Jokinen scores as Hurricanes take series lead over Bruins

Hurricanes 3 Bruins 2 RALEIGH, N.C. — Tied after regulation in a key playoff game, the Carolina Hurricanes were in need of a timely goal. That meant it was Jussi Jokinen’s time to shine.

Carolina Hurricanes' Eric Staal (12) celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins with teammate Joni Pitkanen (25)

Hurricanes 3 Bruins 2

RALEIGH, N.C. — Tied after regulation in a key playoff game, the Carolina Hurricanes were in need of a timely goal. That meant it was Jussi Jokinen’s time to shine.

Jokinen scored at 2:48 of overtime to lift the Hurricanes past the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Wednesday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Sergei Samsonov scored a goal and assisted on Jokinen’s winner for the Hurricanes, who took a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 set for Friday night in Raleigh.

“Obviously it feels great, with the things I’ve been through this year,” said Jokinen, waived by the Tampa Bay Lightning before being traded to Carolina in February. “I found my confidence again here. It’s been a great ride.”

Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic both scored their first goals of the playoffs for Boston. The top-seeded team in the East has lost two straight and is trailing a playoff series for the first time this year after sweeping Montreal in the first round.

“We had some chances, but there’s such a thing as hockey gods, and sometimes they’ll give the breaks to the team that deserves it,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t really deserve this game, the way we played.”

Jokinen certainly wouldn’t let them have it. The hero of Game 4 of the first round, who scored off his skate with 0.2 seconds left to beat the New Jersey Devils, delivered another clutch goal.

Samsonov set up the winner by moving into the low circle and firing a backhander off Tim Thomas’ pads. Jokinen was positioned perfectly to tap the rebound into an open net for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

“The last month, the last two months, I’ve been getting my confidence pretty high, and I’m just believing in myself,” Jokinen said.

“When you have your confidence high, you feel you can do some good things on the ice.”

He also scored the tying goal in Game 7 against the Devils with 1:20 left in the third period before Eric Staal won the series, scoring with 31.7 seconds remaining.

“I think there’s a belief that’s built in, that you have a tendency to keep the faith a little bit longer,” coach Paul Maurice said.

Thomas made 38 saves for the Bruins. Carolina’s Cam Ward stopped 21 shots.

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