Boston Bruins\' Vladimir Sobotka (60) of the Czech Republic checks Carolina Hurricanes\' Dennis Seidenberg of Germany into the boards during the first period of a NHL hockey game in Boston on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Winslow Townson
BOSTON - The high-flying Bruins won another game Saturday, but it came at a price.
Forward Patrice Bergeron, who missed most of last season with a concussion, left Boston's 4-2 win over Carolina after a scary collision in the second period with the Hurricanes' Dennis Seidenberg. Bergeron was helped from the ice with what appeared to be a head or neck injury.
"The doctors have been looking at it," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "They haven't given us any indication as far as the severity of it. Obviously, he went down a little dazed. We're not able to give you a verdict. That's all I can tell you about that situation."
During the game, the Bruins placed left wing Marco Sturm, who returned briefly Thursday night after missing 12 games with a head/neck injury, on long-term (minimum 30 days) injured reserve with a knee injury. But Sturm became almost another afterthought after the sellout crowd was stunned by another scary play involving Bergeron.
The Bruins centre, finishing a check on Seidenberg, hit the player and went down face-first on the ice. Bergeron was down and attended to for several minutes before looking wobbly when he got to his skates.
Julien said he spoke to Bergeron after the second period and added his player was alert.
"He got dinged pretty good," the coach said. "He was speaking to me and then I took off and coached the third period."
Julien made it clear the Bruins, who open a five-game road stretch in St. Louis on Sunday night, weren't blaming Seidenberg. "It was not a cheap shot by any means. It was a collision," he said.
David Krejci and Shawn Thornton scored third-period goals to lift the Bruins to their 13th straight home victory.
Boston, 18-2-1 in its past 21 games, won its fourth straight overall, its ninth in the past 10 games, and extended the club's longest home winning streak in 32 years. It also snapped a four-game home losing streak against the Hurricanes. The Bruins were 1-7-1 in the past nine home games against Carolina.
With the game tied 1-1, Krejci took a pass from Vladimir Sobotka and beat Cam Ward for his 12th goal of the season, his fourth in the past two games.
Thornton's second goal of the season, off a Joe Corvo turnover after Thornton fooled him by calling for the puck from behind him, made it 3-1 with 8:06 left.
The goal was needed when Ray Whitney scored with 4:36 left. The Bruins had to kill a Carolina power play and Stephane Yelle scored into an empty net with 2.2 seconds remaining.
Manny Fernandez made 32 saves and improved to 10-1-1 in his past 12 starts for Boston.
The Bergeron injury came with 11:32 left in the second period, minutes after the Bruins tied the game when Phil Kessel and Milan Lucic combined to set up Marc Savard for his 10th goal of the season.
Kessel has at least one point in 17 straight games, the longest streak by a Bruin since Adam Oates had a 20-gamer in 1997-98 and is tied with Ray Bourque (1984-85) for the fifth-longest in club history. He has 14 goals and 12 assists during the streak.
Rod Brind'Amour assisted on both goals for the Hurricanes, who had gained at least a point in their past six games (3-0-3) coming in and were 3-1-3 since rehiring Paul Maurice as coach.
Carolina took a 1-0 lead when Joni Pitkanen sent a pass from Brind'Amour past Fernandez 4:50 into the game on the power play.
"They changed gears in the second period," Maurice said of the Bruins. "Our goaltender kept us in the game. We're getting the feeling that if we're just a little bit faster we'll be OK, but it's clear that our legs are not there yet."
Notes: Lucic extended his points streak to six straight games. ... Kessel had a goal waived off because he hit the puck with a high stick. ... The Bruins wore their third jerseys for the fourth time and have won all four. ... Brind'Amour, who had his 700th NHL assist Thursday night, seven assists in a six-game point-scoring streak. ... The Bruins recalled centre Martin St. Pierre from Providence of the American Hockey League. ... Carolina defenceman Anton Babchuk (elbow) returned after missing four games. ... The Hurricanes opened a four-game road trip. ... Justin St. Pierre, one of the two referees assigned to the game, couldn't make it because of the weather and was replaced by Paul Devorski.