Dougie Hamilton figured he’d already shot, and missed, enough.
So with the game on the line and the puck on his stick, the rookie defenseman deferred to one of the Boston Bruins’ veterans.
David Krejci scored the tiebreaking goal off a pretty pass from Hamilton with 1:50 left to help the Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 on Monday night.
”I figured I’d already taken enough shots where I didn’t score, so I saw (Krejci) open backdoor and I just put it over to him,” Hamilton said. ”And he put it home.”
Zdeno Chara had a power-play goal and two assists, Nathan Horton had a goal and an assist, Tyler Seguin had an empty-net goal and an assist and Brad Marchand scored a short-handed goal for the Bruins.
The Northeast Division leaders remained unbeaten in regulation and opened the season by earning points in five straight games for the first time since 1990-91.
”We’re ready to go. We know it’s a short season (and) it’s really important to get points early in the season,” Krejci said. ”We’re trying to get as (many) points as we can. We’ve got nine out of (a possible) 10. That’s pretty good, but we’ve got to keep going.”
Eric Staal had a goal and an assist, and he and Jeff Skinner scored 50 seconds apart late in the second period to help the Hurricanes erase a two-goal deficit.
Jamie McBain added a goal and Cam Ward made 33 saves for the Hurricanes, who had their two-game winning streak ended.
The Bruins ”are a veteran team that’s gone through these type of games and they came out hard and they gave us a lesson on playing 60 minutes solid,” Carolina coach Kirk Muller said.
Anton Khudobin stopped 29 shots in his first start of the season for the Bruins.
Krejci’s winner came after Horton fired a shot toward Ward. The puck made its way to Hamilton, whose cross-ice pass found Krejci in the left circle. He snapped it past Ward into an open net for his first goal of the season.
”He’s got great vision, great passing ability,” Krejci said. ”I just got open and I was hoping he would pass it to me. I got myself ready, and he made a great play and made (it) pretty easy on me.”
And after Staal was whistled for slashing with 1:31 to play, Seguin tapped into an empty net with eight seconds left.
Carolina erased a two-goal deficit in rapid-fire fashion: Skinner pulled the Hurricanes to 3-2 by beating Khudobin high from point-blank range with 2:05 left in the second period, and Staal tied it moments later after Alexander Semin forced a takeaway and found him streaking toward the net.
”Credit us for battling back. Unfortunate to be down by two, but we stayed within our game plan and got it back to 3-3,” Staal said. ”From there, we’ve got to find a way to get a point out of it, at least, and get it to overtime. They’re a team that just kind of waits for you to turn one over and waits for their opportunity, and they got one.”
The Hurricanes simply couldn’t get anything going with the man advantage. Carolina matched a season high with six power-play chances but went 0-for-6 against a Boston penalty-kill unit that remained perfect (23 for 23) and has scored more goals (one) than it has allowed (zero).
The penalty kill ”is a huge part of our game,” Chara said. ”We take a lot of pride in it. Sometimes we take too many penalties, but it’s just the way it goes in a game.”
The Bruins scored short-handed and power-play goals less than 3 minutes apart to take an early 2-0 lead in the first period.
Marchand struck first at 3:16 when the Bruins were short-handed, taking a long cross-ice pass from Chara in the circle and blasting a one-timer high past Ward. Chara then scored on the power play by sending a wrist shot from the blue line through heavy traffic past Ward at 6:15.
McBain pulled the Hurricanes to 2-1 with 5:10 left in the first with his tip-in of Staal’s pass from the wing. Horton then restored Boston’s two-goal lead with 4:08 left in the second when he skated through a series of Hurricanes on his way to the net.
Notes: Skinner has goals in four straight games and Jordan Staal has points in four in a row. … Carolina D Tim Gleason and Boston LW Milan Lucic fought midway through the first period. The Bruins improved to 3-0-1 when they have at least one fight.