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Bruins Wear Down Canes; LaCouture Staying

For two periods, the Carolina Hurricanes held their own against the Eastern Conference's best team. But an early third-period goal gave the Bruins a lead they would not relinquish, giving the Canes their first regulation loss in six games and Boston their 13th straight home win, 4-2.

Boston scored twice in the third period — once on a David Krejci goal, the other after Joe Corvo turned the puck over behind the Carolina net and Shawn Thornton looped in front and fired it over Cam Ward — to build a cushion. They later added an empty-netter after Carolina had cut the lead back to one to lock up two points.

Joni Pitkanen opened the scoring for Carolina, taking a cross-ice pass from Rod Brind'Amour and burying a one-timer on the power play. The Canes held on to the 1-0 lead until nearly the midway point of the game, when Marc Savard collected a loose puck in the slot and waited out Ward to tie the game.

After Boston moved ahead 3-1, Ray Whitney scored late in the third to cut the lead back to one, putting home a shot during a scrum in front of Bruins' goalie Manny Fernandez. But the Canes failed to convert a late power play and, with Ward pulled, were unable to create any last-minute opportunities. Stephane Yelle added the empty-net goal with three seconds left to seal the win for Boston.

While the B's came away with the win, they may have suffered a huge blow. Patrice Bergeron, who missed almost all of last season with a concussion, appeared to suffer a head injury after attempting to check Carolina defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. The collision left Bergeron on the ice for several minutes. Boston head coach Claude Julien pinned no blame on Seidenberg, telling the Boston Globe, "It was not a cheap shot by any means. It was a collision." The Globe reports on its Web site that Bergeron was taken to a local hospital, but the Bruins are yet to give any information out on the center's condition.

The good:

  • The Canes showed that they're capable of playing a top-notch team and competing, even on the road. For about half the game, the Canes were knotted up with the Bruins. One good bounce — perhaps Sergei Samsonov's iron shot in the third going in — and two points would've been within reach.

  • Ward was again solid in net, making several saves that kept Carolina in the game. He made one particularly great save on Phil Kessel — who extended his point streak to 17 with an assist on Savard's second-period goal — exploding to his right and denying the young sniper.

  • Pitkanen not only contributed a goal, but was perhaps Carolina's best d-man in their own zone.

  • Like Pitkanen, Whitney did much more than just score. He was the Canes' top forward all night, controlling the puck in the Boston end and dancing his way around the Bruins defenders. He made Norris-level blueliner Zdeno Chara stumble in pursuit a few times in the corners.

  • The Justin Williams-Matt Cullen-Patrick Eaves line created quite a few chances and looks to be finding a groove.

  • Anton Babchuk only played 11 minutes but looked comfortable after missing four games with an elbow injury.

The bad:

  • After controlling the play for about the first two-thirds of the opening period, Carolina saw the Bruins clog up the middle of the ice and turn pressure and Hurricanes' turnovers into opportunities. The Canes never really regained momentum.

  • After a perfectly executed power play that led to Pitkanen's goal, Carolina got only two more chances, both unsuccessful. The biggest was in the final five minutes of the game, and the Hurricanes generated little. Much of the recent improvement of the power play can be attributed to better puck possession, often attained by successfully carrying the puck into the zone. The game's final extra-man opportunity was reminiscent of the team when they were at their worst earlier in the year, dumping the puck into the zone only to see the opposition collect it and fire it down the ice.

  • Eric Staal looked frustrated throughout and, after registering six points in three games, is pointless in his last two outings.


LaCouture Not Leaving For The KHL

According to LSB, veteran forward Dan LaCouture is not leaving for Russia and will remain with the team's AHL affiliate in Albany