Tim Thomas lost his race with Cam Ward during the Honda SuperSkills competition during All-Star Weekend. Three days later, he got even when it counted.
Thomas made 24 saves and Nathan Horton and Patrice Bergeron scored against Ward early in the third period to give the Bruins a 3-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
"We found a way to win against a hungry team that's battling to get into a playoff spot," Thomas said. "They played good, and we played pretty good defensively but weren't getting too much started. We went into the third and found a way to win."
The Hurricanes got goals by Jamie McBain and Joe Corvo and 31 saves by Ward, but they missed a chance to pass Atlanta for eighth place in the East by losing to the Bruins for the third time in 15 days.
“Their goalie made some big saves,” Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu said. “I think we played pretty well, but it’s tough to lose after a game like that.”
Thomas improved to 25-5-6, tying him for the League lead in wins with Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller. Thomas is tops in the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage; his seven shutouts are tied with the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist for the League lead..
"You can't figure out how he's getting it done, but he's been getting it done all year long," Boston coach Paul Maurice said. "The save he made on (Brandon) Sutter, when he makes the spin-o-rama in the air -- you can't describe it, but you can certainly appreciate how good he's been."
The Bruins took the lead at even strength at 4:14 of the second, as Daniek Paille scored his first goal of the season on a deflection of Zdeno Chara’s blast from the left point. Carolina tied it at 11:25, when Sergei Samsonov set up McBain for an easy tip-in on the stick-side doorstep for his fourth goal of the season.
Boston went ahead to stay at 3:54 of the third when Horton flicked the puck across the crease and Ward's left shoulder. Bergeron beat a screened Ward at 5:06, taking a pass from Mark Recchi and connecting from the high slot.
"It's nice to win games," said Chara, who had two assists. "Give Carolina credit. They play a high-tempo, speedy skill game and they put a lot of pressure on you. We found a way to put a lot of shots on Ward, who was basically playing unbelievable."
Corvo cut the margin back to a goal at 8:05 when he beat Thomas to the glove side on a power-play slapper from the high slot.
Hurricanes forward Jussi Jokinen left the game with a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return.
“He felt he could have come back maybe in the third, but I think that was wishful thinking,” Maurice said.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report