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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Anton Khudobin Wins 1st Start Of Season, Bruins Pick Up 1st Road Win 5-3 At Carolina

The B's (4-0-1) continued their great start to the 2013 season with a thrilling 5-3 victory tonight at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. Boston blew leads of 2-0 and 3-1 but Carolina (2-3-0) couldn't rally once the Bruins clinched it with David Krejci's game-winner at 18:10 of the third period followed by Tyler Seguin's empty-netter. Anton Khudobin (29 saves) acquitted himself well in his first start of the season, he did enough to allow Boston to pick up its first road win of the season.

Boston's much-maligned power play scored twice, boosting its season total to three although one was Seguin's so that doesn't really count. Sorry Claude! The Bruins' penalty kill stayed perfect (23 for 23, every other team in the NHL has allowed a power play goal) and they added a bonus: a short-handed goal. Brad Marchand got it started (3rd of the season) with the short-handed tally (Boston's first of the season) just 3:16 into the contest. He was wide open and Zdeno Chara (1 goal, 2 assists) found him with a cross-ice feed that he slammed home past Cam Ward (33 saves). Patrice Bergeron had the second assist. Chara notched a power-play goal (his 2nd goal of the season) less than three minutes later thanks to a screen from Milan Lucic. Krejci and Seguin had the assists on Chara's second goal in as many games.

Carolina looked like they might be run out of their own building but they answered with Jamie McBain's (1st of the season) tip-in at 14:50 of the first period from Eric Staal and Alexander Semin. Tim Gleason took one for the team by fighting Lucic after Boston's second goal and before Carolina's first. That seemed to give the Hurricanes some life in their skates.

Nathan Horton (2nd of the season) made it 3-1 with one of the best goals of his Black and Gold career. He gained the puck at center ice, skated around multiple Hurricanes then dangled around the last one before scoring at 15:52 from Chara and Johnny Boychuk. Again Carolina responded, this time they knotted it at three thanks to a pair of goals within 50 seconds of each other. Jeff Skinner (5th of the season) used his own sick move to cut it to 3-2 at 17:55 from Jordan Staal then Chris Kelly's bad giveaway in his own end led to a one-timer from Semin to Eric Staal (4th of the season) at 18:45.

To Boston's credit, they picked it up immensely in the third period. They clearly didn't want to go to overtime for the third straight game, especially with another game tomorrow night not to mention three games in four days and four games in six days this week. Krejci's goal came after a scramble with Dougie Hamilton laying it off to him when most guys, particularly rookies, would have shot it into traffic. Horton had the second assist, capping his solid night.

Tuukka Rask (3-0-1) should be in net tomorrow as the defending Eastern Conference champs, the Devils (3-0-1) come to TD Garden (7 p.m., NESN). Also, expect Adam McQuaid back in the lineup (and Aaron Johnson out) after Quaider missed tonight for "personal reasons." Tomorrow should be a nice early test for the B's, both in terms of caliber of opponent and what they can do in their first back-to-back.

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