BOSTON — Boston winger Milan Lucic didn’t hide the thoughts many of his teammates may have had in the Bruins’ locker room Saturday following a fairly easy victory against Carolina.

“I just hope we’re not peaking right now and keep wanting more,” Lucic said after the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins beat the Hurricanes 5-1 their eighth straight victory.

“We’ve done a good job of staying focused and keeping on the task at hand. It seems like we’re playing at our highest level of the season so far. It seems to have gotten better since the start of February and Olympic break.”

Jarome Iginla scored a pair of goals and backup goaltender Chad Johnson made 29 saves, helping extend the Bruins’ longest winning streak since a 10-game stretch in November 2011.

Lucic had a goal and two assists, Torey Krug and Chris Kelly each scored a goal, and David Krejci added three assists, his first coming as he was falling to the ice on Lucic’s score.

Coach Claude Julien wouldn’t say his team is playing its best.


“If he thinks we’re peaking too soon I can show him areas where we can play better,” Julien said, breaking into a grin. “We’re playing well and working hard.”

Alexander Semin had the goal and Cam Ward made 36 saves for the Hurricanes, who lost for the eighth time in 11 games.

Johnson, playing with regular goalie Tuukka Rask getting the day off, is 8-0-1 in his past nine starts.

Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk had to be helped off the ice favoring his right leg after going off-balance into the boards midway into the third period. He was back about a minute later and ended up blocking a shot before limping off on his next shift.

Boston grabbed a 1-0 lead on Lucic’s goal 15:28 into the opening period. Krejci was falling after being tripped on what would have been a penalty on Eric Staal, but he pushed the puck ahead to Lucic. The winger then snapped off a quick shot inside the right post into a wide-open area with Ward over near the other post.

“It’s funny. I was talking to him after the play,” Lucic said, smiling. “He said he was going to shoot it. It’s a bit of a lucky play to come back to me. Again, you’ve got to be lucky to be good sometimes. That’s what happened there. That’s how it goes sometimes. You can be working hard and playing well, and things don’t go your way.”


Lucic set up Iginla to make it 2-0 at 17:24 of the second. Lucic outworked defenseman Jay Harrison for the puck in the corner, hustled to it behind the net and passed out front to Iginla, who put a wrist shot inside the far post over Ward’s glove.

Semin ended Johnson’s shutout bid 3:53 into the third when his shot caromed off the stick of Boychuk and bounced in.

Boston broke it open with two goals later in the period before Krug scored in the final seconds.

“They’re a good hockey team; they’re physical,” Carolina Coach Kirk Muller said. “It was disappointing for us because we’ve been playing pretty good hockey recently. Usually as the game goes on we get stronger and stronger, but I don’t think we pushed back well enough after they came out hard in the first. They set the tone and I don’t think we really responded, even though it was a 2-1 game for the most part.”

Kelly made it 3-1 at 12:49 and Iginla scored his team-leading 23rd goal 13 seconds later, firing a wrister by Ward from the slot.

Johnson had a key save late in the second after Boston made it 2-0 when he made a right pad stop on Staal at the end of a two-on-one break.

“I thought we didn’t capitalize on opportunities and that always hurts us obviously early in the game, and then they just kept coming,” Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe said.

NOTES: Bruins center Matt Lindblad played his first NHL game and Krug was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch in the previous game. … The Hurricanes entered the game with the league’s 29th ranked power play and went 0 of 3. … Playing a team not known for physical play, Julien elected to make enforcer Shawn Thornton a healthy scratch. … Iginla played his 1,300th career game. … Boston swept the three games against Carolina this year. … Boston forward Gregory Campbell impressed the crowd and drew loud ‘oohs’ when he tipped a shot between his legs with his back to Ward in the second period. … Boston center Patrice Bergeron was whistled for three minor penalties. …Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton sent Jeff Skinner of Carolina flying to the ice with a hard check in the third period.

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