The Bruins are now 4-4-1 in their last nine games and barely over .500 since facing Vancouver nearly a month ago, with a 6-5-1 mark beginning with that loss.
They will look to snap out of this funk when they close out their three-game homestand against Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Third Period, 16:15, Hurricanes 3-0: The latest batch of penalties has expired and the sides are back to even strength in the closing minutes.
Third Period, 14:15, Hurricanes 3-0: That power play doesn't last long as Brad Marchand takes a slashing penalty of his own eight seconds into the Boston advantage.
Third Period, 14:07, Hurricanes 3-0: The Bruins will get another late power-play chance as Jussi Jokinen goes off for slashing.
Third Period, 11:39, Hurricanes 3-0: The Bruins kill off that penalty, but time is quickly running out on Boston in this one.
Third Period, 9:39, Hurricanes 3-0: Things get nasty in front as Eric Staal takes exception to an extra jab on Ward by David Krejci. Milan Lucic then grabs Staal, and Lucic gets the only penalty for roughing. It will be 4 on 4 for 15 seconds, then another Carolina power play.
Third Period, 7:54, Hurricanes 3-0: The Bruins get their first power-play chance of the night as Justin Faulk is sent off for kneeing Joe Corvo. The Bruins will need to convert here to have any chance of coming back in this one.
Third Period, 3:13, Hurricanes 3-0: The Hurricanes add another as Brandon Sutter extends the lead to three goals.
Andreas Nodl intercepted Rask's pass up the boards and passed it out to Sutter for a quick shot from the top of the right circle.
Third Period, 1:26, Hurricanes 2-0: The Bruins kill off the rest of the penalty and are back to even strength.
Third Period, 0:00, Hurricanes 2-0: The final frame is under way here at the Garden, where the Bruins have to kill off the rest of this penalty, then try to rally from a two-goal hole.
Second Intermission Notes: After dominating the first period, the Bruins weren't able to generate much in the second. Both frames produced the same result, a goal for Carolina, which takes a 2-0 lead into the third.
The Bruins managed just five shots in the second after 22 in the first, while Carolina went from eight in the first to 14 in the second. Boston still has a 24-19 edge in hits and remains in control in the faceoff circle (23-10, 70 percent), but those advantages have not translated into any scoring.
The deficit could be even greater if not for a strong effort by Tuukka Rask. But the Bruins still have 1:26 of Dennis Seidenberg's hooking penalty to kill off at the start of the third before trying to mount their comeback.
The one bright spot in the second was the return of Johnny Boychuk, who left the first injured. Boychuk has played 11:13 so far with one shot and a team-high four hits.
End Second Period, Hurricanes 2-0: The Bruins will have their work cut out for them in the third after a very poor showing in the second. Carolina extended its lead and will head to the final frame up by two goals and on the power play for another 1:26.
Second Period, 19:25, Hurricanes 2-0: The Hurricanes now go on the power play as Dennis Seidenberg goes off for hooking in the final minute. Carolina nearly scored on the delayed call, but clanged a shot off the post.
Second Period, 16:41, Hurricanes 2-0: The Hurricanes aren't denied this time, as Tuomo Ruutu doubles the lead.
Brandon Sutter stole the puck from Andrew Ference dropping back in his own zone. Rask made the initial save on Sutter, but couldn't stop Ruutu's rebound as he fired in a spinning shot.
Second Period, 15:59, Hurricanes 1-0: The Hurricanes threaten again, with Patrick Dwyer cutting through the slot for a bid in front, but Rask makes another big stop, this time flashing the glove.
Second Period, 14:46, Hurricanes 1-0: The Hurricanes nearly strike again, with Eric Staal again sneaking in behind Rask for a bid at the right post, but this time Rask makes the save to keep it a one-goal deficit.
Second Period, 11:20, Hurricanes 1-0: Brad Marchand not a happy camper as he takes a stick up high twice from Eric Staal with no call. Marchand slams his stick into the boards as he goes to the bench, then slams his helmet to the ground while on the bench.
