RALEIGH — In the end, the Carolina Hurricanes simply were not going to be denied.
Not this game, not this night.
Frustrated by losing, by putting in strong efforts and coming up empty, the Hurrrcanes came up big Saurday, beating the Boston Bruins 4-2 at PNC Arena.
The Canes had lost seven straight games overall and dropped eight consecutive games at home. But Jiri Tlusty scored a pair of goals, Joe Corvo and Jeff Skinner each had power-play scores and Justin Peters made all the right moves and saves in net.
Kevin Westgarth, Jay Harrison and Nicolas Blanchard all dropped the gloves during the first period and battled Bruins. It was energizing stuff and a release for all the pent-up emotion that came with losing 14 of 15 games.
"We've had a lot of good things to feel good about in games leading up to this game but we couldn't totally feel good about ourselves without getting the win," Harrison said. "Tonight, it was the complete effort with a win.
"So that is where the sigh of relief comes. Because it has been such a long time,"
The week began with the Bruins blasting the Canes 6-2 in Boston on Monday. Peters was pulled after eight minutes, after allowing two goals on the Bruins' first four shots.
But there was Peters on Saturday, giving up an early goal to Milan Lucic on a deflection, but again battling hard. His save on the Bruins' Jaromir Jagr in the second period arguably was the best of his NHL career, and should give him a story to tell for many a year.
Just as a 5-on-3 power play by the Bruins expired, Jagr was open to Peters' left. But Peters lunged across to glove the shot, leaving Jagr dumbfounded.
"Just desperation," Peters said, smiling. "I got lucky on that one. Just pure desperation."
Corvo, for one, wasn't sure it was a "lucky" save.
"That's a No. 1 highlight reel save there," Corvo said.
Peters had a few other sharp stops among his 28 saves as the Hurricanes (17-22-2) won their first home game since beating New Jersey 6-3 on March 9. A 3-1 road win at Winnipeg on March 30 was their last victory.
"It feels like we're doing the same things every game and it's super frustrating because it seems like nothing is happening for us," Corvo said. "But a timely save in the second (period) and the right bounces here and there and guys sacrificing tonight and we got the win."
Corvo's goal, which gave the Canes a 3-2 lead midway through the third, came on a one-timer from the left circle on a pass from Marc-Andre Bergeron, who made a nifty spinning move to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
Skinner scored his 12th of the season and second in as many games in the first, firing the rebound of an Alexander Semin shot off the back of Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. The Canes' two power-play goals came against the team ranked No. 1 in the NHL on the penalty kill.
Tlusty scored his first goal at even-strength in the second on a nice pass from Eric Staal behind the net and seal the victory was a final-minute empty netter.
Lucic tipped a Matt Bartkowski shot past Peters in the first for Boston (26-11-4), who needed just one point to clinch a playoff berth. The Bruins' second goal, which tied the score 2-2 in the second, came when Boston caught the Canes in a defensive change and Tyler Sequin had a breakaway.
But after the Bruins' Mike Kelly was penalized for kneeing Jamie McBain in the third, Corvo pushed the Canes back ahead.
And about those fights. Westgarth battled the Bruins' Shawn Thornton, Harrison dropped the gloves with Zdeno Chara and Blanchard went at it with Gregory Campbell.
"Despite the standings ... it's about pride," Harrison said of the Canes' effort. "We're putting on a jersey with our name on the back but more importantly the crest on the front we're playing for. Every game, regardless of what's on the line, we're going out there and play to win."
Canes coach Kirk Muller said Saturday morning that he was waiting for his team to "break loose" in a game. Score some goals, have some fun and win.
"I'm happy for the guys," Muller said after the game. "They've been playing like that for a while. They stuck with it and played an intense, energized game against a good hockey club.
"They played the game the right way and finally got some reward from it."
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