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Associated Press
11/24/2006 3:18:48 PM

BOSTON (AP) - It took a while for Carolina goaltender John Grahame and his teammates to get into the early afternoon game. The Boston Bruins never made it.

Justin Williams and Erik Cole scored nine seconds apart in the second period, lifting the Hurricanes to a 5-1 victory over the Bruins on Friday.

Carolina snapped a two-game losing streak, avoiding its worst run since the defending Stanley Cup champions dropped their first four games of the season.

"Sometimes it takes a while to get the rust off," Grahame said. "We came off a couple of frustrating experiences and I think the guys buckled down."

The Hurricanes lost 4-2 at the New York Islanders on Wednesday despite Grahame's 44 saves. They were beaten 4-0 by the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

Eric Staal's power-play goal in the first period was his team-leading 14th of the season. Eric Belanger and Andrew Ladd had the other goals for the Hurricanes.

Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal for Boston, which lost for the second time in seven games. The Bruins' previous six games were decided by one goal.

Grahame stopped 25 shots for the Hurricanes. Boston starter Tim Thomas was pulled after Carolina's third goal.

"I thought he was our best player," Boston coach Dave Lewis said of Thomas. "I didn't want to subject him anymore to their approach. We had 19 players that were off their game and he was the only one that was on."

The Hurricanes outshot the Bruins 40-26.

Williams scored from the edge of the crease, converting Scott Walker's shot from the point at 10:35 of the second. Cole cut around defenceman Mark Stuart on the ensuing faceoff and slipped the puck between Thomas' pads. Philippe Sauve, recalled earlier in the day from Providence of the AHL, replaced Thomas.

The Hurricanes protected the win by playing smart defence.

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