Second Period, 9:27, Hurricanes 1-0: Carolina defenseman Jaroslav Spacek takes a shot up high and goes down in pain. Spacek is wearing a full cage in his first game back from a facial injury that kept him out of the last seven games.
Second Period, 9:23, Hurricanes 1-0: The Bruins pick up the pace with some heavy hitting as Adam McQuaid on defense and the fourth line up front get the club going with some strong physical play.
Second Period, 7:40, Hurricanes 1-0: The Canes are putting the pressure on Boston this period, but it's Rask's turn to shine. he made his best save of the night robbing Jussi Jokinen on a point-blank rebound in front.
Second Period, 6:09, Hurricanes 1-0: After putting 22 shots on Ward in the first, the Bruins finally get their first of the second more than six minutes in, and it's a harmless shot from long range from the left wing by Benoit Pouliot.
Second Period, 3:53, Hurricanes 1-0: Now both teams aren't shooting. Neither team had a shot for over three minutes to start the second before Carolina finally put one shot on Rask.
Second Period, 0:00, Hurricanes 1-0: The middle frame is under way here at the Garden. The bad news is Boston is down 1-0. The good news is Johnny Boychuk is back on the ice to start the second period after leaving injured in the first.
First Intermission Notes: The Bruins did everything but score in the first. They outshot Carolina 22-8, controlling play for long stretches in the Carolina end. They dominated the draws, winning 81 percent (13-3). They even outhit the Canes 11-9.
But it was Carolina that scored the only goal of the period and takes a 1-0 lead into the second. The Bruins had nearly twice as many different players with shots on goal (15) as Carolina had total shots (8). But Cam Ward has been outstanding early and is showing signs of possibly stealing another one for the Canes against Boston, which is 0-3-0 against Carolina and Ward so far this season.
Worse than the one-goal deficit, the Bruins also lost Johnny Boychuk to an apparent arm injury on the play that led to Carolina's goal. It will obviously bear watching if he can return. The Bruins just got back to full strength on defense with Andrew Ference returning from his suspension, and can't afford to lose Boychuk now.
End First Period, Hurricanes 1-0: The opening period is in the books, and the Bruins dominated everywhere but the scoreboard. They outshot Carolina 22-8, but trail 1-0 after 20 minutes.
First Period, 17:33, Hurricanes 1-0: The Bruins kill off that penalty without allowing a shot. Boston actually had the only shot during the penalty with a shorthanded bid by Daniel Paille. Boston leads 19-7 in shots, but still trails 1-0.
First Period, 15:33, Hurricanes 1-0: The Hurricanes will get a chance to built on their lead with the first power-play opportunity of the night. David Krejci goes to the box for boarding.
First Period, 11:51, Hurricanes 1-0: The Hurricanes strike first as Eric Staal scores from the right slot.
Staal tapped in a pass at the right post behind Rask off a pass out of the left corner by Jiri Tlusty.
To make matters worse, Johnny Boychuk was injured on the play as he went awkwardly into the boards on a hit by Tuomo Ruutu.
First Period, 10:40, 0-0: The Bruins are peppering Ward with shots, now up 13-4 in that category as Boston had had the last nine shots in the game. But it remains scoreless at the Garden.
First Period, 8:08, 0-0: A long stretch without a whistle finally ends after both teams had chances. The best came from the Bruins, with Tyler Seguin setting up Brad Marchand in front, but Marchand redirected it just wide.
First Period, 4:58, 0-0: A quick surge back by the Hurricanes and suddenly the shots are 4-4. It could have easily been 5-4 Carolina, and the score 1-0, but Jamie McBain hit the post as he pinched in for a bid from the slot after a Bruins turnover.
First Period, 2:44, 0-0: The Bruins with a stronger start to this one than Tuesday's effort against Ottawa. Boston has the first three shots of the game, two of which came off Carolina turnovers in its own zone as the Canes have been sloppy early.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: This one is under way at the Garden, where the Bruins will try to finally beat the last-place Hurricanes in the last meeting between the clubs this season.
Carolina has won each of the first three clashes, including a 4-1 decision in the first meeting in Boston back in October.
