BRUINS (26-10-4) at HURRICANES (16-22-2)
TV: NESN, FS-CR
Last 10: Boston 6-3-1; Carolina 1-9-0
Season series: This is the third and final meeting of the regular season. The Boston Bruins took the previous two matchups, including a 6-2 thrashing at TD Garden on Monday. The Carolina Hurricanes have not beaten the Bruins at home since Jan. 24, 2010 and have lost 16 of 18 contests against Boston since the 2007-08 season.
Big story: Trying to earn favorable seeding in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and their third straight Northeast Division crown, Boston is looking to add to the Hurricanes' recent misery. Carolina has gone 0-7-0 and been outscored 32-11 in April.
Bruins: After dominating the Hurricanes on Monday, the Bruins raced out to a 4-0 lead in New Jersey on Wednesday before hanging on to top the Devils 5-4. The win, coupled with the Montreal Canadiens' 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, gave Boston sole possession of first in the Northeast.
Against the New York Islanders on Thursday night, Boston was looking to add to that division lead against a team also fighting for playoff positioning. Despite outshooting the Islanders 16-9 in the opening period, the Bruins failed to beat Evgeni Nabokov and Josh Bailey opened the scoring with just 21 seconds remaining in the first.
Tyler Seguin tied the game early in the second while on the power play. With Brad Boyes off for delay of game, Seguin took a cross-ice pass from Gregory Campbell and roofed a perfect shot over Nabokov's right shoulder. But less than 10 minutes later, Bailey would earn his second of the night, beating Tuukka Rask from the left faceoff circle and giving the Islanders the lead back.
Nabokov finished with 35 saves as the Bruins fell 2-1 and dropped to second in the Northeast following Montreal's 5-1 win in Buffalo.
Hurricanes: On March 13, Carolina was sitting first in the Southeast Division after winning six of seven games. The Hurricanes have struggled since then, going 1-13-1 and dropping to 14th in the East, just two points ahead of the last-place Florida Panthers. A hard-fought 5-3 loss Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins showed some positive signs.
As they did against Pittsburgh, Carolina got off to a strong start Thursday night in Washington, grabbing a first-period lead on Jeff Skinner's power-play marker. But with Jordan Staal off for slashing, Troy Brouwer took a pass in the slot from Mike Ribeiro before beating Justin Peters to tie the game. Just 2:38 later, Mike Green's perfect wrist shot from the right circle gave the Capitals a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Brouwer scored his second of the night into an empty net to seal a 3-1 Carolina loss in which they outshot the Capitals 44-31.
"We're in a process here with young guys and a nucleus that we want to get better, and I think we're in the right direction," coach Kirk Muller said. "We definitely deserve a different fate over the past 15 games. It's not there, but this is a learning thing for them and they just have to stay the course."
Who's hot: Seguin has scored in consecutive games for the Bruins while Gregory Campbell has five points over his current three-game point streak. Jaromir Jagr has six points in five games since being acquired from the Dallas Stars at the trade deadline. … Carolina's Jordan Staal has two points in his past three games while Eric Staal has three points in his last four games.
Injury report: Bruins forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are both out with concussions, although Bergeron has resumed skating with the team. … Forwards Patrick Dwyer and Tim Brent are both questionable for Carolina with lower-body injuries. Cam Ward (knee), Drayson Bowman (upper body) and Joni Pitkanen (foot) are out and not expected back this season.