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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chara's 1st career hat trick leads Bruins to steamroll win over Hurricanes

Coming out of the Patriots' shocking loss to the Jets on Sunday, I was quickly reminded yesterday why I'm so thankful to live in an area with four solid pro sports franchises.

Sure it still hurts that the Patriots choked in such a big spot but our four teams have possibly never all been so good at the same time. We are not a one-team podunk town (Green Bay, I'm looking at you) and we take pride in all of our teams.

The Boston Bruins came up with the perfect result for fans with a severe Patriots hangover, a 7-0 shellacking of the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday afternoon at the TD Garden.

Captain Zdeno Chara scored the first hat trick of his career and Tim Thomas made 31 saves for his seventh shutout of the season.

Boston (25-13-7) got this one over early as they pumped in three goals in the first period (four if you count a tally by Milan Lucic that was called off for a bogus penalty to Chara).

Mark Stuart, playing his first game in a month and a half, scored his first goal of the season (from Nathan Horton and Adam McQuaid). Then Chara scored a pair: one from McQuaid and the other on a power play from David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron.

Carolina (22-17-6) had seen enough as head coach Paul Maurice pulled goaltender Cam Ward after only two goals. Backup goalie Jason Peters (33 saves) wasn't much better as he allowed five goals.

The Bs made it a laugher in the second period as Gregory Campbell tipped home a sweet feed from Shawn Thornton (and Blake Wheeler) and Bergeron notched an unassisted goal 13 seconds later. It was the second game in a row where they scored twice 13 seconds apart.

Michael Ryder tipped home Dennis Seidenberg's shot in the third period (with the other helper to Steven Kampfer) and Chara put a bow on this gem with his third goal, another bullet from the point. It was particularly cool to see the usually stoic big man, fake throwing his helmet (imploring the crowd to throw their hats) after his last goal.

The two teams actually get back at it tonight in Carolina as the Hurricanes will try to get back to their recent winning ways (6-1-3) before yesterday's meltdown. It sounds like Tuukka Rask will start for the Bruins (he's won two straight road starts), it'll be interesting to see how Ward plays tonight. Bottom line, I guarantee it'll be much more competitive.

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