Rapid reaction: Canes 3, Bruins 0

BOSTON -- On Groundhog Day, it was the same old story for the Bruins against conference-worst Carolina.

Cam Ward made 47 saves and the Hurricanes swept the season series with a 3-0 win over the Bruins at TD Garden Thursday night. Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu and Brandon Sutter scored for the Hurricanes, while no Bruin could beat Cam Ward. Tuukka Rask made 28 saves for Boston, which will try to rebound on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Hurricanes, Ward have the Bruins' number: Attention, all Stanley Cup contenders! Have your coaches and players study video of every Bruins-Hurricanes game this season with extreme focus! The Canes entered this game last in the Eastern Conference, but swept the season series with Boston with their 3-0 win. One of the main reasons was the play of Cam Ward, who stifled the Bruins with 47 saves and stemmed any momentum the Bruins had early when he made 22 saves in the first period. But beyond that, it is a "mystery," as one NHL scout told ESPNBoston.com during the game, that a team like Carolina could beat the defending Stanley Cup champions four straight times.

Rask left to do it alone: You can't blame Tuukka Rask for the 3-0 loss Thursday. Rask made 28 saves and did everything he could to keep the Bruins in the game and give them a chance to come back. Unfortunately, the defense in front of him looked out of sync throughout the game, and the forwards couldn't solve Ward.

Plenty of scouts on hand as trade deadline nears: With the trade deadline on Feb. 27 approaching, teams are starting to send their scouts to examine their targets. The scouts were out in full force Thursday at TD Garden as 12 teams were represented. There have been plenty of rumors flying that the Hurricanes will be moving winger Tuomo Ruutu soon, so chances are the scouts were keeping a close eye on him. He didn't disappoint, scoring a goal and being his usual pest self.

Ference returns; Horton still out: After a three-game suspension, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference returned to the lineup. Ference was suspended for hitting Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh from behind in a 3-2 loss to New York on Jan. 21. Ference's return meant Steven Kampfer was back up top in the press box as a healthy scratch. Bruins winger Nathan Horton missed his third straight game after suffering a mild concussion Jan. 22 in the 6-5 shootout win over the Flyers. Zach Hamill was once again in the lineup as a result, skating alongside Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot. Rich Peverley was up on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Here's what the lineup looked like Thursday:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Rich Peverley

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin

Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Zach Hamill

Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk

Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo

Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Tim Thomas