RALEIGH -- After three losses to start the season, the Carolina Hurricanes finally found an opponent they could beat: the defending Stanley Cup champs.
Despite getting just one point in their first three games, coach Paul Maurice had continued to stress his approval of the Hurricanes' overall game. This time, the 'Canes got the result they wanted.
"You just want it all to come together for 60 minutes," Maurice said. "I thought our defense played a real hard game tonight. I really liked."
Tlusty's goal with 6:18 left in regulation proved to be the winner. He controlled the puck after a turnover in the slot by Jordan Caron and snapped a shot past Tim Thomas to give Carolina a 3-1 lead. Caron was inserted in the lineup to replace David Krejci, who's out with a leg injury.
Boston made it a one-goal game again with 3:25 remaining when Brad Marchand one-timed a superb diagonal pass from Patrice Bergeron behind Ward. But the Hurricanes, now 1-2-1, held on down the stretch to hand the Bruins their third loss in four games.
After a sloppy first period, Carolina opened the scoring 42 seconds into the second period. With Chris Kelly serving a hooking penalty, Pitkanen held the puck in the right circle before firing a wrister that found its way through traffic into the net. Tomas Kaberle earned an assist -- his first with Carolina -- along with Jussi Jokinen.
"I was looking for Jussi back door, but it seems like they took that away," Pitkanen said. 'The only play I had left was to shoot the puck. Eric Staal did a great job going to the net and screening the goalie."
Stewart gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead 3:42 into the second period when he took the puck from behind the net and sent a wrister that deflected off Bruins defensemen Dennis Seidenberg past Tim Thomas. The tally was Stewart's first in a Hurricanes uniform.
"The big goal for me is Stewart's goal, confidence-wise for that line, and for me wanting to put them on the ice in a tight game," Maurice said. "If we can get comfortable having four lines that can play, we're going to be able to play in these types of games."
A frustrated Thomas, making his third start of the season in goal, finished with 31 saves.
"The first (goal) was going wide, and then it hits off a skate -- that happens when you throw it back door from there," Thomas said. "If anything, we should start doing the same thing more often. It's going to go off the other team's skates. I'm not sure what it hit on the second one. It was just a confusing little shot."
The Carolina defense came up big in the win, limiting rebound chances all night. Bryan Allen and Jay Harrison combined for 12 blocked shots, while Tim Gleason delivered three hits in 23:44 of ice time, tops among the Carolina blueliners.
"From the forwards, to the defensemen and the goaltenders it was a pretty solid effort," said Gleason, who earned his third assist of the season on Stewart's goal. "It takes five or six guys at a time to do those things. We came prepared. We knew we needed the points and we got 'em."
The Bruins continued to struggle on the power play -- they went 0-for-5 and are now just 1-for-18 through their first four games.
"You want to be patient with the power play, but you can only be patient so long," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "I'm not going to go chirping about it again this year, but you certainly want to make it better."Kaberle and Boston's Joe Corvo were playing against their former teams for the first time. The Hurricanes dealt Corvo to Boston in July in order to sign Kaberle as a free agent. Both players had an assist.
|PPG - Joni Pitkanen (1) ASST: Tomas Kaberle (1), Jussi Jokinen (2)|
1 - 0 CAR
|Anthony Stewart (1) ASST: Tim Brent (1), Tim Gleason (3)|
2 - 0 CAR
|Tyler Seguin (1) ASST: Nathan Horton (1), Adam McQuaid (2)|
2 - 1 CAR
|Jiri Tlusty (1) ASST: Brandon Sutter (1), Patrick Dwyer (1)|
3 - 1 CAR
|Brad Marchand (2) ASST: Patrice Bergeron (2), Joe Corvo (2)|
3 - 2 CAR
|Anthony Stewart Too many men/ice - bench|
|Jeff Skinner Slashing against Gregory Campbell|
|Chris Kelly Hooking against Jeff Skinner|
|Jiri Tlusty Hi-sticking against Patrice Bergeron|
|Anthony Stewart Too many men/ice - bench|
|Chad LaRose Hooking against Nathan Horton|
|Johnny Boychuk Interference on goalkeeper against Cam Ward|
|Rich Peverley Tripping against Eric Staal|
|Patrice Bergeron Tripping against Eric Staal|