RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—The Carolina Hurricanes are making a habit of coming from behind. For the second straight game, they pulled out a victory after trailing by two goals.
“It’s definitely not the scenario we want every night,” center Eric Staal said. “But we’re going to take the wins as they come.”
With about 90 seconds before the game would’ve headed to a shootout, Aaron Ward carried the puck in for Carolina, but his pass for Cullen was off the mark. Boynton appeared ready to let goaltender Andrew Raycroft corral it, but Cullen leaned over to poke in the winner one-handed before Raycroft could get there.
“I had a lot to prove to myself,” said Cullen, who signed with Carolina a free agent just before the lockout began in 2004. “I felt like I had a lot more to give.”
His goal allowed the Hurricanes to stay unbeaten in four home games and gave the Bruins their fifth loss in six games, including two straight in heartbreaking fashion. Two nights earlier in Toronto, Boston blew a pair of leads and eventually lost in a shootout to the Maple Leafs.
“We have to do a better job controlling momentum,” Boston coach Mike Sullivan said. “We have to understand those critical situations, and we have to take charge in those areas. It will give our team a better chance to win.”
“We’re playing well and just having trouble closing them out,” Leetch said. “We’ve just got to get better as a team at learning how to win.”
The Hurricanes bounced back from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime, with Cole tying it about 7 1/2 minutes into the third period. He stuffed in a rebound when Raycroft kicked away a shot by Staal.
On Monday night, when they handed Ottawa its first loss of the season, the Hurricanes also fell behind by two goals. Perhaps this is the only disturbing trend for a team that has won five of six.
“We got lulled into a game that was not our brand of hockey,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Then we kicked in, and we played Carolina Hurricanes hockey in the third period.”
Cullen gave Carolina an early lead before Boston retook it with a pair of power-play goals, one from Leetch and one from Sergei Samsonov. Leetch got a break when Carolina center Kevyn Adams tried unsuccessfully to intercept a pass at the blue line, and couldn’t get back to stop Leetch’s slap shot from the point.
The puck was deflected in by Boyes to tie it a 1. Samsonov put the Bruins ahead when he put back Gerber’s save of a shot by Dave Scatchard.
The margin stretched to 3-1 when Leetch and Boyes worked a nifty give-and-go to beat defenseman Mike Commodore. Leetch simply poked the puck past Gerber.
“We’re a skating team that needs to utilize that speed, and we didn’t use it to our advantage in the first 40 minutes,” Laviolette said.
The Hurricanes got within a goal when Cory Stillman’s pass let Staal get out ahead of the pack. He patiently waited while Leetch hurriedly slid past him, and even though his shot was stopped by Raycroft, Kaberle was there for the rebound.
“It’s momentum, and they took advantage of the momentum,” Boyes said. “You could feel it, because they kept coming harder and harder.”
Carolina RW Radim Vrbata has two goals and an assists in three games, but was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game. He and C Mike Zigomanis appear to be the odd men out in the numbers crunch; Zigomanis sat for the fourth time in five games. … After opening with eight of their first 11 games on the road, the Bruins return home to play the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.