RALEIGH — A year ago, the Carolina Hurricanes did it to the Boston Bruins time and again.
The Canes would skate hard, attack on the forecheck, win puck battles, get big goals, get good goaltending. And, in the end, frustrate the Bruins by sweeping the season series for the first time in franchise history.
But it's a new season, albeit a short one. And the Bruins were the winners Monday night, getting decisive play from their special teams in a choppy 5-3 victory at PNC Arena.
David Krejci's goal with 1:50 left in regulation pushed the Bruins ahead 4-3 after a scramble in front of the Canes' net. The Bruins' Nathan Horton got off a shot and Canes defenseman Jay Harrison batted the puck out of the air, only to have rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton corral it for Boston and pass to an open Krejci.
Canes goalie Cam Ward made many a timely save Monday but couldn't stop Krejci on the backdoor play. Tyler Seguin added an empty-netter in the final seconds for Boston, now 4-0-1 to start the season.
Brad Marchand had a shorthanded goal and Zdeno Chara a power-play score for the Bruins in the first period. Boston came into the game having killed all 17 penalties this season and snuffed out all six of the Canes' power plays.
Jamie McBain, Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal scored for the Canes (2-3), who were coming off back-to-back wins over the Buffalo Sabres. The Canes trailed 2-0 early in the game and 3-1 late in the second period after a Horton goal before the scores by Skinner and Staal tied it and energized the crowd of 17,190.
"We battled back to 3-3 and from there we have to find a way to get a point out of it and get it to overtime," Staal said.
The Canes, playing without injured defenseman Justin Faulk, had a sluggish start as the Bruins were quicker to puck and forced turnovers.
"They came out hard," Skinner said. "We made a couple of mistakes early and they capitalized, but we got back in the game. Seems like the last five minutes (of regulation) we sort of sat back and they capitalized."
McBain scored the Canes' first first-period goal of the season. Joining the rush, McBain tipped a centering pass from Eric Staal past goalie Anton Khudobin, who made his first start of the season for Boston and made 30 saves.
Skinner's goal, his fifth of the season, came on a backhand-to-forehand move after a pass off the boards from Jordan Staal. Eric Staal then tied it 3-3 with 75 seconds left in the second after Alexander Semin swiped the puck and found Staal on a two-on-one -- Semin's second assist of the game.
But the Bruins had all the answers when it came to killing penalties.
"They were aggressive. They were in our face, they were quick," Eric Staal said.
Marchand went top-shelf for his shorthanded score, and Chara -- who had two assists -- whistled a shot from the point past Ward on the power play for the 2-0 lead in the first.
Defenseman Tim Gleason then lifted the Canes out of their slumber, dropping the gloves to fight the Bruins' Milan Lucic. McBain scored a few minutes later and it was game on.
"They gave us a lesson," Canes coach Kirk Muller said of the Bruins. "They came out knowing we were on a two-game winning streak and they challenged us and they pushed us. They played hard.
"In the second (period) I thought we were getting momentum and starting to take the play, but we weren't able to sustain it in the third. We knew it was going to be a tough battle and you have to fight for every inch you got."
The Bruins won the last few battles. And, this time, the game.