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Bruins deal Hurricanes fifth straight defeat

3/5/2003

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Boston Bruins broke out of their slump
against a likely victim.

Brian Rolston had a goal and two assists as the Bruins snapped a
season-worst nine-game winless streak with a 4-2 victory over the
Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

Boston, 0-5-3-1 since its last win on Feb. 14, is clinging to
the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and
handed the slumping Hurricanes their fifth straight loss to move
four points ahead of the New York Rangers.

The Bruins, with 16 games left, also have three games in hand on
the Rangers.

"This is a relief, but we've got to build on this, to get over
that hump that we couldn't get over even when we were playing good
hockey games,'' Rolston said. "To get this win means a lot for our
confidence.''

Carolina, the defending East champs, fell to 3-22-4-3 since Dec.
22.

"We're not going to stop playing in this dressing room and
supporting one another and protecting one another,'' Carolina
defenseman Bret Hedican said. "I know we haven't had the results
like we wanted this year, but we can't quit on each other in
here.''

Ron Francis scored 15 seconds into the third period to make it a
one-goal game. The goal gave Francis his 20th 20-goal season. Only
Gordie Howe has more with 22.

"To be mentioned in the same sentence with Gordie is a very
special honor,'' Francis said.

However, Boston was able to kill off two penalties after
Francis' goal and Rob Zamuner sealed it with a power-play goal with
2:11 remaining.

"I'm tired of analyzing the breaks and the bounces and the
refereeing because we're not getting a favorable result,'' Carolina
coach Paul Maurice said. "But as long as we fight hard _ and they
did in the third.''

Boston goaltender Jeff Hackett was forced to stop 16 shots in
the final period to snap a six-game winless streak.

"This was a much more concentrated effort in the neutral zone
and that's why we had some success,'' Hackett said. "We didn't
turn the puck over.''

Boston, coming off a 6-4 loss to Vancouver on Monday night,
scored early and late in the first period to grab a 2-1 lead.

Glen Murray notched his team-leading 35th goal, and fourth
against Carolina, 1:58 in when he scored in the early stages of an
unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Hedican.

Less than five minutes later rookie Ryan Bayda scored off a pass
from Francis to tie it, but Arturs Irbe allowed a bad goal 45
seconds before intermission on a weak backhander by Rolston.

Murray then helped set up Mike Knuble midway through the second
for a two-goal lead. Knuble's 18th of the season came from 30 feet
out and went between the legs of Irbe, who drew boos from the
crowd.

Two minutes after allowing Knuble's goal, Irbe stopped a shot
from center ice and received a mock cheer from the fans.

The Hurricanes have been trying to showcase Irbe before the
March 11 trade deadline, but he's allowed 12 goals in his last
three starts since being recalled from the minors.

Carolina, last in the NHL in goals scored, have just five goals
in their last five games. And again, the Hurricanes had no luck in
this one as Sean Hill hit the post with a shot in the first and
Josef Vasicek dinged one off the iron in the second.

"Now we've got to move forward,'' Rolston said. "Destiny is in
our own hands.''

Game notes
The Bruins avoided their worst winless streak since
February 1997. ... The teams came in with a combined 0-10-6-1
record in recent games. ... Carolina has led at the end of the
first period just 13 times in 67 games, being outscored 62-34. ...
Rookies Tomas Kurka, Mike Zigomanis and Bruno St. Jacques made
their home debuts. ... Joe Thornton picked up his career-best 50th
assist on Murray's goal.