The Bruins decided to wait until overtime to win it, but they finally got their just desserts for dominating the Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon.
David Krejci snapped a six game scoreless streak by waiting out Cam Ward for the extra session game-winner in a 3-2 contest after a nice play by Jarome Iginla set him up all alone in front of the net. Carolina managed to get a point by pushing things into overtime, but they were outplayed by Boston for all but a small portion of the game.
The Hurricanes snapped a 1-for-25 slump to get on the board early, and got a power play goal from Andrej Sekera that was aided by a Zdeno Chara screen directly in front of Chad Johnson. Before the period was over the Bruins got that special teams goal back as Zdeno Chara slammed home the rebound of a Milan Lucic shot from the high slot that tied things up at 1-1.
The Bruins took the lead for good against an offensively challenged Carolina hockey club when Reilly Smith picked up a loose puck while cutting through the middle of the ice, and flipped a backhanded shot past Cam Ward. Cal Soderberg picked up the primary helper when he started the scoring play by snapping off a shot at the net, and Matt Bartkowski picked up the secondary assist for selecting the right time to pinch on the play.
The rest was left up to a Carolina team that didn’t bring their best brand of hockey, and went through a 30:47 stretch in the middle of the game where they cobbled together only four shots on net. But that changed in the third when Lucic mishandled a pass on a late power play, and set Patrick Dwyer free for a shorthanded breakaway backhander that beat Johnson to tie things up.
GOLD STAR: David Krejci seems to finally be starting to pull himself out of a two-week funk, and announced it with an exclamation point by scoring the overtime game-winner for the Black and Gold. The playmaking center went pointless in his last five games dating back to a play where Columbus forward Brandon Dubinsky smashed his head into the boards, but that ended with a bang in the extra session. More than that, though, Krejci was more like himself with five shots on net (seven total shot attempts generated) after having just seven total shots on net in those last five games. Krejci also won 9-of-14 face-offs after struggling in that area recently as well, so the effort vs. Carolina might actually portend good things to come again for the top forward group.
BLACK EYE: The referees normally don’t get a black eye, but they missed a Zdeno Chara slashing call where he tomahawk chopped Jiri Tlusty’s stick in half on a breakaway, and then they missed a tripping call on Eric Staal against a speeding Milan Lucic during a Bruins power play possession. Those were the worst of the missed calls, but there plenty others along with some blown off-sides calls, and a pretty clear embellishment on Ryan Murphy that led to Carolina’s first goal. Perhaps it was a lively Friday night in Boston for Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Tony Sericolo and Mark Shewchyk.
TURNING POINT: Jarome Iginla really made it all happen in overtime when corralled a high, hard pass from Johnny Boychuk, split a couple of defenders and then freed David Krejci for a wide open look in front of the net. While Iginla’s offense has been a little on the quiet side lately, he continues to show why he’s a threat to make plays at any moment on the ice. That play might very well for a turning point for that line as well as they’ve struggled over the last 5 games after a torrid start to the season in October.
HONORABLE MENTION: Andrej Sekera is turning into a pretty good player for the Carolina Hurricanes. He dusted himself off after limping down the runway following a blocked shot on Shawn Thornton in the first period, and snaked a point shot through traffic for a power play goal just minutes later. Sekera has five goals for Carolina on the season, and finished as one of only four plus players for the Hurricanes in 24:46 of ice time with three blocked shots and four shot attempts.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the number of goals for Reilly Smith this season, who now has a career-high after flipping a backhander past Cam Ward in the second period of Saturday afternoon’s win.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’re three good players and good skaters too. So, we try to get the puck deep.” –Carl Soderberg, keeping it simple in the postgame dressing room after helping set up Reilly Smith’s second period goal.