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Staal, Hurricanes dominate Bruins again

Dec 3, 2006 - 2:38 AM RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Boston Bruins have come a long way, but Eric Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes showed them they still have some work to do.

Staal scored two goals to pace a balanced attack as the Hurricanes cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Bruins.

The defending Stanley Cup champions have outscored the Bruins, 10-3, in two meetings this season - both victories. Carolina, which begins a four-game road trip at Calgary on Tuesday, posted a 5-1 triumph over Boston on November 24.

"Obviously, the last two games we've played well, but before that, we didn't have as many consistent games as we wanted," Staal said. "This (road) trip will be a good test for this team. I think everyone is looking forward to it."

"Hopefully, this trip will bring us together as a group even more," Carolina's Erik Cole added. "Hopefully, we'll just concentrate on getting better and playing our style of hockey. Consistency is the No. 1 thing we need right now."

For the Bruins, the humbling loss was a reminder that they are not ready to compete with the upper-echelon clubs in the league just yet.

"When we made mistakes, they were pretty big mistakes," Boston goaltender Tim Thomas said. "They were able to capitalize on them."

Staal gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 2:43 of the first period, when he jammed his own rebound past Thomas.

The center scored his second goal of the game and 16th of the season at 6:10 of the third period, taking a pass from Scott Walker behind the Bruins' net and slipping the puck past Thomas for a 4-2 advantage.

Cole, Justin Williams and Ray Whitney also scored and Cam Ward stopped 17 shots for Carolina, which has won three of its last four games. Cole had two goals in Carolina's 4-2 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

Williams, who has three tallies in his last three games, scored the eventual game-winner shorthanded with 64 seconds left in the middle period. The right wing picked up a loose puck, raced in alone on Thomas and slid a shot between the goalie's pads for a 3-2 lead.

Defenseman Brad Stuart and Shean Donovan tallied for the Bruins, who lost for only the third time in their last 11 games.

"We didn't play that bad of a game, but they played better," Stuart said. "They took advantage of their chances, and that's about it. We had a lot of good shifts when we had the puck in the first and second periods. I don't think we were very intimidated at all. They just took advantage, and that's the difference between a great team and a good team."

Thomas, who entered 8-2-0 with a 2.33 goals-against average in his previous 10 appearances, allowed five goals on 30 shots.

"I thought we actually played a pretty good game," Boston coach Dave Lewis said. "We had a strong game plan. I think it worked for us. You can see why they won the Stanley Cup (last season), capitalizing on a couple of chances. I think we really found out a lot about our team. I think when you play a team like that, you find out things about yourself, where we are and where we have to get to."

Boston's Patrice Bergeron recorded an assist to extend his points streak to nine games.

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