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Cam Ward claims club-record 131st win, Hurricanes beat Bruins 5-1

Carolina Hurricanes' Brandon Sutter (16) scores on Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Gerry Broome

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Carolina Hurricanes' Brandon Sutter (16) scores on Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Gerry Broome

RALEIGH, N.C. - Cam Ward claimed first place on one important list and helped pull the Carolina Hurricanes out of last on another.

Ward broke the franchise victory record, Jussi Jokinen had a goal and two assists and Carolina beat the Boston Bruins 5-1 on Sunday night to escape the NHL cellar.

Ward, who entered tied with Arturs Irbe atop the Hartford-Carolina victory list, made 27 saves for his 131st victory with the Hurricanes and helped them snap a six-game regular-season losing streak against Boston.

"You can't do it by yourself - every one of those wins, the team had a big part of it," said the 25-year-old Ward, 11-19-5 this season and 131-98-23 overall. "There's no point stopping now, and I hope to keep adding on to that list for many, many years."

Ray Whitney and Brandon Sutter each had a goal and an assist, Eric Staal and Chad LaRose also scored and Joni Pitkanen had two assists for the Hurricanes. They scored three goals in a 6:36 span, led 5-0 in the opening minute of the third period and have 39 points - one more than Edmonton.

"If we can get some wins here and give ourselves a chance to maybe get a little closer to some teams, we could have a good stretch," Sutter said.

David Krejci scored for the Bruins, who have their first five-game losing streak in more than two years.

"When you press, you make some bad decisions, and the more you press, the worse it gets," Boston coach Claude Julien said.

Tim Thomas stopped 11 shots and was replaced by Tuukka Rask with 8:58 left in the second after allowing four goals. Sutter beat Thomas from close range to make it 4-0 after he took a feed from Whitney, who had used a highlight-reel juke to get past Norris Trophy-winning defenceman Zdeno Chara.

"I kind of felt bad taking credit for the goal," Sutter said. "(Whitney) did all the work."

By then, the Hurricanes were well on their way to their first regular-season victory against Boston since Feb. 12, 2008. Carolina didn't claim any points against the Bruins last season, but did eliminate them in overtime in Game 7 in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Rask finished with four saves and allowed LaRose's goal in the opening minute of the third for Boston, which has its longest losing streak since dropping six straight from Dec. 18-29, 2007. They play at Buffalo on Friday night.

"The thing that you hope ... we've got four days to try and regroup, get our heads on straight, practice with quality practices and maybe even get some healthy bodies back," Julien said. "Hopefully, all those things put together will help us be a better team."

This one was all Carolina, with Jokinen playing a part in the first three goals.

He did most of the hard work on Carolina's second goal, splitting two Bruins to chase down Pitkanen's long pass down the centre of the ice and then drew Thomas' attention before backhanding a pass at the last instant to Staal. Carolina's new captain then buried the puck into an open net to make it 2-0 about 4 1/2 minutes into the second.

Making matters worse for Boston, defenceman Matt Hunwick was called for hooking during that sequence to give the Hurricanes another power play. The Bruins killed it, but three seconds after Hunwick left the penalty box, Jokinen snapped the puck past Thomas to make it 3-0.

"Our power play was pretty good in the second, when it had to be," Whitney said. "Whenever you get up three or four goals, other teams tend to struggle - and we've been on that side of that - and the team that's up, things usually go their way in terms of confidence."

Jokinen also contributed to Whitney's goal, which got the rout started about eight minutes in. After Thomas left the net open with an ill-advised poke-check attempt, Whitney tapped it in for his 16th goal and fourth in his last five home games.

"One bad turnover, and it's in our end, it's in our net," Julien said. "We're making some real bad mistakes that end up in the bottom of our net, and we dig ourselves a hole, and we don't seem to be able to fight out of it."

NOTES: Both Staal and Whitney have points in five straight games. ... Before the game, the Hurricanes called up G Justin Peters and scratched Ward's backup, Manny Legace, with vision problems.

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