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Jokinen stars as Hurricanes escape basement

by Brian Hunter
The Carolina Hurricanes can no longer be considered the worst team in the NHL. In fact, they look a whole lot better than the Boston Bruins right now.

Cam Ward set the franchise's all-time record for wins by a goaltender and Jussi Jokinen contributed a goal and two assists Sunday as the Hurricanes claimed a 5-1 win over the Bruins at the RBC Center.

Ray Whitney, Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter and Chad LaRose also scored for Carolina, which escaped the League basement and moved one point ahead of idle Edmonton in the overall standings.

Ward stopped 27 shots and, with his 131st win, passed Arturs Irbe as the winningest goaltender in Hartford-Carolina history.

"You can't do it by yourself -- every one of those wins, the team had a big part of it," said the 25-year-old Ward, 11-19-5 this season and 131-98-23 overall. "There's no point stopping now, and I hope to keep adding on to that list for many, many years."

David Krejci had the lone goal for Boston, which has lost five straight and eight of its last nine. The Bruins, who could have claimed sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a victory, instead remained in ninth, one point out of a playoff berth.

Goalie Tim Thomas was chased midway through the second after Sutter scored. He gave up four goals on 15 shots before Tuukka Rask took over between the pipes.

"I thought we started the game out really well and we had them hemmed in their own end for a good portion of that time," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Then all of a sudden they come in our end and we turn the puck over, and where does it end up, in our net. And that’s been kind of the story of our slump here."

Jokinen drew the lone assist on Whitney's first-period goal, a backhander at 7:50 that opened the scoring for Carolina.

"Every mistake we make is ending up in our net and we have to be better," Julien said.

Jokinen then made the play of the game to spark a three-goal second. With the Hurricanes on a power play, he faked out Thomas and the Bruins defense by dishing a behind-the-back pass to Staal, who had a wide-open net to score into at the 4:26 mark. It was the new captain's 15th of the season and fifth in three games.

Not only were the 'Canes up 2-0, they drew a hooking call on Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick on the play. While they didn't convert the ensuing power play, Jokinen scored just three seconds after it expired, picking up his 15th of the season.

"Our power play was pretty good in the second, when it had to be," Whitney said. "Whenever you get up three or four goals, other teams tend to struggle -- and we've been on that side of that -- and the team that's up, things usually go their way in terms of confidence."

Sutter then scored off a Whitney feed at 11:02 to end the night for Thomas.

"If we can get some wins here and give ourselves a chance to maybe get a little closer to some teams, we could have a good stretch," Sutter said.

Rask, who came on in relief, was victimized just 15 seconds into the third as LaRose snapped a shot past him following a pass by Sutter.

Krejci scored on the power play at 8:56 to end Ward’s shutout bid. The goalie stopped Blake Wheeler's attempt, but the puck squirted free into the crease and Krejci tapped it into an open net.

Boston has the next three days off before traveling to face Northeast Division-leading Buffalo on Friday.

"You can't build a house from the roof,"captain Zdeno Chara said. "We have to start from ground zero."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.

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