Raleigh, NC -- In a shootout, the Boston Bruins defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, Tuesday night at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC. Phil Kessel and David Krejci each scored for Boston in the shootout and the Bruins Tim Thomas stopped both shots he saw in the penalty shot contest and another 45 during 65 minutes of play.
Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard scored for Boston during the regular game, while Ray Whitney and Eric Cole added goals for Carolina.
"For 59 minutes I thought we played some pretty good hockey," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "It's unfortunate that some mistakes at the end…hurt us."
The Boston Bruins were not happy with their effort against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night and had repeated the sentiment ever since. Pledging to play a full 60-minutes, the Black & Gold entered Carolina's RBC Center with their eyes on playoff points.
They would come within 43 seconds of achieving that goal, but earned the two points in any case.
"It would have been nice to get it done during regular time," said Chara. "They were going all offense [at the end of the game].
"It wasn't the prettiest win."
At no time could the game have been called pretty, but it was intense.
Boston's Jeremy Reich took on Carolina's Tim Conboy in an exciting round of fisticuffs in front of the Carolina bench at just 2:15 of the first, and his efforts seemed to ignite his teammates on the B's bench.
And with former Boston Bruin/Hartford Whalers d-man Glen Wesley in the box for Carolina, Boston's Chara got the Bruins on the board first with a back door goal past Cam Ward, on the power play, at 4:50.
The B's Milan Lucic took on former Boston Bruin Wade Brookbank in the rookie's return bout -- his first following a broken nose suffered in Philadelphia in early January.
Probably best scored a draw, the B's young, tough, left winger got three solid punches through the defenses of the Hurricanes veteran tough guy during the fight, which earned both participants majors at 8:08.
"He steps up," said Glen Metropolit of Lucic. "He has a lot of character and…he exemplifies what the Bruins are all about."
The goalies took over from there.
Thomas made 15 saves in the first stanza, but Ward made 11 of his own and sent the B's to the locker room nursing just a one-goal lead.
Thomas and Ward were the story in the second, as well. Thomas made another 15 saves against the 'Canes in the middle session, while Carolina's Ward made 14 saves against the B's and allowed only one goal.
That Bruins goal came on the power play when Savard found himself with a clear lane, fired a rocket and scored to put the B's up 2-0 at 14:28.
"I saw my feet and I just shot it," said Savard after the game with a smile.
Boston jumped out of their locker room at the beginning of the third period and, although they had to endure consistent pressure from the Hurricanes, was successful in keeping Carolina off the board for the majority of the session thanks to a combination of solid checking and the outstanding goaltending of Thomas.
But the Boston lead did not last until the end of regulation.
Whitney who brought his Hurricanes within one goal with his marker at 18:57 overshadowed a late scrap between Lucic and Carolina's Tim Gleason.
Then, the 'Canes Cole tied the game, 2-2, at 19:17 and sent the game to sudden-death overtime and, eventually, a shootout.
"It was a big goal for us," said Krejci of his shootout clincher. "And now I know I can score against an NHL goalie, so that gives me a little confidence."
Kessel, whose initial goal decided the game in Boston's favor, was pleased to have been able to help in yet another shootout.
"I gotta score sometimes," said Kessel with a chuckle. "And that has been the easiest way to score this year.
"You just go down there, make your move, and hope it works."
Boston traveled to Fort Lauderdale after the game and will face Florida on Thursday.
1 - 0 BOS
2 - 0 BOS
2 - 1 BOS