Cam Ward earned his second shutout of the playoffs and teammates Joe Corvo and Matt Cullen scored second-period goals as the Carolina Hurricanes knotted their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Boston Bruins on Sunday night.
Ward finished with 36 saves in the 3-0 victory, his fourth career playoff shutout. He was spectacular on a desperate Boston power play late in the third, stretching for pad saves on Michael Ryder and Dennis Wideman.
The Bruins were the last unbeaten team in the NHL playoffs. Boston went 0-for-4 on the power play in their own rink, allowing Cullen to score while the Hurricanes were short-handed.
Eric Staal added an empty-net goal late for Carolina, his league-leading sixth playoff goal, but after the game he was raving about Ward.
"He's our rock," said Staal. "He needs to play well every night for us to have a shot and he did."
Game 3 will take place Wednesday night at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.
The Hurricanes for the second straight series rebounded with a victory after a 4-1 defeat in the opener.
"First and foremost, I think we were a little more competitive on the puck and in some of the darker areas on the ice," head coach Paul Maurice said. "We didn't turn as many [pucks] over. We kept a few more deep.
"Tonight as a group I think they just all competed a little bit harder, and that was the difference for our team."
Tim Thomas finished with 22 saves for Boston.
"It's our first loss in the playoffs," he said. "We've been practising the 'not-too-high' part, but now we get to practice the 'not-too-low' part."
Carolina had the edge in the first period, but it remained scoreless after 20 minutes. Anton Babchuk tested Thomas with a point shot, while Erik Cole's shot went off the arm of the Bruins goalie and wide of the net.
Boston's best chance came with about seven minutes left in the frame, but Marc Savard was denied by Ward.
Not long after Thomas made a right pad save on Staal, Corvo's blast beat the Bruins goalie on the short side at the 2:30 mark of the second period.
Power play turns sour
Ward was doing his part, thwarting Wideman on a distance shot and David Krejci at the left post.
Carolina would incur two minor penalties in the period, but instead of spurring the Bruins, they had the opposite effect.
Just over one minute into a sloppy Bruins power play, Chad LaRose ran out of room on a short-handed breakaway, but he regained the puck behind the net to feed Cullen out front for a 2-0 lead.
"They made the adjustments," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "Obviously they played us better in the neutral zone. It was a lot harder to get to the net, [and] they blocked a lot of shots.
"But at the same time, I don't think we did a great job ourselves. I didn't find us very sharp in a lot of areas."
Seconds after Boston failed to score on another power play in the dying moments of the second period, LaRose picked up a rebound and fired it off the crossbar. The puck danced near the goal line, but after a lengthy video review, it was ruled no goal.
NHL's hockey operations department quickly released a statement following the shot, which appeared in frozen replays to have just crossed the goal line.
"The referee's call on the ice was no goal, therefore, video review needed to determine conclusively that the puck was over the line," the statement read.
"Video review determined that it was inconclusive as to whether the puck crossed the goal line in its entirety — no goal."
'We didn't agree'
Maurice said his players didn't harp on the near-miss in the second intermission.
"We didn't agree with the final decision, but it went through the proper channels, and it is what is. Over the course of what you hope is a very long playoff, you're going to have calls you like and calls you don't.
"I firmly believe they do all even out in the end."
Boston tried to make the most of it to begin the third, but Ward smothered Phil Kessel's shot. After Carolina was unsuccessful on their first power-play chance, Ward snared a Blake Wheeler shot.
The Bruins threw everything they had at the Hurricanes in the third, outshooting them 16-3 in the period.
Boston's third power play, their strongest of the game, only resulted in more Ward magic. The Hurricanes netminder stopped Ryder, Wideman and Shawn Thornton as the Bruins buzzed around the net.
Another man advantage was less threatening, and Staal finished all suspense with 28 seconds left. Corvo assisted on the goal.
Ward's previous shutout came three games ago, in Game 6 of the team's first round series against New Jersey.