RALEIGH, N.C. — The Bruins were in a jam. They had just taken a 2-1 lead in the second period over the surging Hurricanes, who had scored a late first-period goal to give themselves life.
Johnny Boychuk was off for tripping Jiri Tlusty. Fifty-seven seconds later, Gregory Campbell followed Boychuk into the box after his rink-long clear sailed into the netting over goalie Cam Ward.
Carolina had a two-man advantage for 63 seconds. It could have pulled ahead. Instead, the Bruins killed off the five-on-three power play.
The Hurricanes never got closer. Boychuk scored at 10:29 of the third. Milan Lucic scored an empty-net goal at 19:49, giving the Bruins a 4-1 win over the Hurricanes on Monday before 13,919 at PNC Arena.
“We didn’t want to give them some life,” said coach Claude Julien. “They’re a good team, no matter what. They’re a good team that can come back. They’re pretty explosive when you give them that opportunity. You don’t want to do that.”
The Bruins have now killed 32 straight penalties. They put on a clinic during the five-on-three power play, even with two of their regular killers in the box.
It helped that Patrice Bergeron (13 for 22 on the faceoff) won the first five-on-three draw against Eric Staal. Then at 14:54, after Tuukka Rask gloved a Chris Terry one-timer, Bergeron won another drop, this time against little brother Jordan Staal.
Those wins, along with some zone-clearing flings, kept the Hurricanes from setting up their five-on-three formation.
“The thing I liked tonight is that we won faceoffs and we were in the right place to ice the puck,” Julien said. “I think we iced the puck three times from winning battles. I liked that about it. With 1:03, they could have spent a lot more time in our own end. But we didn’t give them that opportunity. I liked that about our five-on-three. Our guys were in the right position. So we got what we wanted out of it.”
The Bruins scored their breathing-room goal at 10:29
Before Ward could recover, Boychuk found the loose puck and ripped a sharp-angle slap shot into the net, giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead.
The Bruins did their other damage in the first period. At 2:31, Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal to make it 1-0. Smith, one of the point men on the No. 2 unit, rotated to the far post when Dougie Hamilton dished to Loui Eriksson. As Eriksson went down to Carl Soderberg at the goal line, Smith gained body and stick position on Brett Bellemore. Soderberg spotted Smith, who tapped in a short-range shot.
Smith and Soderberg connected again at 10:24, this time at even strength. Chris Kelly won an offensive-zone faceoff to Smith, who fed Dennis Seidenberg at the left point. Soderberg, standing in front of Ward, got a piece of Seidenberg’s shot to score his second goal, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
But for the second game in a row, the Bruins failed to take a two-goal lead into the second. With 4.8 seconds remaining in the first, Tuomo Ruutu caught Rask leaning the other way to make it a 2-1 game. The Hurricanes didn’t have their legs before Ruutu’s goal.
Three nights earlier, the Bruins grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead over Ottawa. A Torey Krug turnover led to a Chris Neil goal late in the first. It was the first of four straight Ottawa goals in the Bruins’ 4-2 loss. This time, the Bruins didn’t let Ruutu’s goal turn into a bad result.
“I thought the goal they scored at the end of the first wasn’t a real mistake kind of goal,” Julien said. “We had numbers coming back. It just took a bad bounce off Bergy and had Tuukka going the other way. It kind of trickled off his stick too. It was important for us to come back in the second period and try and regain some momentum. I thought we did.”