7 p.m.: The Bruins will open with Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Rich Peverley up front, with Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk on defense and Tuukka Rask in goal.
Carolina counters with Jiri Tlusty, Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu up front, Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison on the blue line and Cam Ward in net.
6:55 p.m.: The Bruins have scratched Steven Kampfer and Nathan Horton (concussion). Adam McQuaid is back in the lineup.
The Hurricanes scratch Derek Joslin and Chad LaRose (illness). Jaroslav Spacek returns from a facial injury.
6:45 p.m.: Adam McQuaid skated with Andrew Ference on the first line rush in warm-ups, but Steven Kampfer took the next turn with Ference. McQuaid is still likely to play, but it will be a game-time decision indeed.
Here are the full line combinations from warm-ups:
6:30 p.m.: It's Tuukka Time at the Garden. Rask led the Bruins out onto the ice for warm-ups and will get the start in this one.
Cam Ward led the Hurricanes out and will start for Carolina.
6:20 p.m.: While the Bruins look to get their game back on track after some lapses lately, there's also reason to focus on the Hurricanes.
With Carolina in last place, the Hurricanes could be one of the major sellers at the trade deadline, and the Bruins could be interested in a few of the available options. Tuomo Ruutu could be an intriguing addition up front, while veteran blueliners Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek are possibilities for some experienced depth on defense.
Check out how the Hurricanes are dealing with the trade speculation and what one current Bruin and former teammate of Ruutu things of how the abrasive forward would fit in here.
6 p.m.: The Bruins continue their homestand with a matchup against Carolina.
The Hurricanes are in last place in the East, but are also 3-0-0 against Boston this season.
The Bruins will get Andrew Ference back from his suspension, and also hope to have Adam McQuaid in the lineup. McQuaid suffered a lower-body injury late in Tuesday's win over Ottawa, but participated in the morning skate and is expected to play against Carolina.
Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate, likely indicating he will get the start in this one after Tim Thomas played on Tuesday.
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins will get their final shot to show they can beat the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
Boston continues its homestand by hosting Carolina on Thursday. The Hurricanes enter the contest dead last in the East, having managed to accumulate 21 fewer points than the Bruins despite playing four more games than Boston. But three of Carolina's rare wins have come against the Bruins, with the Hurricanes dominating the season series so far.
Carolina took a 3-2 decision in Raleigh on Oct. 12, then took advantage of Boston's undisciplined play at the Garden for a 4-1 win on Oct. 18. The Bruins had 72 penalty minutes to Carolina's 22 that night, with the Hurricanes breaking open the game with a pair of late 5-on-3 goals. The Bruins were more disciplined in the last meeting in Raleigh on Jan. 14. Boston didn't give Carolina a single power play, with the Bruins' only penalty a slashing minor to Milan Lucic with Carolina defenseman Bryan Allen drawing a matching call in the final minute. But the Hurricanes still rallied with three goals in the final 6:02 for a 4-2 win.
Allen and forward Tuomo Ruutu are among the Hurricanes Bruins fans may want to pay special attention to, as they could be prime targets for playoff teams like Boston looking to augment their rosters at the trade deadline. Defenseman Tim Gleason would have drawn plenty of interest as well, but he'll be staying in Carolina after signing a four-year, $16-million extension on Monday.
Cam Ward earned the win in all three of those games and has a 1.67 GAA and a .948 save percentage this season against Boston.
Carolina (18-25-9, 45 points) dropped a 5-2 decision to the Islanders on Tuesday and will be without defenseman Joni Pitkanen (concussion), though Jaroslav Spacek (facial injury) could return. Forward Chad LaRose is questionable after missing practice Wednesday with an illness. Drayson Bowman was recalled from the AHL in case LaRose can't play.
The Bruins (32-14-2, 66 points) will get defenseman Andrew Ference back as his three-game suspension is over. Forward Nathan Horton (concussion) remains out and defenseman Adam McQuaid is questionable after missing practice with Wednesday a lower-body injury suffered late in Tuesday's 4-3 win over Ottawa.
The puck drops at 7 p.m., so check back here for updates on all the action.
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