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.
Justin Faulk, Eric Staal and Patrick Dwyer also scored, and Cam Ward made 33 saves for the Hurricanes. Carolina, which didn't have a power-play opportunity, is 5-1-1 in its last seven home games.
"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."
"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 11 games, the longest in the NHL this season. 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.
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