RALEIGH, N.C. – Boston coach Claude Julien listed David Krejci as his No. 3 skater for the shootout, just like before. This time, it lasted long enough for Krejci’s turn – and he made the most of his chance.
Krejci scored in the third round of the shootout to cap the Bruins’ 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
“I put him as our third shooter last time, and we didn’t need him,” Julien said. “It wasn’t a hunch. … When we watched him during our practice doing that stuff, he was one of our better ones, so I thought it was a good time to let him try it. Last time I did, and he never had a chance to go.”
Phil Kessel scored one round earlier and Tim Thomas stopped 45 shots before turning away the Hurricanes’ two attempts in the shootout for Boston, which blew a late 2-0 lead by allowing two goals in the final 63 seconds.
“For 59 minutes, I thought we played some pretty good hockey,” Julien said. “It’s unfortunate that some mistakes at the end ended up hurting us, as far as going into overtime and into the shootout. We had our best players out there, and they didn’t do the job in that last minute.”
Kessel struck first in the shootout when he slipped the puck between Cam Ward’s legs in Round 2. One round later, Krejci clinched it when his wrist shot got past Ward’s glove.
“I was actually really surprised that (Kessel’s shot) went through me,” Ward said. “I thought I was with him the entire way. I guess my stick wasn’t in the right place (and) it slipped through.”
Marc Savard had a goal and an assist and Zdeno Chara scored for Boston, which scored twice on the power play against the league’s worst penalty kill and denied Carolina the first sweep of the Bruins in franchise history.
Ray Whitney and Erik Cole both scored in the final 63 seconds of regulation to tie it for Carolina. Whitney beat Thomas with a slap shot from the left side with 1:03 left and Cole followed with a wrist shot to tie it with 42.9 seconds remaining.
“I thought we were really attacking and it was just a matter of time,” said centre Eric Staal, who had two assists. “It just ended up being the last minute.”
Ward made 36 saves – and gloved a hard blast from a wide-open Andrew Ference as overtime expired – for the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes.
In its last home game against Florida, Carolina rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit and claimed a come-from-behind victory over the Panthers.
Three nights later, the Hurricanes staged another rally that ultimately fell short in the shootout against a Bruins team that entered having lost five of seven overall and had dropped its past four in the series.
“I feel like we don’t get rewarded tonight for what we did,” Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. “You fire 47 shots on net, you certainly wouldn’t think you’d have to wait until the last minute to try and tie up a hockey game.”
Thomas was particularly dominant against Carolina’s injury-depleted lineup in flirting with the sixth shutout of his career, before Whitney got the Hurricanes’ offence going in the final moments.
“This is a team that shoots from everywhere,” Julien said. “Tim had to make some big saves at crucial times, and that kept us with the lead.”
Savard gave Boston a 2-0 lead late in the second period when, 22 seconds after Scott Walker was called for slashing, he took a pass from Dennis Wideman at the top of the right circle and blasted a slap shot past Ward’s glove.
Earlier, he assisted on Chara’s goal about five minutes in. Savard, who entered with 51 assists and was tied with two other players for the league lead, passed to Marco Sturm. He then found Chara near the crease and the Bruins captain stuffed it past Ward for his 11th goal.
“This team is growing. We’re coming together,” Savard said.
Notes: Wideman skated in his 200th NHL game. … Carolina fell to 4-9-1 when playing on the second of consecutive days.