RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Matt Beleskey has been as good a goal scorer as anyone in the National Hockey League over the past few days, and he continued his scoring spree Friday night.
Beleskey had goals in the first and third periods, leading Boston to a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes — with several thousand Bruins fans in the crowd.
Beleskey has 13 goals on the season, with five of them coming in his last four games.
“Beleskey has been good lately,” coach Claude Julien said. “Obviously pucks are starting to go in for him. He’s working hard, finishing his checks and playing gritty. We won a big game against a team that was desperate to try and climb back and get themselves closer to a playoff spot. But I still need our team to be better without the puck.”
It was the 388th regular-season victory for Julien, who needs two wins to tie Art Ross as the Bruins’ career leader.
The Hurricanes lost in regulation for just the third time in their last 16 home games (10-3-3). But, Carolina has lost in regulation on back-to-back nights.
“We skated tonight, so that was a good sign,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “We haven’t skated in our two games prior to tonight. I just don’t think we got going, and there wasn’t any pace to our game tonight.”
Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston in the first period, and Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal in the closing seconds. Tuukka Rask stopped 39 shots.
“They got some momentum and we were able to regain it with another (the Beleskey goal that made it 3-1),” Rask said. “They pushed hard, but we knew they would. I saw a lot of shots. That’s what I get paid for, I guess.”
Noah Hanifin had Carolina’s lone goal.
Hurricanes center Brad Malone, who is currently on waivers, played in his first game since Jan. 24.
The Bruins led 2-0 after a first period in which the Hurricanes had 12 shots on goal to Boston’s 11.
Bergeron put the Bruins ahead at 10:26 of the first, taking Brett Connolly’s pass low in the right circle and roofing the puck over Ward’s right shoulder.
Beleskey doubled the lead on the power play at 12:38, scoring on a rush by lining the puck over Ward’s glove from the left circle with Torey Krug on the helper.
“I thought we played pretty good,” Beleskey said. “We had a couple of lapses and gave up too many shots, but overall I thought we managed the puck in the offensive zone. It’s always nice when hard work pays off. I’m just going to keep working hard and doing the right things. Eventually it goes in.”
Carolina outshot the visitors 10-6 during a second period played without a penalty.
Hanifin halved the lead at the 3-minute mark of the third, lighting the lamp by ricocheting the puck off Rask’s skate.
But Beleskey got his second goal of the night at 6:24, beating Ward from the low slot on an assist from Ryan Spooner.
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