Boston came out slow once again against Florida on Wednesday, but rallied for three goals in the third period to take a 3-1 decision and ended a two-game losing streak.
Carolina comes into this matchup fresh off a 3-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday. The Hurricanes are just 1-3-2 over their last six games and have already begun making changes.
In the last two weeks alone, they've added four players, acquiring defenseman Ian White and forward Brett Sutter for defenseman Anton Babchuk and forward Tom Kostopoulos in a trade with Calgary. They also traded a pair of prospects to Anaheim for forward Ryan Carter and claimed tough guy Troy Bodie off waivers from the Ducks. In turn, they lost enigmatic forward Patrick O'Sullivan on waivers to Minnesota.
Will the moves pay off for the Hurricanes? or is Carolina just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic as they sink back to lottery depths for a second straight season? The Bruins hope it's the latter, or at least that it takes a while for the new pieces to jell so that Boston can pick up two more points at the Hurricanes' expense in this post-holiday matinee.
Boston Bruins (12-6-2, 26 points) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (9-10-2, 20 points)
Nov. 26, 12 p.m. (NESN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
This is the first of four meetings this season between the Bruins and Hurricanes. The Bruins went 3-1-0 against Carolina last season and hold a 92-64-16-2 all-time record against the franchise that used to call Hartford home. That includes a 51-29-7-1 mark in Boston, where the Bruins have won the last four meetings (not including playoffs.)
Tim Thomas keeps rolling along, as he improved to 11-1-1 with a 1.46 GAA and a .955 save percentage after stopping 31 of the 32 shots he saw in Florida on Wednesday. Against Carolina, he's 7-7-1 with a 2.90 GAA and a .916 save percentage. Tuukka Rask is just 1-5-1 despite a 2.36 GAA and a .935 save percentage, but he is 2-0-0 with a 2.02 GAA and a .931 save percentage against the Hurricanes.
For Carolina, Cam Ward is 9-7-1 with a 2.84 GAA and a .914 save percentage, and is 7-7-2 with a 2.88 GAA, .906 save percentage and one shutout in his career against Boston. Ward missed Wednesday's game against Washington when his wife gave birth to their first son earlier in the day. Justin Peters started Wednesday and took the loss, falling to 0-3-1 on the season after allowing three goals on 38 shots.
Sergei Samsonov had 164-212-376 totals in 514 games with Boston between 1997-2006 after being selected with the eighth overall pick in 1997. He was traded to Edmonton in 2006 for a package that included the second-round pick the Bruins used to select Milan Lucic. Former Bruin Glen Wesley, whose trade to Hartford netted the Bruins the pick used on Samsonov, remains part of the Carolina organization as the club's director of defensemen development. Seidenberg and Recchi each played for the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes have just five fighting majors this year, and two came from Kostopoulos before he was traded to Calgary. Jay Harrison also has two, while Bodie has one with Carolina after also picking up one with Anaheim. The Bruins have 19 fighting majors in 20 games, but have gone three games without one for the first time this season. Shawn Thornton, Mark Stuart, Greg Campbell and Adam McQuaid lead the club with three fights each and Lucic has two. Last year's series produced two fights, with Lucic bloodying Harrison and Thornton pounding former Bruin Andrew Alberts, who is now with Vancouver.
The Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak with a third-period rally in Florida on Wednesday, but they can't afford to continue falling behind in games. They've dominated the third period all season long, but they need to start putting together better efforts in the first two periods if they want to sustain their early-season success over the long haul. A quick start in Friday's early matinee would be a good first step.
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