Cam Ward blanks Bruins, whose struggles continue
|02.02.12 at 9:27 pm ET|
The Bruins turned in their latest poor showing and as Carolina took a 3-0 contest and swept the four-game season series between the teams for the first time in franchise history.
The Hurricanes got goals from Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu in the first and second periods, respectively. Picking up the shutout for Carolina was Cam Ward, who won all four games against the Bruins this season. Tuukka Rask took the loss.
The Bruins came out and outshot Carolina, 22-8, in the first period, but Staal’s first-period tally and stronger second and third-period efforts propelled the Hurricanes, who entered Thursday last in the Eastern Conference, past the B’s.
With the loss, the Bruins’ are now 4-4-1 over their last nine games, their worst such stretch since the first month of the season. They will return to action Saturday when they host the Penguins at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins have now allowed three or more goals in five consecutive games. Prior to the current stretch the team is currently on, the longest stretch of games in which they allowed three or more goals was two. If the 4-4-1 record of late doesn’t say it enough, the Bruins have been well off the mark lately.
– A sensationally horrific stat pointed out by the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, Thursday marked the ninth consecutive game in which the Bruins entered the hire period without the lead. Boston has been the league’s best third-period team this season, but they have to know that they can’t count on a big effort in the final 20 minutes to get them two points each time out.
Speaking of the third period, the Hurricanes outscored the Bruins, 8-4, in the third period in the four-game season series. That’s saying something.
– In too many ways, the game was reminiscent of the teams’ second meeting this season on Oct. 18, when the Bruins lost their cool late in the game and lost, 4-1. The Hurricanes had David Krejci outnumbered in front of Ward a little more than halfway through the third period, but that’s no excuse for Milan Lucic to show up late to the party grabbing Stall from behind and taking a roughing penalty. The Bruins are a tough, passionate team, but the passion that comes out when they know defeat is near is the wrong kind.
– For the second consecutive game, Patrice Bergeron’s line was a minus-2. Tyler Seguin still leads the NHL with a plus-32 rating, but that will go away fast if his line continues to allow goals at their recent clip.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– While Thursday’s showing (once again) was not a 60-minute effort, the B’s at least came out with a better start than they had in games past. The team’s 22 shots on goal in the first (though they came with very few scoring opportunities) period was the most the team ties the third period of Jan. 10’s game against the Jets for the most shot they’ve had in a single period this year.
– The Bruins survived an injury scare. Johnny Boychuk’s stick went into his midsection after taking a hit from Tuomo Ruutu in the seconds that led up to Staal’s goal. Boychuk left the ice in pain and went down the tunnel following the goal. He did not return to the bench for the rest of the period, but he was present at the start of the second period.
– Rask kept them in the game. Ruutu’s goal wasn’t Rask’s finest moment, but the Finnish goaltender kept the contest close in the second period when the Bruins couldn’t keep up with the Hurricanes. Some of Rask’s brightest moments came when he went post-to-post to stop Eric Staal late in the period and when he made a sharp glove save on a Patrick Dwyer shot from the slot.