Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas makes a save as Carolina Hurricanes' Erik Cole looks for the rebound during the second period in a hockey game in Boston, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Boston, MA -- Boston came into the game looking to extend a three-game winning streak against Carolina. But despite 27 saves from goalie Tim Thomas and some outstanding work on both sides of the puck by Glen Metropolit, the B's fell to Carolina, 1-0.
Carolina's Eric Staal scored the game-winner at 18:20 and the 'Canes Cam Ward (above) made 19 saves for the shutout.
"Lack of effort," were the first words out of Bruins head coach Claude Julien's mouth after the loss. "It's as simple as that.
"We've scored enough lately and we've gotten traffic in front of the net. We've gotten shots through
"But tonight -- when you don't work, you don't win," he said, before adding, "This team has not been capable of working for 60 minutes for a while, now. And it's something that has been addressed in the dressing room."
Before the game, an injured and shorthanded Carolina team claimed former Bruins standout Sergei Samsonov. Samsonov, a first round draft pick for Boston in 1997, had played 23 games for Chicago and earned a 0-4-4 line, before being placed on waivers by the Blackhawks.
"They came in banged up," said Julien of Carolina. "They had a goal in mind and they fought through it for 60 minutes and they found a way to win, which is something that we did not do tonight."
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward makes a save as Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic looks for the rebound during the first period of a hockey game in Boston, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
The game became heated, initially, as at 3:03 of the first period former Bruins tough guy Wade Brookbank took on current Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton. They fought, appropriately enough, in front of the penalty box, which is where they sat for five minutes serving their ensuing fighting majors following the short bout.
Boston was able to put eight shots on Ward in the opening stanza and control the puck for quite a bit of the period.
Carolina was limited to only four shots in the same session, but one bid, at 16:07, Boston's Thomas brought the fans out of their seat by stopping Staal's first scoring bid of the game.
Staal crashed the net and put the puck on goal at point blank range. At the last possible moment the stalwart Boston goalie placed his paddle directly on the goal line to prevent a Carolina marker. Thomas then swept it away from the net and kept the score tied at zero going into the fist intermission.
"I thought we played a good first period," said a clearly angry Coach Julien. "Twenty minutes and we probably thought it was going to be an easy night."
The second period literally turned into a scramble for Boston as the Hurricanes began to pour shots (17 in the period) on Thomas.
On Carolina's 20th shot of the game, they finally scored. Staal received the puck in the trapezoid behind the Boston goal and swung around to the front of the net. From Thomas' left, the wide-open Carolina forward was given a clean view of the net and beat the B's netminder to make the score, 1-0, Hurricanes at 18:20.
The third period capped a less-than-satisfying (at least from the Boston side of things) defensive struggle in which the Bruins seemed incapable of finding their way to the Carolina net.
"They were in your face, the way they always are," explained Julien. "In the neutral zone they really come at you hard (and) we all knew about that."
Boston Bruins' Marc Savard (91) tries to keep the puck away from Carolina Hurricanes' Casey Borer during the first period in a hockey game in Boston, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Despite a late offensive flurry for the B's and a Hurricanes penalty with just over 17 seconds remaining in regulation, the Bruins were unable to convert.
"When you don't do the things you are supposed to do and you don't work and you don't want to be first on the puck -- you don't wan to win battles -- you get the results you (got) tonight: no offense and a poor performance," said Julien.
Asked what his remedy might be for his club's sub-par performance, the Bruins coach said, "Coaches have their solutions...you'll see."
Pushed for more answers, Julien could only say that "it reaches a point where (the effort) tarnishes the message that we had for these guys when we first came to training camp. It doesn't matter who you are, if you have a good work ethic, you'll be in every game, you're going to compete and you are going to get your chances at winning."
"We all know what we have to do at this stage of the season. We've been playing together for 42 games. And it's not about explaining the system. It's not about explaining what we have to do.
"They all know what they have to do," he said.
Boston faces their archrival Montreal Canadiens at 7:30 on Thursday evening at the TD Banknorth Garden.