If the Bruins don’t win the Northeast Division this season, the first game they will look back on with much regret will be Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes at the PNC Arena. Boston (26-11-4) had smoked Carolina (17-22-2), 6-2, on Monday at TD Garden and the Hurricanes were 1-13-1 in their last 15 games. Montreal lost 5-1 at Toronto Saturday as well, which meant the B’s would have been back in first place with a win.
Boston got off to a good start as Milan Lucic scored his first goal in 10 games, tipping in Matt Bartkowski’s shot form the point 6:07 into the game. There were two separate fights and then Jeff Skinner tied it with a power-play goal that he banked in off Tuukka Rask (34 saves; 17-8-4) with 36 seconds left in the first. After one more fight, it was tied 1-1 after one period.
Jiri Tlusty put Carolina ahead 2-1 in the second period but Tyler Seguin tied it at two with 2:03 left in the frame. The Hurricanes scored both goals in the third period as former Bruins bum Joe Corvo notched a power-play goal then Tlusty added an empty-netter. Justin Peters (28 saves) was pulled in Monday’s game in the first period but Saturday was a different story as he earned the first star.
The Bruins’ next four games are all at TD Garden: Ottawa on Monday (7 p.m., NESN), Buffalo on Wednesday, Pittsburgh on Friday and Florida on Sunday. Five of Boston’s last seven games are at home while Montreal is on the road for four of its last seven contests. Help is on the way for the B’s as they signed Swedish forward Carl Soderberg to a three-year deal. He’s eligible for the playoffs this season and he’s expected to join his new club on Wednesday.
Follow Metro Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate