David Krejci waited. He paused with the puck on his stick, almost longer than seemed possible, before taking advantage of a sprawled Cam Ward at just the right second. The center roofed the puck, and the Bruins had a 3-2 overtime win over the Hurricanes Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
It was a suspended moment that had even Jarome Iginla holding his breath. “I’m like, ‘OK, put it in, put it in,’ ” said Iginla, who dished the puck to Krejci.
“Sometimes that patience pays off and it paid off on that winning goal, no doubt,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “He didn’t panic with it and sometimes you wish that he’d have less patience and make things happen a little quicker. But he slows the game down to his pace a lot of times, and when he’s on top of his game it really throws the other team off.”
And in this case, it provided the Bruins with 2 points.
“I kind of held onto it a little extra second, and after that it looked like the net was almost all empty,” Krejci said. “That’s my game. I know I get credit for that, but I also get some negative feedback. When it works, everybody’s happy and no one’s talking bad about my game.
“I’m glad it worked. That’s what I do. I’m not going to change my game.”
Still, Krejci wasn’t really taking any credit for the game-winner. It was his goal, sure. It ended his streak of games without a goal at seven and games without a point at five, true. Still, he passed on the accolades.
“It was basically all Iggy,” Krejci said. “It was like one against two. He split the D. I didn’t think he saw me, but he did. I kind of had an easy job to do — just put it in the half-open net.”
With 1:28 left in the extra session and three forwards on the ice, Carl Soderberg made an extra effort on the defensive end, with the puck squirting loose to Johnny Boychuk. The defenseman picked it up, sending it ahead to Iginla.
The future Hall of Famer slipped between Tim Gleason and Ryan Murphy — both of whom were minus-2 on the day — and approached the net, dropping the puck to an onrushing Krejci, who made the play.
With the way the Bruins were playing — and the way the Hurricanes were playing — it should have been an easy afternoon for the home team. As Julien said, “As far as I was concerned, we shouldn’t have gotten to [overtime].”
But the Bruins couldn’t capitalize, even as they took 15 consecutive shots in the first and second periods, and opened the door for a Hurricanes team that had lost three straight, including one to the Bruins on Monday.
And the Hurricanes converted, scoring a shorthanded goal at 11:10 of the third on a breakaway by Patrick Dwyer.
“We had so many shots,” Krejci said. “We outshot them a lot [38-24]. I felt like we could have scored way more goals and the game could have been over earlier. But we didn’t.”
At times, it seemed inevitable all those missed chances would haunt the home team. Boston nearly scored multiple times in the first.
“Maybe we should have led, maybe it’d be 4-0,” Soderberg said.
But they just couldn’t beat Ward.
“Obviously, that always seems to happen,” said Bruins netminder Chad Johnson. “[Their] goalie gets hot, weird bounce or weird deflection and things can happen and games can be tied up . . . I try to not let that creep into my head.”
Carolina had already managed to score the game’s first goal — and on a power play, no less. The Hurricanes came in ranked 28th in the NHL on the power play (11.9 percent), and were going up against the league’s second-ranked penalty-kill unit in the Bruins (86.8 percent).
But Andrej Sekera shot one through Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand that Johnson said he didn’t see at 5:53 of the first, just minutes after Sekera had been helped off the ice after blocking a shot by Shawn Thornton.
The Bruins answered at 14:49 of the first, also on the power play, as Chara got his fourth goal of the season. The play started with Milan Lucic taking a feed from Torey Krug and skating in on Ward. His shot bounced off Ward’s right shoulder, and Chara was able put the loose puck in the net.
Then came the drought, as the Bruins piled up the shots, but not the goals.
Boston finally took the lead at 13:31 of the second period, as Reilly Smith backhanded a goal after rebound off a Soderberg shot. But it didn’t hold.
“I thought we played well enough. Especially in that first period, we had some great, great scoring chances,’’ said Julien. “A little snakebitten in that area lately. I think we’re producing the chances, just not finishing them.
“It allowed them obviously to get a point, but it could have gotten us in a situation where we could have just come out of here with a point as well. I thought we were the better team, so it was nice to see us find a way to win that in overtime.”