Published November 20, 2014
Tim Thomas knew the Boston Bruins wouldn't have it nearly as easy this time against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Not until he peeked at the shot counter did he realize just how hard he was working to beat them again.
Thomas made a season-high 43 saves to lead the Bruins past Carolina 3-2 Tuesday night.
"When they started to add up in the second, I was aware, because physically, I could feel it," said Thomas, who won his fourth straight start and a matchup of All-Star goalies. "I was like, 'Whoa, this is a lot of shots.'"
Milan Lucic scored the go-ahead goal with 8:11 left. Brad Marchand scored earlier in the third period, Johnny Boychuk added his first goal of the season and Mark Recchi had two assists.
They helped the Northeast Division-leading Bruins win for the fifth time in six games and sweep a home-and-home against Carolina after routing the Hurricanes 7-0 a day earlier.
Jussi Jokinen and Chad LaRose scored, while Cam Ward made 25 saves for the Hurricanes, who have lost three of four since they earned points in eight straight games.
"I still like this team," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "I think they're learning their lessons as they go."
Lucic's winner came with 53 seconds left on an elbowing minor to the 5-foot-10 LaRose, who was called for elbowing the league's tallest player, 6-9 Zdeno Chara. On the decisive play, Recchi skated behind the end line and found an uncovered Lucic in front of the goal.
Recchi "did a great job. He came down wide with a lot of speed, and he was able to sell like he was going around the net," Lucic said. "It was kind of like the parting of the sea for me, right there in front of the net."
For the Bruins, goals were much tougher to come by than they were a day earlier during the rout in Boston in which Zdeno Chara scored three times and Thomas had yet another shutout.
"I knew they would have a pushback," Thomas said. "I thought we would handle it better than we did. But in the long run, we handled it well, because we found a way to win. But we could have made it a little easier on ourselves."
Generating shots wasn't a problem for much of the night for the Hurricanes, who matched a season high with 19 in the first period and then did it again in the second. By the midpoint of the second period, Carolina's shot total reached well into the 30s — and, yes, the Bruins' goalie noticed.
"That's when I was like, we need to start taking it to the other end if we're going to win this game," Thomas said. "We can't keep up this type of pace in our zone."
And yet he refused to allow the Hurricanes to put the puck past him with any frequency.
"We didn't get the results that we wanted, but our compete level was there and we were all over them in the second period and couldn't find a way to get the puck to the back of the net," captain Eric Staal said.
Jokinen tied it at 1 with about 3½ minutes left in the first, powering it in from close range on the power play, and LaRose made it 2-2 with 10:41 left — 2½ minutes before Lucic's goal.
The Bruins, who scored three first-period goals in their blowout win a day earlier, appeared headed for a similar start when they scored just over 2 minutes in.
After Jokinen was sent off for tripping 17 seconds in, Boychuk ripped a slap shot from the blue line that got past Ward. But that was it for Boston until Marchand backhanded in a rebound to put the Bruins up 2-1 with 16:05 left.
"There's going to be at least two really, really good goaltenders at the All-Star game," Maurice said.
Notes: Thomas is 7-0-3 in his last 10 starts. ... The Bruins improved to 18-1-3 when scoring first. ... Jokinen has five goals in five games since missing six with a lower body injury.