Hurricanes-Bruins Preview

The Associated PressNovember 23, 2013

The Boston Bruins continue to pile up points at home.

That trend figures to continue Saturday when they meet the struggling Carolina Hurricanes, whom they knocked off on the road five days earlier.

Boston is 5-0-2 in the last seven games on its own ice after splitting its first six there. No team has accumulated more than the Bruins' 12 points at home since Oct. 31.

They weren't entirely outplayed in the two shootout losses, finishing with an even or positive shot differential both times. Boston (14-6-2) outshot St. Louis 31-26 in Thursday's 3-2 setback.

Coach Claude Julien didn't sound entirely disappointed in the performance against one of the league's top teams.

"I thought it was a real fun game to watch,'' he said. "Everything, from my end, except for that extra point that I thought we should have had."

Boston continued to get production from a pair of unlikely sources. Carl Soderberg, who had a goal and an assist in Monday's 4-1 win at Carolina, tied the game in the second period. Soderberg had just one goal through his first 13 games.

Gregory Campbell scored Boston's other goal for his fourth point in six games after not recording one in the first 16.

The Bruins' penalty kill remains exceptional, surrendering one goal on 35 chances over the last 11 games. They're among the league leaders, successfully killing off 86.8 percent of penalties.

Carolina (8-10-4) owns one of the NHL's worst power plays, converting 11.9 percent of its chances, including one goal on 25 opportunities over the last eight games.

After opening 3-1-0 on the road, the Hurricanes have lost five straight away from home, falling 4-3 to Detroit on Thursday. They squandered four power plays for the third straight game, including a 5-on-3 advantage that started late in the second period and carried into the third.

"They're a good hockey team and they played well," said Andrej Sekera, who scored twice for his first career multi-goal performance.

Brett Bellemore registered the first goal of his career but Carolina leaned too heavily on Justin Peters, who stopped 43 shots.

It was the Hurricanes' third straight loss following a 4-0-1 stretch in which Peters posted a 1.16 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. Carolina is allowing an average of 32.3 shots over the last 10 games.

The NHL's second-lowest scoring team with an average of 1.9 goals hopes Jeff Skinner's return can provide at least a little help, particularly with right wing Alexander Semin sidelined indefinitely with a concussion.

Skinner, who had nine points in his first 10 games, didn't record a point in 18 minutes Thursday after missing 11 contests with an upper-body injury.

The Hurricanes could also get a spark from fifth overall pick Elias Lindholm after they recalled him from Charlotte of the AHL on Friday. Lindholm had three points in six games for Charlotte after posting just two points and a minus-4 rating in his first 10 NHL games.

Jarome Iginla owns a nine-game point streak against Carolina with six goals and eight assists.

The last five meetings in Boston have been lopsided, with the Hurricanes winning three times by a 10-1 margin and the Bruins taking the other two games by a combined score of 13-2.