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Recap: Canes Fall to Bruins in Shootout

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Analysis from Boston

→ The Carolina Hurricanes were a half-minute from leaving Boston with two points, but the Bruins scored with the extra attacker on the ice and then had the 2-1 edge in the shootout to skate away with the extra point in a 2-1 decision.

"You've got to find a way to get the next one, right?" head coach Bill Peters said. "We've got to find a way to score."

"You always want to the results, obviously that's first and foremost," Ron Hainsey said. "But we did a great job limited chances against, and when they got on the power play we did a good job."

Video: CAR Recap: Ward brilliant in shootout loss to Bruins

→ Hometown boy Noah Hanifin loves facing the team he grew up watching, apparently. With a goal tonight, the 19-year-old defenseman now has four points (2g, 2a), in addition to a shootout-winning goal, in as many games against the Bruins.

Tonight, Hanifin's power-play tally broke the ice in a scoreless tie in the second period. The eventual scoring play began in the Canes' own end of the ice, where Hanifin used a great stick play to break up a rush from Torey Krug and avoided taking a penalty in the process. He then moved the puck up ice to Jeff Skinner and joined what turned into a V-shaped 3-on-0 rush. Skinner, leading the race up the ice, held onto the puck for the shot, and Anton Khudobin made the save. The puck then worked its way up to Hanifin at the point, and he walked with it, wound up, fired and scored his second of the season.

"There's about 30 buildings in the league I like him in. This is one of them," Peters joked.

→ For nearly 60 minutes, it looked as though the Canes might win their second 1-0 contest in about two weeks. Heading into the third period with another one-goal advantage, the Hurricanes needed to find a way to stretch their lead.

"You've got to extend the lead. It's throughout the game, the chances you have early in the game, a couple breakaways in the game," Peters said. "There's opportunities to score. You've got to bear down, make a big-time play and make a difference."

"We had plenty of chances, a few breakaways on our stick to put the thing away and get the second goal, possibly the third one," Hainsey said. "When we have that chance to bury a team, it's something we certainly have to focus on and do when we have the opportunity."

Cam Ward was the Hurricanes' best player in the month of November, posting a 1.74 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in 12 games played (6-4-2).

As the calendar turned to December, Ward picked up right where he left off and was nothing short of brilliant. Ward made 34 saves in regulation and overtime.

Ward was perhaps at his best in the third period when the Bruins were pressing in search of the game-tying goal. Time and time again, No. 30 had the answer in the crease, whether it was turning away Colin Miller's shot from the point at the tail end of a successful penalty kill or denying David Pastrnak on a rush.

"Cam continues to play great, making all the saves that he can see," Hainsey said. "They also upped their game in the third period. We had our way, our kind of game through the first two. Give them credit also. They stepped up and really got their feet moving."

It took the extra attacker in the final 35 seconds of the game for the Bruins to finally break through, as Torey Krug's point shot bounced in off a Canes' defender to force extra hockey.

"We did a heck of a job limiting their chances, which is obviously a big focus for us every game," Hainsey said. "What can you say? 20 seconds left, and our guy playing hard in front kicks it in by accident. Eventually sometimes pucks go in. What are you going to do on that one?"

That sequence, with Boston throwing everything they could at the net looking to find the equalizer, is where the absence of Jordan Staal is sorely felt.

"You miss his faceoff ability, you miss his penalty kill ability, you miss him on the three vs. four in overtime," Peters said. "Then Lindy went out and you miss him. He would play in all those situations that we're referring to coming down the stretch."

Lindholm left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return.

→ The Hurricanes came into tonight's game with the league's top-ranked penalty kill, both overall (89.7 percent) and on the road (91.9 percent). The man disadvantage was again solid tonight, a perfect 4-for-4, which included a 4-on-3 kill in overtime.

→ It's now back to New York, where the Hurricanes will look to avenge Tuesday's loss to the Rangers. That 1 p.m. draw is the first half of a back-to-back set that then sees the Hurricanes return home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday evening.

"A real good opportunity there," Peters said. "A quick flight back into New York. We'll have a practice tomorrow and then a matinee. It will be good."

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