Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Tuukka Rask posted 23 saves to help the Boston Bruins take a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.
Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and an assist in the first period, while Johnny Boychuk and Milan Lucic scored a goal in the third for the Bruins, who have won five of their last six.
"I really liked our energy in the third period," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "We hadn't done that in a long time and I really liked the effort they showed out there."
Tuomo Ruutu scored the lone goal of the game for the Hurricanes, who have dropped their past two. Cam Ward gave up three goals on 29 shots in his return from a lower-body injury.
"I know I have to get my game back to where it needs to be," said Ward, who had been out since Oct. 24 with a lower-body injury. "I rather look at the positives tonight than the negatives. I hate losing, but I felt a lot better in the second and third period."
Boston opened the scoring just 2:31 in after a penalty to Jiri Tlusty gave the Bruins an early power play. Soderberg had the puck at the low right side and threw a pass out front, where Smith was able to redirect it in with a defender on his back.
It was a 2-0 game less than eight minutes later, as a left circle faceoff win saw Dennis Seidenberg throw a shot on net from the point that Soderberg deflected past Ward for his second of the year.
Carolina got a late first-period goal to make it a 2-1 game. Eric Staal took a pass at the left circle and sent it over to the slot for Ruutu, who didn't get a solid shot off, but it was enough to trickle past Rask with just 4.8 seconds left.
Ward kept it a one-goal game in the second period by turning aside 11 shots, while Rask preserved the lead thanks to making six saves.
The Bruins got some insurance with 9:31 to play, as a collision in front of the net saw Ward knocked out of position and Boychuk blast a shot in from the right boards.
Lucic's empty-net goal in the final seconds provided the final margin.
Boston plays in New York against the Rangers on Tuesday ... Carolina hits the road for games in Detroit on Thursday and Boston on Saturday ... Boston took two of three from Carolina last season after losing all four games to the Hurricanes the season prior ... Boston was 1-for-2 on the power play, while Carolina went 0-for-4.