BOSTON -- Make that eight wins in a row for the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins received a pair of goals from Jarome Iginla, while Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly and Torey Krug contributed a goal each en route to a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at TD Garden. Boston's David Krejci added three assists. Lucic also had two assists.
With the win, the Bruins now have a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Penguins on Saturday. Pittsburgh still has a game in hand.
For Iginla, it was his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season and he now has 53 points in 67 games. Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson finished with 29 saves to improve his record to 14-3-1 in 21 games this season.
The Bruins gained a 1-0 lead at 15:28 of the first period when Lucic notched his 21st goal of the season. Boston gained control of puck in the neutral zone and in transition forced their way into the offensive zone with Lucic leading the way. His shot ricocheted to the slot, where Krejci sprawled out to make a return pass before Lucic finished with a backdoor goal.
Boston's top line continued to produce in the second period when Iginla netted his 22nd of the season at 17:24 to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Again, Lucic showcased his size, strength and relentless forecheck behind the Carolina net before feeding a nifty backhand pass to Iginla, who popped it past Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward for the tally.
Carolina scored its first goal of the game at 3:53 of the third period to cut its deficit. After a tough icing call on the Bruins, the faceoff was to the left of Johnson when the Hurricanes' Alexander Semin's shot deflected off Bruins forward Carl Soderberg and defenseman Johnny Boychuk before it ricochetted past Johnson.
With Carolina threatening, Kelly scored at 12:49 and Iginla netted his second at 13:02 for a 4-1 Boston lead.
Krug scored his 14th goal of the season with only 9.4 seconds remaining in regulation.
SCARY MOMENT: With 9:27 remaining in regulation and the Bruins holding onto a 2-1 lead, Boychuk was racing back for a puck behind Boston's net when it appeared Carolina's Patrick Dwyer pushed him. Boychuk crashed into the end wall and rolled over in obvious pain, favoring his right leg. He was able to get to his feet, but couldn't skate. Trainers tended to the injured defenseman and teammates assisted Boychuk off the ice. He was taken down the tunnel and was able to return for his next shift. However, he blocked a shot on that shift and went to the bench in obvious pain again. He was tended to by team doctor Peter Asnis and remained on the bench and was able to return to game action.
UPDATE: After the game, Boychuk said he was sore but thankfully it wasn't serious.
"Ah, I mean a little bit sore, but just glad everything's OK," he said.
Boychuk said he didn't know whether he was pushed or lost an edge going into the corner for the puck.
"I don't really know, I can't really say that I lost an edge right now because I haven't really seen it," he said. "It was kind of just awkward going in and I'm just glad my leg's not broken."
ANOTHER 50: With his goal in the first period, Lucic has now reached the 50-point plateau in three of the last four seasons. He registered 62 points in 2010-2011, 61 in 2011-2012 and 27 in the lockout-shortened, 48-game season in 2012-2013. This season, he has 21 goals and 31 assists for 52 points.
DEBUT: Bruins prospect Matt Lindblad made his NHL debut on Saturday against the Hurricanes. He becomes the seventh player this season to make his NHL debut with the Bruins. The 23-year-old forward was on the Bruins' third line, along with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille.
Lindblad played a total of 12 shifts and logged 8:25 of ice time in his NHL debut. Julien was pleased with the rookie's first game.
"I liked his game," Julien said. "He skates well, quick skater, quick thinker, he made some real good heads up plays. So, like I said all along, I like his hockey sense."
Prior to the game, Lindblad appeared a bit nervous, which is understandable.
"Yeah, definitely nervous to come in. Even just in warm ups, you come out and the crowd is just pumping and it was just a great atmosphere unlike anything else," he said. "You have a lot of your friends and family texting you wishing you good luck and you just want to play your best and I'm pretty happy with how I played."
The Bruins sent Lindblad back to Providence after the game.
SCRATCHES: Paille returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with a minor concussion, so Jordan Caron was a healthy scratch. Since Lindblad made his debut in order for the organization to get a look at his game at this level, Bruins coach Claude Julien decided veteran Shawn Thornton would also be a healthy scratch. On the defensive side, newcomer Andrej Meszaros was a healthy scratch.
UP NEXT: The Bruins host the Minnesota Wild on St. Patrick's Day Monday (7 p.m.) at TD Garden.