The Canes' Erik Cole battles inside against Bruins goalie Tim Thomas and Dennis Seidenberg (44) during the second period. CHRIS SEWARD - cseward@newsobservercom
RALEIGH -- Too much Tim Thomas.
The Boston Bruins' 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday was won with some timely offense and some gritty defense, but mostly it was won by Thomas in goal.
Thomas was the winner in Sunday's All -Star Game for Team Lidstrom at the RBC Center, denying the Canes' Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner and Cam Ward a victory in front of the Canes' home fans. Two days later, Thomas was the winner again in a more important game, making some sprawling, desperation saves when needed.
"You can't figure out how it gets done but it's certainly been getting done all year long," Canes coach Paul Maurice said of Thomas, who leads the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage and is the leading candidate for the Vezina Trophy.
Said Bruins coach Claude Julien: "He's having fun. You tell people when you come to work and you're having fun, you're going to have more success. He's taken upon himself to work hard and compete hard and he's having fun doing it."
With the Atlanta Thrashers losing to the New York Islanders, the Canes (25-20-6) could have moved into eighth place in the East with a victory. Instead, the Canes finished the season series with Boston 1-3 against the Bruins (29-15-7).
Defensemen Jamie McBain and Joe Corvo scored for the Canes, and Corvo extended his point streak to six games. Sergei Samsonov and Erik Cole each had two assists.
Canes forward Jussi Jokinen left the game during the first period with a lower-body injury. Maurice was not sure of the severity of the injury after the game but said Jokinen wanted to return in the third period.
With Jokinen out, Staal was used for 24:37 and played almost 11 minutes in the third. He was off the ice only 10 or more seconds in the final three minutes of regulation.
"It was a good, tight game," Maurice said.
Nathan Horton and Patrice Bergeron scored in the third period to push the Bruins ahead 3-1 -- Horton at 3:54 and Bergeron at 5:06. But Corvo made it a one-goal game for the Canes with a power-play goal at 8:05, extending his point streak to six games.
"Whenever you get scored on at the beginning of the period like that, it's rough on the team and I think it gets everybody down," Corvo said. "We battled back. We made it close."
McBain's fourth goal of the season, at 11:25 of the second period, gave the Canes a 1-1 tie with the Bruins after two.
McBain scored after Sergei Samsonov, who had two assists, carried the puck into the zone down the left wing and circled back to the middle. McBain was pinching in on the left side and was open at the doorstep as Samsonov's shot was tipped by Bergeron.
Daniel Paille's first goal of the season, at 4:13 of the second period, had given the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
Paille snuck in front of Canes goalie Cam Ward and got a piece of a Zdeno Chara shot.
The Canes came out with some jump and controlled the flow of the game the first 12 minutes, but the Bruins made a push at the end the first.
The Canes had a pair of first-period power plays and some good chances, Thomas came up with some sharp saves.
Ward made four big saves in a 95-second period late in the first. Blake Wheeler had a bang-bang tip in front of the net but Ward made the stop. Boston had three shots in the first 11 minutes of the game but finished the period with 15 (six by Zdeno Chara), and Paille hit the post on an early breakaway.
The Canes' Jay Harrison and Bruins tough guy Milan Lucic had a brief fight late in the period. No clearcut winner but Harrison got in a glancing right hand.
The Bruins are 16-6-4 on the road this season.