Game Analysis: Hurricanes At Bruins

Nathan Horton's attack of an unwilling-to-fight Tim Gleason was part of Boston's collapse against the Hurricanes. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

For the second time this season the Carolina Hurricanes toppled the defending Stanley Cup champions, winning in Boston, 4-1, in a penalty-filled affair that saw Bruins coach Claude Julien tossed from the game and several of his players penalized for losing their cool.

It took a while for the Canes to capitalize on Boston's lack of discipline, but in the end Carolina notched two 5-on-3 goals to put away the B's.

Three Observations

1. Not only didn't Carolina leave Beantown with two points, they walked away with their dignity. The same can't be said of the Bruins. Led by captain Zdeno Chara and Julien, Boston unraveled in falling to 2-4 on the year. Nathan Horton's attack of Tim Gleason was an example of the contrasting mindsets of the two squads. Gleason is known for his spirited fighting, but avoided confrontation multiple times in the game, unwilling to engage Bruins players because he knew the fight could help the B's gain momentum and that his absence from the ice would be a detriment to his team. The encounter with Horton is likely filed away in Gleason's memory. That's bad news for Horton, as the last time the two fought it ended with Gleason body slamming the then-Panther to the ice. (Getty Images pic here )

2. The Hurricanes finished the game with two third-period 5-on-3 power play tallies, but coach Paul Maurice's choices for an earlier 5-on-3 were curious. Tim Brent, who is now riding a three-game point streak, joined Eric Staal and three other forwards on the first unit to take the faceoff for a pivotal 5-on-3 with the game at 2-1. Brent does have experience as one of the point men on the power play, but he was instead pushed off the left side boards, hardly a place where his shot can be utilized. Brent has had an amazing start to his Hurricanes career and even has the ability to contribute at the top of the power play unit, but tucking him to the side not only casts him in an improper role, but also keeps other players off the ice in a crucial moment in the game.

3. Cam Ward continues to lead by example. His show-stopping saves in the game's opening minute set the tone for the night, and his confrontation with Chara — followed by him shrugging off a possible fight with Tuukka Rask — perfectly illustrates why Ward is one of the team's leaders. His willingness to make big plays when needed, stick up for a teammate, and knowing the time and place for aggression are examples of leadership that every player in the league can look to as a way to conduct one's self on the ice.

Number To Know

2.59 — Goals per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play for Anthony Stewart, far and away the most of any Hurricanes player. It also ranks 16th in the NHL through Tuesday's games. The 7:44 Stewart is averaging per night is the least of any Carolina player who has suited up in all six games, but his ability to finish around the net should earn him more ice time, be it on a different line or in an increased role for the immensely effective fourth line.

Plus

Joni Pitkanen — Pitkanen's on-the-rush, second-period laser that beat Rask widened Carolina's lead to 2-0 and was the second time this season that the Finnish defenseman has scored. With the emergence of Justin Faulk, the intrigue surrounding Ryan Murphy, and the addition of Tomas Kaberle all drawing attention this preseason, Pitkanen's return with a new contract was an afterthought on the Hurricanes defense. Pitkanen is opening eyes now as he is tied for the team lead in points (six, with Jeff Skinner) and is tops in ice time (24:04).

Minus

Jeff Skinner — For the third straight game, it's hard to find any fault with anyone in the Canes lineup. But since we need one, we'll look to Skinner. The 19-year-old forward was battered and bruised by the Bruins and seemed to get frustrated with the liberties the Boston players were taking with him. Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg both seemed determine to rattle Carolina's star winger, and Skinner's high sticking penalty to Ference didn't necessarily look like an accident. In the end, Skinner drew enough attention to disrupt the Bruins and contribute to their frustration, but it was one of the few times in his career that No. 53 has looked flustered by physical intimidation.

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