Hurricanes, Bruins look to shake off defeats
BOSTON -- Two teams coming off tough 3-2 road losses Tuesday night get together when the Carolina Hurricanes visit the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Though both clubs fell, but the Bruins did manage to get a point at Philadelphia, losing a nine-round shootout after rallying for two goals in the third period to force overtime. Boston outshot the Flyers 47-21.
The Bruins (21-10-1) are just 5-5-0 at home this season, but the Hurricanes, who are four points from the bottom of the Eastern Conference, are just 3-6-4 on the road.
The Hurricanes (9-9-4) held a 2-0 lead in New York but were caught and passed by the Rangers, the second-winningest team in the NHL. Carolina, which felt it was a victim of a bad call late, slipped to 0-8-4 in its past 12 games at Madison Square Garden.
"For two periods we were by far the better team and didn't allow much of anything aside from the one goal and a couple other chances on the break," said Viktor Stalberg, who scored both Carolina goals Tuesday. He played for the Rangers last season. "Other than that, they didn't have any zone time. We were putting pressure on them every single shift. Frustrating ending here."
The Bruins, who went 8-6-1 in November, did pick up their first point of the season in nine games trailing after two periods. However, they succumbed in the third-longest shootout in team history (No. 2 was also this season).
It was Boston's first game without both Zdeno Chara and John-Michael Liles, two of the team's three best defensemen. Chara, who missed the past four games, is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury, while Liles is out with a concussion he sustained Sunday.
Asked Tuesday if Chara could return as early as Thursday, Bruins coach Claude Julien said, "No idea. He could, (or) maybe not. I really don't know right now. I think he's supposed to skate back home. I don't have that news. So we'll see how he progresses. We want to have him back as soon as possible. But there's part of it that he's got to be medically cleared, and then the player's got to feel that he's ready to go."
The Hurricanes, 7-5-2 in November, dropped three of their past four and scored just seven goals in the four games.
"We've got to continue to learn as we go," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "Obviously, this (loss to the Rangers) is one that I don't think too many guys will be happy the way it unfolded over 60 minutes. I thought we were in good shape at the beginning of the game, played real well and did a lot of good things. We just needed to continue that and sustain quality play for 60 minutes."
Boston goalie Tuukka Rask is an impressive 7-3-3 with a 1.89 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage lifetime against the Hurricanes, while Carolina goaltender Cam Ward is just 14-15-3 with a 2.62 GAA and a .918 save percentage against Boston.
Strangely enough, the Hurricanes go right back to New York and Madison Square Garden to face the Rangers on Saturday afternoon before hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday.
The Bruins move on to Buffalo for a Saturday matinee against the Sabres.