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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bruins Remember Who They Are, Win 4-1 at Carolina

It was very hard to focus on, with Monday Night Football looming nearby, but the Bruins turned in a tidy 4-1 road win tonight at PNC Arena vs. the Hurricanes. Boston (13-6-1) never trailed as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead and won for the fifth time in their last six games. Carolina (8-9-4) got franchise goaltender Cam Ward (26 saves) back from a lower body injury for the first time in almost a month but he couldn't jumpstart a team that screams average.

The third line for the Bruins produced the first two goals as Reilly Smith scored a power play goal at 2:31 of the first period and Carl Soderberg added to the lead later in the frame. Smith's (his 3rd of the season) was the result of a pretty passing sequence between Soderberg and Loui Eriksson that ended with Soderberg feeding it in front of Ward for Smith to redirect.

Soderberg is starting to assertive himself in the NHL, showing all the dynamic skills that made him a coveted free agent coming out of Sweden. At 10:24, he tipped in Dennis Seidenberg's shot from the point. Smith had the second assist and Chris Kelly started the play by winning a faceoff in Carolina's zone and pulling it back to the point. Soderberg's second goal of the season served as the second time in his brief NHL career that he's recorded two points in the same contest.

Boston allowed a last-minute goal in the first period on Friday in Ottawa that ultimately was a major turning point. You couldn't help but think of that when Tuomo Ruutu scored a fluky goal with five seconds left in the first period. It wasn't a good shot but it fooled Tuukka Rask (23 saves) enough to get in the net.

The B's had a fortunate play factor into the most important goal. Ward got moved out of position, leaving a gaping hole in the crease. Sure enough, the loose puck found Johnny Boychuk for his first goal of the season at 10:29 of the third period. Milan Lucic notched an empty-netter for the final margin and his team-leading ninth goal of the season.

Boston is back on the ice tomorrow (7:30, NBCSN) as they visit the Rangers (10-10-0, 3rd in Metropolitan Division). It will be the first time the Original 6 rivals have met since last postseason when the B's beat the Rangers in five games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Pittsburgh.

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