RALEIGH -- Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward returned to the lineup on Monday at PNC Arena. Ward hadn't played since Oct. 24 against the Minnesota Wild, when he suffered a lower-body injury.
But Ward couldn't do enough to turn back the Boston Bruins, who scored a 4-1 win. Ward stopped 25 shots. Left wing Milan Lucic ended the game with an empty-netter with 10.2 seconds remaining in the third. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk gave the Bruins a two-goal lead in the third.
Neither team scored in the second period. Carolina had a great chance to tie the game when the Bruins fell into penalty trouble. First, Boychuk went off for tripping left wing Jiri Tlusty. Then center Gregory Campbell was called for delay of game when he sent a long-distance clear into the netting above Ward.
But the Hurricanes couldn't do anything on the 63-second two-man advantage.
The Bruins stormed out to a 2-0 first-period lead over the Hurricanes. The Bruins opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 2:31. With Tlusty serving a slashing penalty, the No. 2 unit gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead. As defenseman Dougie Hamilton manned the point, right wing Reilly Smith rotated down low to the back post. After taking a pass from Hamilton, left wing Loui Eriksson dished to center Carl Soderberg at the goal line. Soderberg spotted Smith with stick position on defenseman Brett Bellemore. Smith tapped home a short-range goal for his third of the season.
The Bruins doubled their lead at 10:24. Center Chris Kelly won an offensive-zone faceoff to Smith. Smith went to defenseman Dennis Seidenberg at the left point. Soderberg tipped Seidenberg's shot past Ward.
The Hurricanes scored a late goal to halt the Bruins' momentum. The Hurricanes blew through the neutral zone. Center Eric Staal, after taking a pass from center Jordan Staal, saw left wing Tuomo Ruutu crashing the net. Ruutu jammed the puck past goalie Tuukka Rask with 4.8 seconds remaining in the first to make it a 2-1 game.
NOTES: Hurricanes RW Alexander Semin missed a game for the first time this season, sitting out due to an upper-body injury. He was injured during Carolina's 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. ... Carolina G Cam Ward started for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 24 against the Minnesota Wild. With Ward back in action, Carolina assigned G Mike Murphy to AHL Charlotte. Murphy was G Justin Peters' backup for 11 consecutive games. ... The Bruins were without D Adam McQuaid (strained right hip/groin) for the fourth straight game. McQuaid was injured when turning and chasing a puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 9. He will not play in the Bruins' road game against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. ... The Hurricanes dressed seven defensemen. D Mike Komisarek played on the fourth line for the third consecutive game. ... RW Shawn Thornton was a healthy scratch for the Bruins for the first time this season. LW Jordan Caron, a healthy scratch for the previous eight games, replaced Thornton on the Bruins' fourth line.