Byron Bitz came up big for the Bruins in Game 6. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
The Bruins scored two quick first-period goals, added two more in the second, then hung on during a breathless and seemingly endless third period to claim a 4-2 win and force Game 7.
“Getting to Game 7 is one thing,” Claude Julien said. “Now we need to decide what we’re going to do with it. You’re going to see two teams with a lot of desperation in the next game. It should make for a real interesting game.”
Tim Thomas made 31 saves. One of his best came in the third period when he didn’t bite on a Scott Walker faked wraparound. Thomas held his ground and stopped Matt Cullen’s doorstep bid.
“I was fortunate to have stayed with it,” Thomas said. “Walker made a pretty good move. I thought he was going to go all the way around the net. It just happened, out of my far peripheral vision, I saw that he was passing it. I was able to hold my leg there.”
* Marc Savard, who scored the game-winning goal, injured his right knee during a third-period power play. Savard took a knee-on-knee hit from Chad LaRose. Savard left for the room at 6:12 of the third and didn’t come out again, but Julien said he will be available for Game 7.
* Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi, and Chuck Kobasew had two points apiece. Bergeron entered the game with only one point in the series.
* Game 7 will take place at 8 p.m. at TD Banknorth Garden.
STICK SALUTE: Byron Bitz. Played without fear for the second straight game. Set a screen on Cam Ward prior to Steve Montador’s goal.
SIN BIN: Jussi Jokinen. The center, who has three game-winning goals in the playoffs, had only one shot and was on the ice for three Boston goals.
All done in Raleigh. Bruins, 4-2.
11:08 (3). Without Marc Savard, the Bruins are down to four PK forwards.
10:27 (3). Still no sign of Marc Savard.
7:20 (3). Bruins, 4-2. Sergei Samsonov with the goal after Tim Thomas can’t handle a Tim Gleason shot.
6:12 (3). Marc Savard has gone to the room. Savard skated one shift after taking a Chad LaRose hit to his right knee.
5:00 (3). Marc Savard is back on the ice. Looks OK.
1:03 (3). Chad LaRose with a knee-on-knee hit on Marc Savard. Savard is skating to the bench with help from Patrice Bergeron and trainer Don DelNegro.
0:00 (3). Looks like the RBC folks have given up on tonight. The scoreboard message to start the third: “We have won one Game 7 and we will win another!”
20:00 (2). After 40 minutes, Bruins with a 4-1 lead.
* Ever since Marc Savard’s goal, the game has shifted to Boston’s liking — slow, grinding, rough. The Hurricanes didn’t show much resistance in the second half of the second period.
* Beastly run through the Carolina defense by Milan Lucic. He picked his way through three Carolina sticks before dishing to Savard.
* The Bruins got a break when Matt Cullen ran out of room on the PK and didn’t have much space to shoot on Tim Thomas. The puck hopped over Dennis Wideman’s stick, allowing Cullen to streak away, but Thomas cut down the angle.
19:27 (2). Byron Bitz draws a holding penalty on Anton Babchuk behind the Carolina net. Not the smartest penalty by Babchuk.
18:03 (2). Bruins, 4-1. Chuck Kobasew drives to the net and taps in a Patrice Bergeron cross-ice feed.
14:11 (2). First PP for the Bruins. Patrick Eaves off for upending P.J. Axelsson.
13:29 (2). The pace has slowed to the Bruins’ style.
8:53 (2). Bruins, 3-1. Milan Lucic drives to the net, sucks in the Carolina defenders, and hits Marc Savard with a cross-crease pass. Goal for Savard. Excellent board work by Dennis Wideman to keep the cycle going.
7:23 (2). Carolina is keeping the gas to the pedal. Not much in terms of puck possession for the Bruins.
2:49 (2). Bruins, 2-1. Matt Cullen cuts across the crease and lifts a backhander over Tim Thomas.
0:30 (2). Kick save by Tim Thomas on Eric Staal.
20:00 (1). After 20 minutes, Bruins with a 2-0 lead. Carolina with the lead in shots, 11-9.
* Byron Bitz is proving he’s more than a fourth-line player. Bitz turned in a heck of a first period — high-energy skating, smart chips, rugged play in front of the net. Bitz should be fun to watch in the next few years.
* Carolina’s best chance took place when Tim Thomas couldn’t handle a close-range Sergei Samsonov shot. Jussi Jokinen found the rebound but went wide of the net.
* Best save of the game so far: Zdeno Chara’s drop-and-block on Erik Cole.
19:29 (1). Carolina’s relentless forecheck leads to the game’s first power play. Zdeno Chara called for holding Eric Staal. The Bruins will be lucky to leave the first period up by two goals.
14:44 (1). The Hurricanes could get back in this game soon. The pace is to Carolina’s liking. Big block by Zdeno Chara on Erik Cole, and a clutch stop by Tim Thomas on Eric Staal.
10:46 (1). Heavy pressure from the Hurricanes. Lots of room for the Bruins to counterattack because of Carolina’s aggressive play.
5:04 (1). Bruins, 2-0. Steve Montador with the slapper from the left point. Strong cycling by the David Krejci line to wear down the Hurricanes. Good screen by Byron Bitz.
2:01 (1). Bruins, 1-0. Beautiful chip by Chuck Kobasew off the wall to Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron fights off Erik Cole’s backcheck and sends a cross-ice pass to Mark Recchi for the easy goal.
0:00 (1). Scratches confirmed: Blake Wheeler for Boston, Tim Conboy for Carolina.