February 2, 2012

Hurricanes blank Bruins, sweep season series

By Jesse Connolly

Final: Carolina 3, Boston 0

Recap: Despite holding a 22-8 edge in shots in the first period, the Bruins headed to the middle frame trailing 1-0 thanks to a goal from 'Canes captain Eric Staal. Boston's offense went into hibernation in the second and Carolina doubled their lead on a tally by Tuomo Ruutu. 

Boston treid valiantly to come back in the final stanza, but a goal by Brandon Sutter at the 3:13 mark really took a bite out of the B's chances. Cam Ward stopped a season-high 47 shots, guiding the Hurricanes to a 3-0 win.

Records: Boston 32-15-2, 66 points; Carolina 19-25-9, 47 points

Key Play of the Game: Ruutu's strike in the second period was a real back-breaker. Tuukka Rask tried to get back into position but slide too far across his crease, leaving the goal-mouth wide open for the 'Canes winger.

Connolly's Commendations: Though he finished minus-2, we'll applaud Patrice Bergeron's performance tonight. No. 37 won 14-of-18 (78%) faceoffs on the night.

Otherwise, commending anyone for their efforts in this game would be futile.

Connolly's Critiques: Conversely, critiquing anyone isn't an easy task. The Bruins, after all, did have 47 shots. However...

Zach Hamill sure can be frustrating to watch. The winger had a golden opportunity to bury his firstc areer goal but waited too long to get rid of the puck. His shot was subsequently deflected and then, for whatever reason, he got in a shoving match with Jeff Skinner near the bench.

Notes: Shawn Thornton is stuck on 99 career fights after not dropping the gloves in this one. Carolina swept the season series between the two clubs, winning all four matchups.

Final Thoughts: The last place Hurricanes winning every contest against the defending champs has left many perplexed in the Hub of Hockey. Hard to put a finger on it, but Carolina's aggressive forecheck -- once again -- gave the B's fits.

Next: The Bruins will return to action on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Penguins at 1 o'clock.