Tonight the Hurricanes looked to earn their third victory of the season and fifth straight of the series as they hosted the Boston Bruins for the first time. Prior to this season, the Carolina Hurricanes had swept Boston 4 games to none. Unfortunately, the streak came to an end as Boston found a way to win 5-3, despite game-tying efforts from Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal.
The first period was definitely not the Carolina Hurricanes strongest showing as the Bruins came out prepared to dominate, setting the tone for the game early on as Zdeno Chara set up Brad Marchand for a one-timer on the penalty kill, putting Boston up 1-0 early on in the opening period. The second marker came as the Canes found themselves on the penalty kill, with the B’s captain Zdeno Chara unleashing a bomb from the blue-line, beating Cam Ward as Milan Lucic set a screen in front, instilling a 2-0 lead for Boston. Jamie McBain was able to cut the lead to one, finding a way to beat Anton Khudobin, sending the first period 2-1 in favor of Boston, shots being deadlocked at 11 a piece.
The second period the Canes were able to catch the Bruins off-guard and capitalize late on a couple of neutral zone turnovers. Jeff Skinner netted his fifth straight goal in the past four games, using his left skate to separate him and Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference to put the puck past Khudobin with just over three minutes remaining in the middle frame. Alexandre Semin helped with the game-tying goal as he picked up the puck and got it up through the middle before zipping it to Eric Staal who was able to beat Khudobin going five-hole. Both goals came within two minutes of Nathan Horton scoring the third goal for Boston, instilling the Canes with a confidence boost that was much needed after forty minutes of play.
The key heading into the third and final period for Carolina was playing solid, even-strength hockey. As goaltender Cam Ward told NESN’s Naoko Funayama, “they need to chip the pucks behind their D to get things going.” Their strongest asset through the first forty was converting the turnovers from Boston into offensive opportunities. As they took the face-off to begin the third period, the two teams played a solid, evenly matched game of hockey, each team having golden opportunities. Unfortunately, the game-changing goal would come from Boston in the final three minutes of play as their rookie d-man Dougie Hamilton slid a quick pass over to David Krejci that beat Cam Ward for a very late 4-3 advantage. Carolina tried to tie it up by pulling Ward in the final minute to make up for being a man-down with Eric Staal in the box for a slashing penalty, but to no avail as Tyler Seguin used his speed to work his way up the right hand side of the ice and score his first of the season on the empty net, making the final score 5-3. In the meantime, Jeff Skinner got in a scrum with B’s center-man Patrice Bergeron after a battle around the Boston net left them both haughty and hostile, however, with only a few seconds remaining the linesmen got in the way separating the two before things got out of control.
Despite the game-tying efforts from Skinner and Staal, the Canes fell to 2-3-0 on the season, their next game being Friday, February 1 against the Ottawa Senators.