The Bruins had their chances. Plenty of them, in fact, in the first period.
But Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward, who missed his previous start Wednesday night against the Capitals to be with his wife, Cody, for the birth of their first child, son Nolan (7 pounds, 1 ounce, 20 inches), shut out the Bruins, 3-0, turning away all 37 shots he faced, including at least five Grade A chances in the first period.
“He deserves a lot of credit; he was really good tonight for them,” Bruins coach Claude Julien, after his team was undone by three power-play goals in this Black Friday matinee before 17,565 at TD Garden.
“Cam gave us a chance early because we were a little slow out of the gate,” said Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. “But we got better in the second and played closer to our game, I thought, for long stretches. But it’s still important to get a road win against a good hockey team. It was a prototypical road win: our goaltender was really, really good and our power-play and penalty kill were really, really good and that’s what we needed to have happen.”
The Bruins, however, seemed to become unraveled when they allowed the Hurricanes to take a 1-0 lead on Jeff Skinner’s power-play tally with 16 seconds remaining in the first. Skinner’s seventh goal of the season beat Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (18 saves).
“The minute we cracked,” Julien noted, “it was in the back of our net.”
The Bruins continued to be betrayed by their penalty kill, as the Hurricanes struck for power-play goals by Tuomo Ruutu (at 11:09 of the second period) and by Josi Jokinen (at 7:52 of the third) to put the game out of reach.
“We had lots of chances,” said Julien, whose team was 0-for-3 on the penalty kill and 0-for-4 on power plays. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t score and, again, you don’t play and get as many shots, as many chances that you have without scoring goals with a goaltender being really good at the other end, and he deserves a lot of credit. He was good.
“But at the same time you have to take responsibility. You’ve got to find ways to score goals, [so] give him credit.”
Said Ward, “They have a good team over there. They are pretty sound throughout their lineup. We knew it was going to be a tough one. These afternoon games can be a little bit tricky. The guys did a good job of preparing and treating it just like a night game. To walk out of here with two points is a huge boost for our hockey team.”
Of course, Ward was playing with a little extra motivation.
“I am very fortunate to have a lovely wife and a healthy boy,” Ward said. “He is my first [child]. He is back home. We drove him home yesterday. This was probably his first time watching Dad on TV. It was most certainly on my mind.”