BOSTON – Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien decided it was time to load up with offence.
David Krejci scored 1:28 into overtime to lift the surging Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
Coming off a tough shootout loss to St. Louis on Thursday, Julien chose to play his top line together.
Skating with his usual linemates and only one defenceman, Krejci scored into an empty net after Jarome Iginla broke in alone, forcing goaltender Cam Ward to come way out to try and cut down an angle. Iginla then dropped a pass to Krejci, who fired a wrister over a sprawling Ward for the winner.
“We haven’t had much luck lately in shootouts,” Julien said. “I just thought it was important to get a line out there and give us a better chance. It paid off.”
Reilly Smith and Zdeno Chara also scored for Eastern Conference-leading Boston, which beat the Hurricanes for the second time this week and improved to 7-1-2 in its last 10 games.
Iginla knew Krejci had an opening and kept waiting for him to shoot.
“I was thinking, ‘Put it in. Put it in,'” he said. “He showed great patience.”
Krejci credited Iginla for setting him up so well.
“I kind of had an easy job to do,” he said. “I just had to put it into a top open net.”
Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson, playing just his fourth game of the season, made 22 saves in place of resting Tuukka Rask.
Patrick Dwyer scored a short-handed goal and Andrej Sekera had one on the power play for the Hurricanes, who lost their fourth straight. Ward stopped 35 shots.
The Bruins had a 38-24 shot advantage. They won 4-1 in Carolina on Monday night.
The Hurricanes felt like they were a bit lucky to get the game to OT after being outplayed for two periods.
“We were happy with the way we played in the third, but it’s a 60 minute game,” Dwyer said. “When you get behind on a team like that, it’s a tough team to get your way back into the game against. We thought we were there and they won it in overtime.”
Ward didn’t feel like Carolina played well enough to earn a victory.
“You’ve got to be at your best when you’re playing a team like that.” he said.
With the Hurricanes trailing 2-1 and skating short-handed after a bench minor for too many men on the ice, Dwyer collected a loose puck near centre ice, broke in alone and slipped a backhander by Johnson’s blocker, tying it with 8:50 to play.
Boston, which dominated play for lengthy stretches in the second period, moved ahead 2-1 on Smith’s goal at 13:31. Smith collected the rebound in front after Carolina defenceman Tim Gleason blocked Carl Soderberg’s shot, he shifted to his backhand and slipped a shot into the net past Ward’s glove.
The Hurricanes were held without a shot on goal for nearly the opening 12 minutes of the second. Eric Staal finally ended the drought when he fired a shot from the left circle that Johnson stopped with a right-pad save.
The Bruins outshot Carolina 12-4 in the second and owned a 26-10 edge through two periods.
Chara’s power-play goal had tied the game 1-1 late in the opening period.
With the Hurricanes’ Manny Malhotra in the box with a double minor for high sticking, Chara collected the rebound of Milan Lucic’s shot in front and slipped a shot into a wide-open right side of the net.
Carolina grabbed a 1-0 lead on Sekera’s power-play goal just under 6 minutes into the game. Only a few minutes after Sekera had to be helped off favouring his right leg after blocking a shot, the defenceman sent a shot from the middle of the blue line. Johnson was screened and the puck slipped past him inside the left post.
“I just didn’t see it,” Johnson said. “I just didn’t move my head quick enough.”
NOTES: Carolina winger Jeff Skinner played his second straight game after missing his previous 11 with an upper body injury. It was the 200th game of his career. … Hurricanes’ D Jay Harrison missed his third straight with an illness. .. It was the second of three meetings between the teams. … The Bruins host Pittsburghin its next game on Monday, the Penguins’ first visit to Boston since being swept in last spring’s Eastern Conference finals. … Carolina is at home against Ottawa Sunday. … Rask, who entered the day leading the NHL in save percentage (.945), had played the previous four games.