We had control of the game. Not that it was our best game, but I still felt we had control. We had the lead. We got knocked off the puck way too much tonight. When they got it back, they made sure they knew what to do with it. I give them a lot of credit. I thought they played really hard. I thought they played with a lot of energy. They certainly had more than we did tonight.’’
Thomas (17 saves) didn’t get much help from his teammates. After Patrice Bergeron broke through for the game’s first goal in the second period, the Hurricanes played some heavy hockey to tie the score. Gregory Campbell is usually strong on the puck. But on a breakout, he was stripped by Brandon Sutter, who curled the other way. Sutter’s shot hit Johnny Boychuk, deflected off Patrick Dwyer, and rolled past Thomas at 10:30.
Before Carolina’s tying goal in the third, Tlusty outraced Seidenberg to a 50-50 puck deep in the Boston zone. Joe Corvo settled the puck behind Thomas. But Tim Brent’s ferocious forecheck prompted Corvo to cough up the puck. Brent shuttled the puck around the boards to Faulk, whose shot forced Seidenberg to duck out of the way.
“I thought it was going to hit me in the head somehow,’’ Seidenberg said. “It ended up going in.’’
Before Harrison’s winning goal, Seidenberg could have cleared the puck out of harm’s way. But Seidenberg couldn’t get enough muscle behind his backhand clearing attempt. With Tlusty setting a primary screen and other bodies filling the shooting lane, Harrison wound up for a shot. Thomas never saw the puck come off his stick.
“I saw him winding up to shoot,’’ Thomas said. “Then the traffic went in front of me. I butterflied to take down anything that squeaked through low. I didn’t think there was going to be any room upstairs. There kind of wasn’t. It was either a complete knuckle puck or off Tlusty’s head. I’m not sure.’’
At the other end, the Bruins couldn’t put sustained pressure on Ward (33 saves). Ward submitted some beauties. In the second, Ward got his stick in front of a Krejci slot shot. In the third, when Daniel Paille tried to stretch Boston’s lead to 3-1, Ward stood tall to get in front of the left wing’s attempt.
“Not good enough for the full 60,’’ Shawn Thornton said. “I’m not sure if we had everyone going all night. They got some pretty good bounces. Knuckle pucks. A couple went off people. But I think we need to create some more. Bury our chances when we get them.’’