BOSTON – Cam Ward certainly couldn’t be blamed if his mind was elsewhere. Instead, it helped him remain focused for his first shutout of the season.
Ward stopped 37 Boston shots and Tuomo Ruutu had a power-play goal and setup another in Carolina’s 3-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Friday afternoon.
On Wednesday morning, Ward’s wife, Cody, gave birth to a 7-pound, 1-ounce son the couple named Nolan. Two days later, the netminder knew he had something to do for his child
“The last couple of days have been really amazing for myself,” he said. “What a great way to start for him. I knew it was going to be his first one he would watch. I’m a very lucky young man. I’m very fortunate to have a lovely wife and (her) giving me a healthy boy.”
Jeff Skinner and Jussi Jokinen scored Carolina’s other goals, both on the power play, against the NHL’s best penalty killing team entering the day.
The win snapped Carolina’s two-game losing streak and was just its second in its last seven games. Boston has lost three of four.
“Cam gave us a chance, I think, early because we were slow out of the gate,” Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. “Cam was the difference in the game. He was our best player. It’s important to get a road win against a good hockey team.”
Boston goaltender Tim Thomas (11-2-1) lost for just the second time this season; both shutouts at home. The other was to Ottawa on November 13.
“I don’t think we should be frustrated,” Thomas said. “I think we should be disappointed. We didn’t do what it took to get the win.”
Boston came in No. 1 in the league in penalty killing and Carolina was 29th in power-play success, but it didn’t work out that way Friday .The Hurricanes went 3-for-3 with the man advantage.
Boston outplayed the Hurricanes in the first period before it started to unravel. The Bruins outshot them 12-6, hitting two posts.
“Our execution got poor and our special teams were unacceptable,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “You give them three goals on three attempts, it’s not acceptable.”
Carolina moved ahead 1-0 on Skinner’s power-play goal with 16 seconds left in the opening period. After Boston’s Daniel Paille turned the puck over with the Bruins on a 3-on-1 break, Ruutu broke out on a 3-on-1 rush the other way and sent a cross-ice pass to Skinner, who tucked the puck behind a sprawling Thomas. It was the 10th time in 12 games the Bruins allowed the first goal.
Boston’s Nathan Horton hit two posts in the opening period; one caromed off Ward’s shoulder.
“We got off to a good start,” Boston winger Milan Lucic said. “We had chances. You have to give Ward credit. He stopped our chances. We’ve got to find a way to score the first goal.”
Ruutu’s power-play goal made it 2-0 midway into the second. He redirected Ian White’s shot from the point and the puck carried over Thomas’ left shoulder and into the net.
“Our goalie was unbelievable. I thought we played so well,” Ruutu said.
With the Bruins skating with an extra player during a delayed penalty, Ward came across the crease to rob rookie Tyler Seguin, who appeared to have an open net.
The Bruins left the ice after the second period to a spattering of boos. Many of the fans left early after Carolina made it 3-0 in the third, but the ones that were left voiced their displeasure.
Jokinen’s goal made it 3-0 at 7:52 of the third. Eric Staal fell to the ice and, while sitting, backhanded a pass to Jokinen in front.
Staal has 11 goals and 13 assists in 24 career games against the Bruins.
Boston had won eight of the last nine regular season games against Carolina.
NOTES: Boston RW Jordan Caron was out with the flu. … Ruutu played his 400th career game. … It was the first time Boston has allowed three power-play goals in a game this season. … White has three assists in four games since being acquired from Calgary on Nov. 17 … The Bruins honoured RW Mark Recchi for 1500th career point with a video highlight during the first stoppage. He reached the milestone in Wednesday’s win at Florida. … It was the first of a traditional hockey-basketball doubleheader at the TD Garden. The Celtics were scheduled to play the Toronto Raptors at night. … Boston wore its third jerseys for the third time this season.