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Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2 @NHLdotcom

BOSTON (AP) - Boston Bruins rookie Brad Boyes has had hat tricks before, but nothing quite like this.

Boyes scored three goals for the first time in his short NHL career, leading the Boston Bruins past the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 Saturday for their second consecutive win.

Boyes, who ranks third among rookies in points scored with 54, scored all three of his goals during a decisive 9:20 stretch early in the third period, helping the Bruins avoid a season sweep by Carolina. He has recorded a point in five consecutive games.

"I don't know what it was, maybe the net looked a little bit bigger for me," said Boyes, who had one hat trick with the Bruins' AHL affiliate in Providence, R.I., last year. "For whatever reason, sometimes you get one and you kind of keep rolling. I can't remember anything like this."

Patrice Bergeron added a goal and an assist, Marco Sturm had two assists and Tim Thomas saved 38 shots for Boston. Thomas, who earlier Saturday signed a three-year contract extension with the Bruins, improved to 10-7-5 since being called up from Providence on Jan. 10.

The Bruins, who beat Ottawa 3-2 in a shootout Thursday, remain last in the Northeast Division despite defeating the Eastern Conference's top two teams in the past three days. Carolina entered Saturday with a conference- and NHL-best 96 points, while Ottawa was second in the Eastern Conference with 94 points.

Carolina couldn't convert on a 5-of-3 advantage late in the second period and finished 0-for-9 on the power play. Boston was 2-of-6 on the power play.

"We had probably 25 quality chances to score and only put it in two times," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "That really hasn't been an issue this season, but today it was probably the difference."

After Boston squandered a 2-0 lead by allowing two goals in less than 2 minutes early in the third period, Boyes retrieved a Sturm pass and snuck the puck to the right of Carolina goalie Cam Ward 7:45 into the period to put the Bruins up 3-2.

Boyes then deflected a Brian Leetch shot midway through the third period for his third goal of the game and 21st of the year, making the score 4-2.

"Momentum swings were huge in this game," said Carolina right wing Justin Williams, who had an assist. "Once we tied it 2-2, we were feeling pretty good and started to keep the momentum a little bit. But we just gave up too many chances."

Eric Staal and Rod Brind'Amour scored for Carolina, which fell to 6-3-1 in March.

Bergeron gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 2:26 into the second period when he poked in a rebound of a Brad Stuart shot. Boyes extended the Bruins' lead to 2-0 1:04 into the third period.

"I was happy for him," Bruins goalie Mike Sullivan said of Boyes. "They were key goals at key times. I think it's just indicative of the type of offensive instincts he has."

Notes: The Bruins are 11-3-2 against Southeast Division opponents. ... Left wing Brad Isbister returned to the Boston lineup after missing 17 games with an ankle injury. ... Staal has earned points in five straight games. ... Carolina fell to 9-3-0 in its last 12 games in Boston. ... Carolina beat Boston 4-3 three times earlier this season. ... Both teams failed to score on a 5-on-3 power play.

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