- James Murphy, Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- The Bruins bounced back from that tough 3-2 loss to the Penguins on Saturday in a big way Monday afternoon as captain Zdeno Chara notched a hat trick in a 7-0 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes. Tim Thomas got his seventh shutout of the season with 31 saves and the Bruins defense was a major factor on offense as it accounted for seven points.
The Hurricanes will try to avenge the embarrassing loss when they host the Bruins on Tuesday night.
Chara makes up for penalty with hat trick -- After taking a slashing call that nullified a Milan Lucic goal at 9:15 of the first period, Zdeno Chara immediately made up for it by coming out of the box and scoring 15 seconds after his penalty ended to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead at 11:28 of the opening frame. Chara wasn’t done, though, as he padded the lead to 3-0 with a power-play goal with 4:02 left in the first period and then scored another power-play goal at 14:04 to complete his first career hat trick. Chara now has eight points in his last six games.
Thomas gets another shutout -- And the beat goes on for Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. Thomas made 31 saves to get his second shutout within the last week and seventh of the season. Thomas didn’t really face too many quality scoring chances but when called upon he got the job done. He is clearly the leading Vezina Trophy candidate as the all-star game approaches.
Bruins lighting lamp and defense chipping in -- The Bruins have been generating plenty of offense lately with 20 goals in their last four games. One of the major factors in this recent offensive outburst has been that the defense is chipping in. On Monday, the blue line accounted for seven points. Zdeno Chara had a hat-trick, Adam McQuaid had two assists, Dennis Seidenberg had an assist and Steven Kampfer also had a helper.
Stuart and Lucic return -- The Bruins got a boost to the lineup Monday with defenseman Mark Stuart returning from a broken finger and Milan Lucic coming back from an undisclosed injury. For Stuart, it was his first game since Dec. 7 and he didn’t miss a beat, as he scored his first goal of the season to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 7:56 of the first period. Lucic almost had a goal in his first game back after a three-game absence when he beat Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward at 9:15, but the goal was waved off due to a Zdeno Chara penalty. Lucic did register on the score-sheet, though, as he got a helper on Zdeno Chara’s third goal of the game.
Bergeron keeps rolling -- If there are any injuries to the already-elected all-stars, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron should get the nod as a replacement. Bergeron had two points with a goal and an assist Monday and now has 10 points in his last seven games and 21 points in his last 16 games. Bergeron leads the team with 36 points with 15 goals and 21 assists.
Ryder riding high -- Michael Ryder has the hot stick right now. On Monday, the Bruins winger stretched his goal-scoring streak to three games as he scored his 14th of the season 2:24 into the final frame. Ryder is not only scoring right now but he is forechecking and skating, and that’s why he is finding the twine.
McQuaid making case to stay in lineup -- With Mark Stuart returning to the lineup Monday and Andrew Ference expected to come back either Tuesday in Carolina or Thursday back home against Buffalo, there will be an odd-man out on the blue line soon. Known for his rugged play, Adam McQuaid is showing he can do more than just knock bodies around and drop the gloves as he did with Troy Brodie at 14:40 of the third period. McQuaid had two helpers Monday and now has three assists in his last three games. Claude Julien will have a difficult but welcome decision to make when Ference returns.
Ward pulled as shutout streak against Bruins ends -- The last time Cam Ward came to town, he stoned the Bruins with 37 saves in a 3-0 shutout. Ward actually carried a shutout streak into Monday’s game but that was quickly snapped at 106:00 when Mark Stuart scored 7:56 into the game. Ward then let a Milan Lucic shot by him at 9:15 that was waved off and then a Zdeno Chara goal at 11:28. That was enough for Canes coach Paul Maurice to determine it just wasn’t Ward’s day as he was pulled in favor of Justin Peters.
Recchi reaches another milestone -- It seems like every game reporters need to check the notes and stats sheet to see what milestone Mark Recchi is reaching. On Monday, the "Recching Ball" reached another one as he surpassed Larry Murphy for seventh all-time in games played with 1,616 games played.