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Boyes tricks ’Canes in win

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
By Jeremy Lemoine

Boston, MA - Brad Boyes notched his first career NHL hat trick to power the Boston Bruins to a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at the TD Banknorth Garden on Saturday afternoon.

The Bruins built a two-goal lead on goals by Patrice Bergeron and Boyes' first, before the ‘Canes fought their way back into the game to knot it up at two apiece. Minutes later though, Boyes knocked in two more goals to re-take the lead and the Bruins never looked back.

On the day Bruins netminder Tim Thomas inked a three-year deal, he was once again superb in goal and turned aside 38 of the Hurricanes 40 shots.

"The biggest thing about this win was that it was a huge confidence boost for us," said Boyes, whose family was in attendance to witness his first NHL hat trick. "They came back and tied it up, but we got two big goals. That was big against Carolina, who is one of the top teams in our league."

After a scoreless first period, Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead on a power play goal at 2:26 of the second period. With a face-off in the Carolina zone, Bergeron drew the puck back to Brad Stuart for a shot from the point. Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward made the initial save, but Bergeron was there to shovel home the rebound for his 22nd tally of the season.

The Bruins wasted little time in the third period and built a two-goal lead just one minute into play, after Boyes scored on a one-timer from Marco Sturm to make it 2-0.

Carolina responded two minutes later on a slapper from the point by Rod Brind'Amour that cut the B's lead in half. The ‘Canes then tied it at 4:20 on Eric Staal's 41st goal of the season on a breakaway. Aaron Ward connected on a pass to Staal up the middle, who deked to the backhand and beat Thomas five-hole to make it 2-2.

The Bruins weathered the storm and potted two goals of their own to secure the win. Boyes made it 3-2 when he went in all alone in front and faked out Ward to score his 20th goal of the season at 7:45. Then, less than three minutes later, the B's built a 4-2 lead on the man advantage when Boyes deflected a Brian Leetch slap shot from the blueline for his first career NHL hat trick.

"I guess bounces just go your way sometimes against certain teams and certain goalies," Boyes admitted. "I really don't know the reasons for how things go, but it sure felt good today. It also doesn't hurt playing with (Marco) Sturm and (Patrice) Bergeron when they feed you back door passes for empty net goals all the time."

The win was Boston's second consecutive after beating the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night, their first shootout win of the season. In the last two games, the B's have defeated the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

"We have gotten leads and lost them and we have comeback from deficits too," said Head Coach Mike Sullivan. "A two-goal lead isn't safe in the new NHL anymore. I just think that's the way this game is being played right now."

The Bruins will travel to New York on Monday night to play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden at 7:00 p.m. (OLN).

Thomas agrees to three-year deal

Goaltender Tim Thomas agreed to a three-year deal with the Bruins on Saturday. Thomas, who was due to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, is excited to be returning back to the Bruins next season. The Flint, Michigan native has a record of 10-7-5 since being recalled from Providence on January 10. Entering the Carolina game, Thomas' save percentage was a sturdy .927 with a 2.34 GAA.

"It's been a Cinderella story year I guess you could say," noted Thomas. "Three months ago I was thinking that I was going to be headed back to Finland. It's been a dream come true. It's been pretty emotional with going to Finland earlier in the year, then coming back, then going to Providence, and then finally coming back up here and playing well."
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